Árstíðir – Stevenskerk, Nijmegen; November 10th, 2023
The tour kick off for Árstíðir’s Blik Tour in Nijmegen was as perfect as can be. Amazing venue with great sound and light, full house and a fantastic setlist including most of the Blik songs as well as old favorites. I could not have wished for a better first show.
Having just returned from London the previous night, I was glad I did not have to leave before noon. It was a comfortable 3+ hour train ride to Nijmegen (We don’t talk about delays – No No No) and I was greeted by a nice host at the apartment I had rented for the night. Some time to relax before the show.
I arrived too early and was alone for quite some time, already wondering if I was really at the correct venue or entrance. Around 7, more people showed up and it filled quickly. The guys posted that they’d sold over 500 tickets and the church looked beautiful in the picture. I picked a nice spot at the front, once we got in, said hello to Marta and settled in. M. was there too and said hello. While we waited for the show to start I chatted with my neighbor to pass the time.
Last time I had talked to Raggi, he said they were going to play the Blik songs in the first set and then the older ones in the second set so that was my expectation. When they did step on stage to much applause, I soon learned their plans had changed. The band took their places and started with ‘Himinhvel’ – it sounded amazing! Without a break, they went straight into ‘Ljóð í sand’. Having Gaulliame and Jean-Samuel back with the band was just wonderful. Live strings beat recorded ones every time.
Raggi talked about promoting the new album and how they would now play the first five songs from it, starting with ‘The Wave’. It made me so happy to get to hear my favorite one first and it was beautiful. ❤️ Daníel said how they had written all the songs during Covid and even though he is getting tired of talking about Covid, it brought all the new songs and the next one felt like the happy anthem of the album, ‘Bringing back the Feel’. It’s so much fun, I can’t get enough of it and snapped my fingers along with it.
Gunnar noted that the stage was “many dimensional”, because the audience sat on three sides of it and he moved the mic to play towards the people on the side, then introduced ‘Later on’ as a song about being impatient. This song was my first love among the new ones and made me cry right away. It still moved me deeply. *happy sigh*
I laughed afterwards when it took Gunnar a moment to realize that he did not need the guitar but the small keyboard for ‘Sanity’. It felt so big and powerful that night, almost too much for the stage. Amazing! Next one was a premiere of ‘Figure’, with Gunni declaring us “our guinea pigs”. It worked really well. These songs are made to be played live.
We returned to the familiar territory of older songs with ‘Lover’ and that, too was amazing. Everything sounded so good in that church. The first set ended with ‘Þar sem enginn fer’. Only one person raised their hand when asked if we spoke Icelandic, so Ragnar said they’s explain the meaning of the sng after the show. So far they had made the perfect selection of song. I could not believe how quickly time had passed.
When they came back, he remarked that it was a fantastic venue and start of the tour so far and they played ‘Glitsky’ for us, just as a trio. I had not heard that one in some time. It was lovely. Guillaume and Jean-Sam joined them again and ‘Hvenar kemur sól’ followed. Gunnar introduced it by telling us it means “when does that sun come out?” and how that was a reasonable question to ask in Iceland. The song is always beautiful. The gorgeous ‘While this Way’ was next. It never fails to move me. ❤️ Before ‘Mute’, Gunni told us about writing it in Japan and how strange it is not to be able to communicate, how it makes you feel isolated after a while.
Rgnar explained how they originally had not planned for singing any a cappella songs on this tour, but with this venue they could not resist. So Guillaume and Jean-Sam left the stage and the others gathered around the double mic, starting with a song I recognized but could not immediately name in Icelandic. Finally, it occurred to me that it was ‘Bæn einstæðingsins’. I#m running out of superlatives to describe the beauty of it. ❤️ Jean-Sam and Guillaume came back for ‘Ísland farsældafrón’ and that was amazing too.
We heard about all the symbols that were developed for the two albums and how how, if you look closely, you can see the hands of a clock in the letter B on the Blik cover. ‘Home’ was announced as a song about time and the nostalgic feeling you get thinking of times passed. It worked really well and wit this, we had reached the second round of Blik songs. ‘Kirin’ followed and really made me want to me, it’s such a dancy song. 😀 The final new song was ‘A new Tomorrow’, as Gunnar said “one of my favorites”. With this one I really had trouble to stay in my seat, The chorus went straight into my legs somehow. 😀 Afterwards, he mentioned how much fun they had with this album and that they hoped we liked it too. The cheers that followed confirmed.
So far it had been wonderful and ‘Shades’ ended the second set with a bang. Everyone was bopping their heads with the music. Still the perfect finale! Lots of clapping and cheering followed to get them back to the stage. Ragnar commented that that deserved two more songs. 😀 First we got ‘Kill us’ “pretty much how we recorded it”, i.e. just the three of them singing together to guitars. One last time, the other two joined them and the show ended with a great version of ‘Things you said’. It really could not have been any better.
Many people came to talk to them after the show, hopefully many bought merch too. Marta had a qr cide to take a quick questionnaire and handed out candy in teturn. The band got cute crocheted stuffed animals (dinosaurs) as presents from a fan. They all seemed happy and relaxed. I hugged, whoever wanted to be hugged and praised them all. What a great start to the tour. I stayed so long that I was finally kicked out. 😀 That was fun, let’s do it all again tomorrow.
Ljóð í sand
Bringing back the Feel
Þar sem enginn fer
Hvenar kemur sól
While this Way
A new Tomorrow
Things you said