Árstíðir – Marktbühne, TFF Rudolstadt; July 5th, 2013
So another trip to Thüringen to see Árstíðir. It had only been three weeks since I had said goodbye to them in Toronto, but I was much looking forward to this concert, especially because I knew they’d play longer than 40 minutes. 😀
The trip was easy and uneventful. Spent a night in Weimar on the way and got to see a little bit of the city before going on to Kahla where I would stay for the duration of the festival. On to Rudolstadt in the afternoon and straight for the main market place to check out where they would play. The stage was enormous and there were quite a few performers before them. The first few rows in front of the stage were inside barrier where only sponsors where allowed to sit during the opening speeches. A nice security guard assured me they’d open that area later. Thus, I went there from the back and walked in first chance I had to score a seat in front row. I hadn’t originally planned to be there that early, but figured I’d lose my place if I left. Thus I was treated to some rather nice Italian music by several bands and some folk dancing.
The guys arrived for soundcheck around 8 p.m., everything already running behind schedule. I went over to say hello and handed Gunnar his birthday present. He was quite happily surprised that I remembered. Quick hellos with the others – they all had to concentrate. Victor was guesting on violin, like last year in Plauen. One more dance performance and finally, half an hour late, they were on stage. Some people had gotten up so I stood in front row, but not for long and people asked us to sit down, thus I returned to my spot in the bench. Had a better view from there than I would have had sitting directly in front of the stage.
This was the biggest stage I have ever seen them on, but they looked right at home up there and captivated an audience that filled the entire market square. Everyone sat there quietly and listened to the music. It was breathtaking. I don’t really remember the order of songs or the full setlist, but as soon as they started playing ‘Days and Nights’ I realized that I had missed the English songs, had missed singing along to them. I think it’s the mixture of English and Icelandic that does it for me. 😀
Either way it was such a strong yet beautiful contrast to the shows in Toronto. Where these venues were small and the concerts rather intimate with only few people in the audience, this was huge. Yet people were really attentive and appreciated what they got. They guys loved it and were in a great mood generally.
When Gunnar announced ‘Við dagsin hnig’ as the next song, Jón interrupted “And that’s where Gunnar is wrong”, then explained that it was his birthday today and they had a song for him. The look on Gunnar’s face was priceless. His reaction? ”You bastard!” So they all sang for him and some of the audience even joined in. Poor Gunnar didn’t really know how to react. When they were done he remarked: “I have been embarrassed in front of people, but never in front of thousands.” 🙂 To much laughter they returned to the regular scheduled programming.
This time around the a-capella songs were not sung without the microphones, but all the guys gathered around two of them for ‘Land mins föður’ and ‘þér Ég Unni’. They also played ‘Heyr himna smiður’ which I had not heard for a while. The sound was perfect as always. Clear and delicate at the same time.
I absolutely loved the atmosphere of the concert. They played on a huge stage on the main market square in the middle of old buildings, with a audience of thousands and surrounded by all sorts of booths selling food and drinks, yet they managed to make me forget all this in a matter of minutes and it felt as if we had all been invited to their living room. People really listened, captivated by the music. During the quiet parts one could have heard a pin drop and they always waited until the very last note before breaking into cheers. <3
The mixture of songs was perfect as well and when it ended, everyone in the audience was on their feet. We yelled for encores loudly, but Árstíðir were not allowed to play one. I was happy to have been here and get the chance for another concert the next day. They had already played longer than I expected.
When we chatted afterwards, Ragnar told me they had to cut two songs off the setlist because everyone was running late already, but they’d get a full set tomorrow. They were quite busy with people asking for autographs so I didn’t even get a chance to talk much, but did my best to help translating or recommending CDs to everyone who asked.
Said hello to everyone though before I went to catch the last train out of Rudolstadt. With all those songs still ringing on in my head I made my way through the soft summer night towards my hotel. See you tomorrow guys. 🙂
Setlist (out of order)
Á meðan jörðin sefur
Days and Nights
Við dagsins hnig
þér ég unni
Nú gleymist ég
Land mins föður
Heyr himna smiður
You just have to know of me
Ljoð í Sand
Orð að eigin vali
Árstíðir summer tour – 1 gig down, 3 to go. Next stop: Rudolstadt