Árstíðir – M/S Stubnitz, Hamburg; November 27th, 2013
This concert was a late addition to the current tour, but a welcome one for me. Even though it’s a three hour trip I always enjoy traveling to Hamburg – it still feels like coming home. Also it intrigued me when I read they were playing on a ship that is in Hamburg for a few months before it moves to the next harbor – I love unusual venues. So after a one week break for me during which the guys played 4 concerts I could not wait to see them again and was curious to see and hear how things had evolved since. Compared to the one in Vilvoorde this was in a different league. We got to see a band that was comfortable and in tune with each other performing amazing music, including one brand new song. It isn’t the same band I fell in love with in September last year, yet they have evolved into a band I fell in love with all over again. It was all there: The friendly banter, the beautiful sounds they create, where everyone has his place and together they form a whole that is bigger than the sum of its parts and the pure joy of playing that seemed to have gotten lost at times lately. Being there to witness this made me so happy I cried. :’)
It was a late concert so I arrived in Hamburg after 6 pm. It was a half hour walk from my hotel to the ship, which was OK except that the entire area was one huge construction site and I wasn’t 100% sure it was the right way. When I finally arrived I was quite relieved. 🙂 The ship was an amazing venue with the stage in the wide-open belly of it. There were many stairs to go up and down too, just great. I instantly had a good feeling about it and spent some time walking up and down, looking at the stage from different angles to find good spots to take pictures from. Met all the guys before the gig too – they were visibly more relaxed than a week ago.
At 9 pm someone announced that this was supposed to be the time the doors opened and the concert would start in half an hour. Fine with me, I had time to get some tea and get comfortable. I chose a spot by the left side of the stage, directly behind the piano. From there, I could see everyone. They walked on stage confidently and took their now accustomed places: Gunnar with the baritone guitar and Ragnar behind the piano, then Daníel, Karl and Guillaume in a row with their instruments. They looked comfortable and when they started playing it felt completely right too. A smile spread on my face – I knew then and there that it was going to be perfect. 😀
They started with ‘Heiðin’, ‘Á meðan jörðin sefur’ and ‘Við dagsins hnig’ like they did in Vilvoorde, but from then on the setlist was mixed up a bit. Guillaume played on a lot more songs than he did at the beginning of the tour – he seems to have found his place in the band now. 🙂 He sings on most of the a cappella songs too. The sound was amazing, I had not expected that from such a venue. Wherever I walked, I could hear them clearly and I walked a lot, looking for interesting angles to take pictures from. Once I kicked over a glass which was luckily empty and made of plastic. Oh the embarrassment! Good thing it happened during a break between songs.
Even though I took many pictures I still managed to listen to the music this time and had the feeling they guys were playing exceptionally well. Every song sounded great, every note was right and every arrangement was just what the song needed. ‘Kill us’ was even better than the previous time. They jokingly announced it as a song they would not play in church, then told us a story about getting bad reviews after playing it at a Christmas concert. Not sure if that story is true, but it was funny.
They played two sets so during the break I asked if I could take some pictures from stage. They didn’t mind so I found myself standing on the far right behind Karl and Guillaume, looking out at the audience for a change. I love being this close – there are so many details to be seen. The second set started with ‘You just have to know of me’ followed by a brand new song called ‘Eris’ which they later told me they spontaneously decided on playing when they arrived. It was very prog and very awesome. I know it is going to evolve from there, but even this rough version was great already. <3
Left the stage again, but returned towards the end of the show and was there when they all walked off, with the audience loudly demanding an encore. The looks on their faces were so happy – priceless. I smiled as they walked by. Soon they returned for the usual two-song encore, playing ‘Góða veislu gjöra skal’ in the audience again. Like everything else that was well received and they still sounded amazing even without the microphones. Everyone still wanted more, but sadly that was it. I had not seen the guys this relaxed in a long time. It was as if someone had taken a big weight off their shoulders. From here on in I can look happily towards the future and say “I knew they’d be able to pull this off, I just knew it.” Finally the little voice of doubt in my head is silenced. 🙂
Á meðan jörðin sefur
Við dagsins hnig
Látum okkur sjá
Days and Nights
Orð að eigin vali
Land mins föður
Ljoð í Sand
You just have to know of me
Lost in you
Heyr himna smiður
Nú gleymist ég
Góða veislu gjöra skal
After the show I stayed much longer than I should have, considering the early train I’d have to take in the morning. Yet I was way too wound up to sleep anyway and wanted to share all the excitement and happiness. There were some great conversations and very many hugs. When Ragnar asked my opinion of the concert I told him it was the first night since late September that I had not missed anyone and as I said these words I knew they were true. All is well.
On the long walk back to my hotel, replaying the night in my head, I cried like I did after so many of their concerts lately. Only this time around they were happy tears. 😀