Árstíðir – Zentrum Altenberg, Oberhausen; November 13th, 2023
With day four of the Árstíðir Blik tour, I finally got a show close to home, in Oberhausen. It was a nice venue with good sound. Sadly, it wasn’t full, but they delivered a great show and obviously were having a lot of fun. So did I. 🙂
After a good night’s sleep in my own bed (yay!) I had lots of time to relax before I needed to leave for Oberhausen. I even took a later train than originally intended, because it was raining so hard. Upon arrival I got momentarily confused, because there was a construction site near the venue that I needed to walk around. I was the first at the door, but soon others came and we chatted. Soundcheck could be heard quite well and I heard them rehearse ‘Let’s pretend’ and I think ‘Seven Years’. It got me really excited, because they had not played those two yet.
G. joined me eventually and when we got in we were surprised they had set up chairs in the venue. I had only ever seen that place with standing room. The front row was almost too far from the stage, but with a nice view and I sat in my new favorite spot on the right hand side of the stage (left of Daníel from his point of view). I wondered if and how the setlist would change today.
When they stepped on stage the first thing that happened was Gunnar bumping the micstand and apologizing for the noise. It was funny. ‘Himinhvel’ sounded great and the lights were nice too – I liked it already. My view was greta too and all evening Daníel move out of the way a lot to give us a view of the string players. I approve! ‘Ljóð í sand’ was next to easy everyone into the show and I am really liking this. I can remember a time when I didn’t want to hear the song any more, but this tour it fits perfectly.
The journey into Blik started with ‘Bringing back the Fell’ again. I just love it so much. The song is so far from anything Árstíðir has done before and yet incorporates all the recognizable elements of their music. ❤️ Daníel told us that they had been playing with the piano melody for ‘Later on’ for years before it became a song. It was sure worth the wait and I fell in love with it all over again. As Gunni turned sideways I suddenly realized he was wearing te T-Shirt I had painted for him years ago. It made me so happy to see that and the shirt still looked great too. ❤️
‘Sanity’ is always fun, because Ragnar gets so into miming along to the lyrics. It would be a great song either way, but that makes it even better. 😀 He held the final note for really long too – awesome! ‘Figure’ was amazing that night. They absolutely nailed it. Definitely a highlight!
The had said they’d play four Blik songs, so I did not expect them to add another just yet and they didn’t. ‘Nú gleymist ég’ followed was a perfect as it gets. *happy sigh* ‘Lover’ got a long introduction, with Raggi explaining how it is about a person you only meet in your dreams and how you imagine your perfect partner to be. He added that he met her in real life later, but that was a different story. Awww! With the wonderful ‘Þar sem enginn fer’ they brought the first set to a close.
Spent the break chatting with G. and asking the people I’d met outside earlier, how they liked the show. All was well this far. Spotted Raggi’s friends from Essen, but didn’t say hello yet and talked to a woman I had met at Konzerthaus in Dortmund. Time went by quickly.
They were going to play songs from Pendúll now and we learned that ‘Glitsky’ is a weather phenomenon that can be seen in Iceland. It always makes me smile when they go back to their roots and play songs just as a trio. It’s such a nice contrast to Blik songs. Ragnar told us about the good times they are having on the tour bus and how much they like working with Guillaume and Jean-Samuel. They were back for ‘Hvenar kemur sól’, which immediately flowed into ‘While this Way’. I felt it very much too. 🙂
“There are two ways of losing your voice,” Gunnar told us, one as a musician and the other one when you are unable to communicate because nobody speaks your language. It gets to be strange after a while and that’s what ‘Mute’ is about. Now was the point in the setlist where I thought they might play something they had not played yet, but as soon as they mentioned the game of offering beer for the correct pronunciation of the next song’s title, I knew it was ‘Friðþægingin’. I love the song, so it was great that it stayed. 😀
I found myself laughing a lot that night and the rest of the audience reacted too, when the guys asked something. Jean-Sam pointed out after the show that they were more responsive that the people in the Netherlands in that way. Ragnar told us about the Árstíðir runes came about and also that Blik can mean “a moment in time, a glimpse” – so like “Augenblick”. That’s what the word made me think of without knowing the meaning. 🙂
‘Home’ was lovely and ‘Kirin’ is fun, but my favorite of the trio is ‘A new Tomorrow’ – everything about it has the qualities of a good ear worm. 😀 Gunnar thanked us for coming out and announced the last song. Time really does fly and ‘hades’ was fantastic.
We loudly demanded “Zugabe” and they deemed it their second favorite word after “ausverkauft” when they came back. Ragnar told us how they had changed over the years and how, in the early days of the band they hung out at Daníel’s place because he had a sofa. He quipped taht he was the richest one in the band. 😀 It was time for the understated ‘Kill us’, followed by a powerful rendition of ‘Things you said’. I truly enjoyed watching them perform, seeing Dani stand aside to give the string players space and Raggi playing air cello, while Jean-Sam and Guillaume gave their all. 🙂 There was so much joy in it.
After the show I had a lovely conversation with Guillaume about which was the night’s song (we agreed on ‘Figure’) and my opinion on the Blik album. I enjoyed digging into the different songs and how I felt about them. I spoke to Jean-Sam about how much fun they had had and that I’m always curious when I see them whisper to each other. 😉 Gunni came over and asked if I remembered the T-Shirt. Of course and I told him it made me happy he was wearing it. Said hello to the “Essen crew” briefly and there was a round of hugs before I left. See you tomorrow.
Ljóð í sand
Bringing back the Feel
Nú gleymist ég
Þar sem enginn fer
Hvenar kemur sól
While this Way
A new Tomorrow
Things you said