Traffic jams, Kickstarter happiness and a lovely church

Árstíðir – Trinitatiskirche, Gera; April 25th, 2014

For the longest time it looked as if this was going to be the only concert outside of Iceland in the spring of this year, but somewhere in March it had turned into a small tour. I went from thinking I was only going to see this one to planning three in a row, then three more only to decide I’d do the entire tour the day before I went to Gera. If I was gonna go that far east, I might as well stay for a week,  😉

With a delayed train it took me over 7 hours to get to Gera, but I’m used to long trips by now. After I’d taken a little walk through the city I asked the guys if I could come and hang out for soundcheck only to learn that they had not even arrived yet and were stuck in a huge traffic jam somewhere between Berlin and Gera. I started joking about a midnight gig, but they finally made it at 8:15 pm so the concert was only about one hour delayed. When the guys arrived they were surprisingly relax and all had the time for a quick hello at least. 🙂 Guillaume was back to play the cello – I was hoping it would be him.

After a quick soundcheck everyone was ready to go and the organizer announced the band together with the church’s minister who was happy to see all the benches filled. 😉 It was a good crowd indeed – every last seat was taken and some people were even on the floor. They guys walked out on the stage and kept walking until they stood in front of it. ‘Góða veislu gjöra skal’ was the first song. 🙂 After this great start everything is very much a blur for me. I can vaguely remember all the songs played or what was going on in general. What I do know is that I loved it.

The sound in the church was really beautiful and the fact that it had already gotten dark by the time they started only added to the atmosphere. It was a little bit eerie and otherworldly overall, especially with the rather dim lighting. In retrospect it seems weird that I took very few pictures and was quite caught up in the music, yet I cannot remember any details other than feeling really happy to be there.

Too many things were circling through my mind. Roughly a week before the concert the band had finally announced the departure of Jón and Hallgrímur. For me this had been reality for so long that it felt strange to hear it as news. I can vividly recall what it felt like when I heard it and despite the announcement being wonderfully worded and everyone knowing they are still friends, it can’t be easy to digest. I know it wasn’t for me. Either way, I’ve been thinking of the guys as a five men band (or four plus one) for a while now and everything about it feels absolutely right for me. The new roles of Ragnar on the piano and Gunnar on the baritone guitar are no longer new, but feel natural and their sound is notably different, but just as amazing as it always was.

Another thing on everybody’s mind was the Kickstarter campaign the guys had just launched to support the new album. After a rocky start with a one day delay due to Kickstarter having to review the whole thing, it took off extremely well with the guys making over half their goal in the first 24 hours. The previous day I had spent all evening watching the numbers climb and was so enthralled that I even skipped a concert I had planned. It made me feel so proud and happy I could not stop smiling. Needless to say the campaign is lovingly done and the rewards they have thought up are beyond amazing. I just wish I had the money to claim a privat concert. *sigh*

Árstíðir mixed brand new songs with the old ones again, but did not play as many new ones as I’d heard in Reykjavík. I’m guessing it would have been more difficult for Guillaume if they had. They did not kick out my favorites though and I grinned when Ragnar screwed up the lyrics in “The Cannon” – of course no one in the audience could know. 😉 ‘Ró’ was well received since many had heard it already on youTube in the past two days. This night I learn the word means “calm” in Icelandic. 🙂 The last song in the first set was ‘Siðasta Kveðjan’ which they dedicated to me. <3 I could not take pictures during that song, just had to sit there, close my eyes and listen. To my surprise it was played without the cello and still worked – I loved it just as much as I had the other times.

The break was spent chatting before I made my way upstairs to take a few pictures from there. It was a great view, but I had to get closer again – being so far from the stage is just not for me. The way down was harder than I had imagined, because all the lights in the staircase had been switched off. When I arrived, Masha was there demanding a hug. Of course I gladly complied. 🙂

The second set had the reworked version of ‘Shine’ as the only new song. There were a few subtle changes to many songs though and Karl no longer played the piano on ‘Orð að eigin vali’. I felt a little sorry for him there – I know he loved doing it. Unexpectedly, ‘Tárin’ was back after ‘Shades’. I thought that was gone for good. As much as I love these two songs together, dropping it had felt like reinventing the band to me and playing it again felt like a step back. It worked well though and I wondered if they did it, because they had decided not to play ‘Kill us’ at a church. They did though and it brought the house down – people were loudly demanding an encore.

After ‘Nú gleymist ég’ it still was not enough and they had to come out again for a spontaneous ‘Land míns föður’ before leaving for good. I smiled at them as they walked off stage. Well done guys! 😀 It is going to be a fun tour.

Afterwards there were so many hugs and nice chats with the guys. I wasn’t tired at all, but they were and left eventually. This was a good start, I can’t wait to see them again.

Setlist (incomplete)

Góða veislu gjöra skal
Látum okkur sjá
The Cannon
You just have to know of me

Ljod í sand
Siðasta Kveðjan

Orð að eigin vali
Days and Nights
Kill us

Nú gleymist ég
Land míns föður

pictures of this concert

Árstíðir spring tour: 1 concert down, 7 to go. Next stop: Karlovy Vary

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