Karl’s final show, breakdown and goodbyes

Árstíðir – Spielboden, Dornbirn; May 12th, 2016

So this was it: The last show of the tour and Karl’s final night with Árstíðir. I knew this was coming, had known for almost half a year, but being prepared did not make it any easier or any less emotional. For the entire tour I had successfully managed to block out any thoughts of the band changing, at least for the most part. Occasionally I spoke about it, sometimes I thought about it, wondering how things will be like come October, but mostly I just enjoyed what I had, being in the here and now. Knowing the band had fundamentally changed before and survived, even thrived after a while, makes me believe they will do the same this time and the remaining members Daníel, Gunnar and Ragnar will find a way to make this work. They want to keep strings in their music so in the future there will be an additional violinist as well as a cellist. I know I will miss Karl, his personality as well as his playing, but I also know it will be OK. His final show was a beautiful one. No special setlist, but a good one, played at a nice venue with good lights, great sound and a responsive audience. Everything went well from the start and up until the final encore was done and any strain or stress the band members and their friends might have felt, was gone and replaced by relief. Goodbyes are hard, but they are rarely forever and this was a good ending. 🙂

When we arrived in Dornbirn in the early afternoon, all we saw was rain. Since we had time to kill, we went for a tea that quickly turned into an ice cream. It was nice and relaxing. The walk through the rain to our hotel wasn’t and before we left for the concert I bought some cider and comfort food just in case, convinced I would need it. Soon it was time to go and the rain still had not stopped. P. and I were half soaked when we arrived at the venue. I could not help thinking that the weather fit my somewhat gloomy mood. I had loved this tour like any other, but like all the others it had been an emotional roller coaster for me. It always is and on good days, I just go with the flow, on bad ones I let it drag me down and even small annoyances become mountains. It is all part of this life I have chosen and I gladly take the occasional hurt in return for all the amazing adventures I am having otherwise.  <3

As usual we were too early and had a tea before getting in line and finding us a good seat at the front. The venue had a few tables at the front as well as rows of seats at the back, the stage was nice and large. 🙂 This time there were no rules regarding photography either so I had a chance to take some pictures. First and foremost I wanted to enjoy the music though. Even though there will be a new tour in the fall, the setup of the band will be different and either way this was going to be the last time in a long time. Many thoughts were fighting in my head, many emotions in my heart. Despite enjoying all the concerts it had been a tough tour for me. Stress of frequent travel, little sleep and a few unresolved personal issues weighed me down at times. I was all over the place emotionally and even with all the beautiful moments some concerts felt like saying goodbye, this last one most of all. There were still a lot of things on my mind, all the emotions of the past weeks not yet fully processed, conversations I had not finished on the tour.

For now though, it was time to listen and let the music carry me. They started with the triple of ‘Himinhvel’, ‘Things you said’ and ‘Someone who cares’. It worked. The sound was amazing and pretty soon I alternated between closing my eyes and watching the band play. After all the concerts I have seen I still love watching them work, paying close attention to their hands walking across the piano or making different types of strings sing. Laura did a great job on the cello. She has a different style than Guillaume, but it fit just as well. Everyone was spot on with their playing that night as if they had collectively decided to make this last concert a special one. The singing was perfect too, everything fit.

All during the first set my mind wandered to different places, good as well as bad, but somehow it did not distract me. I was still there with the music, feeling each and every note. Tears were never far, I felt them during ‘Someone who cares’ and ‘Næturylur’. They came with ‘Systir’. The song has quickly grown to be my favorite on this tour, powerful and with a note of sadness that touches me deeply. This night, it was beautiful. I could not stop crying, shaking in my seat. The little breakdown came and went. I acknowledged it, letting it wash over me, aware that I needed to cry those tears. For a moment, nothing made sense, but the music carried me through. The set ended with ‘Nú gleymist ég’, giving me the chance to calm down and breathe during the break.

Somehow I managed to collect myself and my thoughts before going back to my seat, chatted with P. a little and was looking forward to part two of the concert, even though I already knew the emotional rollercoaster would not end here. Yet, it had been a good last show so far and I hoped it would stay that way. Took a peek at the setlist and – as expected – there were no surprises. It was a good selection of songs though with some great ones still to come.

Set two started with ‘You just have to know of me’ and I fell right back into wandering thoughts and emotions that were all over the place. I could not help it, it was just one of those nights. Still, the music was beautiful and made me smile in all the sadness I felt. So many memories collected with this band, it felt like an era was ending. Luckily, they kept a light tone, told stories and even a few jokes so I could not totally drift off into melancholia. At one point the venue’s photographer went backstage and apparently ran into something. It caused some loud noise at a rather quiet point of the show that the guys commented with asking if everything was OK. I did not see the guy, but if I’d been in his position I would have hidden for the rest of the night out of sheer embarrassment.

‘Silfurskin’ brought me close to tears again and so did ‘Days and Nights’. Surprisingly I choked up during ‘Danny Boy’ too. ‘Shine’ was outstanding, the best version since Apeldoorn last year. Somehow it all felt like I’d be saying goodbye forever after this night, not knowing when I’d see them again, contemplating taking a break for a while to get a grip on all my emotions. Yet when the end of the show was coming closer I knew I would not be able to do that, no matter how hard I tried. I am in this for life! The thought made me smile again and with everyone else I clapped and screamed for encores when the guys left the stage. We got ‘And so it goes’ as well as ‘Góda veslu göra skal’ and as an extra they gave us ‘Ages’. It was perfect. I did not want it to be over, but there was nothing more to be played then and there. Everyone seemed relieved and relaxed once it was done, taking the final bows with a smile.

I took a deep breath, wiped a few tears and walked out, waiting for the guys to appear, keeping in the background at first. After a while I realized I had left my umbrella, so I walked back in. Bumped into Karl and got a huge happy hug from him. He was relieved that everything went well and I told him I thought it was a good last show. We walked out, chatted with people. I hugged Ragnar, talked to him for a bit, got a glass of wine from Gunnar, chatted some more with Laura and Karl, hung out, waited, slowly feeling calmer. There were some things I needed to say though, thoughs on the tour I did not want to take home. Finally caught up with Gunnar and had the chance to say goodbye, thank him for the tour, talk about mixed feelings I had had during it. It was all very nice and we ended in a big hug. Daníel was next, I thanked him for always making me feel welcome and we finally said goodbye with the usual handshake. 🙂 More chatter with the other two, more thank yous, goodbyes and more hugs before it was time to head back to our hotel in the rain.

Thank you for a wonderful tour guys. I love you more than words can say. All the best to each one of you, to Karl in any future musical project and to Daníel, Gunnar and Ragnar with Árstíðir – I know it is going to be great. We will see each other further on up the road!

Setlist:

Himinhvel
Things you said
Someone who cares
Á meðan jörðin sjefur
Land míns föður
Næturylur
Moonlight
Orð að eigin vali
Systir
Nú gleymist ég

You just have to know of me
Ljoð í sand
Silfurskin
Heyr, Himna Smiður
Days & Nights
Londonerry Air (Danny Boy)
Við dagsins hnig
Shine
You again
Shades

And so it goes
Góda veslu göra skal

Ages

pictures of this concert

20 concerts down, none to go, last stop: home

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