Gorgeous views, great crowd and everything falling into place

Árstíðir – Musicport Festival, Whitby; October 23rd 2016

On their second night as a reformed band, Árstíðir proved beyond any doubt that they can be as amazing as ever in their new setup. It was a beautiful concert in front of a large and enthusiastic audience where everything fell into place and we all got a first real taste of how things will be from now on. Seeing them play and sing their hearts out, enjoying their time on stage and drawing the audience in put a big smile on my face. I truly felt the new band emerge in front of my eyes, felt happy for them and very proud. They did it again, made me forget my surroundings and dream for as long as they were playing. I know it will get even better from here! 😀

The evening before I had been joking with the guys that I had only 10 minutes to make my first connecting train and that I’d call them about a lift if I missed that. Well, be careful what you joke about. While I got into London earlier than expected and my train from there left on time, it was already 15 or twenty minutes late before we even reached the first station and it only got worse from there. I talked to the train conductor and she told me I’d most probably miss my connecting train in Darlington if this one stayed as late. Once we hit 30 minutes delay I was devastated and cried even because I knew I would not make the connection and with the next possible train I would not arrive in Whitby on time for the concert. All the trouble and long trip for missing the guys? This could not be happening! 🙁 About 20 minutes before our arrival in Darlington I saw the conductor again. Imagine my surprise when she told me they’d get m a taxi. I could not believe my luck. In Darlington a taxi waited for me and drove me to Middelsbrough free of charge where I easily got the train to Whitby. That was great customer service and I even had a nice chat with the driver including some tourism tips. 😀

Once in Whitby, I found my hotel, freshened up and left for the venue. When I got close I was completely blown away by the view. It was right by the sea, about halfway down the cliffs. For some time, all I could do was stare. Picked up my ticket, then went for a quick walk along the beach and out to the lighthouse. IT was all so beautiful I cried a few happy tears. Just wow! Once back inside I found  place side stage for the band playing before Árstíðir. They played covers, but did it well and even got people to dance! Once they were gone, I claimed a spot in front of center stage, settled down and got my camera ready. I had already seen how good the lights were and wanted to capture them.

There were only 25 minutes time for bands to change stage. The guys barely managed to set everything up. They have some new gear and require even more cables now than they used to. No soundcheck, just a quick line check and already they were being announced with the announcer joking she was terrified of pronouncing the name. 🙂 She didn’t do a bad job though and thus the second show in the new setup started. During the first two songs the space in front of the stage filled up and the audience immediately showed their appreciation. They were fully into it from the start.

Transitions between songs and effects went a lot more smoothly than the previous day, they guys were fully there, having found their footing as a band. The setlist was shorter, the playing tighter. There were some minor technical glitches, but those were hardly noticeable. Their playing and singing was beautiful, each one of them relaxed, giving all they had. I wanted to capture everything, but I wanted to listen as well, close my eyes and dream. I managed to do both with ease – it was that kind of evening. The band fed off of the energy that came from the audience. At one point Gunnar noted how nice it was to have so many people there and have all of them listen as well. I loved seeing their smiles when they realized how well the music worked. 😀 I loved their playing too and paid special attention to the violin. It was great, most noticeably beautiful for ‘Someone who cares’, but amazing on all the other songs as well. That night, Jean-Samuel proved he fits in well with this band – once again they have made the right choice. 🙂

I could not stop smiling, enjoying the great sound and beautiful stage lights – whoever did take care of it knew what they were doing – it fit well with the songs and looked nice in the pictures too. 🙂 They didn’t talk so much this time, but rather lat the music speak with a few stories strewn in here and there. I knew each story and each song they played, but everything seemed new and fresh and different. The changes to the songs made them come alive again, I heard them all, but still would not be able to pinpoint them if I tried. Different effects, different playing, their ever evolving music. The guys looked happy and relaxed, it was clear they enjoyed being on stage. I alternated between taking in the big picture and focussing on the little things: Daníel’s smile, Gunnar’s closed eyes, Ragnar’s hands on the keys, Guillaume’s bow moving across the strings and the paper crane on Jean-Samuel’s hat.

The previous night I had thought I might need a change, had felt nervous for the band and struggled at times to be truly there in the music, but now everything cam to me effortlessly. I felt it, felt at home once again, knew why I had come and why I follow Árstíðir, why I fell in love with their music. It was amazing and I absolutely dind’t want the evening to end. None of the songs stuck out especially, it was just one beautiful flow of great playing and singing. This was the band I had missed since May. 🙂 When the concert finally ended, everyone cheered loudly, not wanting them to leave. My sentiments exactly. It could have gone all night.

I stuck around, waited, smiled as they had to sign lots of CDs and received many compliments. They packed while I got food, we all sat down to eat and had a few drinks, chatting. I enjoyed just hanging out with them like in the old days. 😉 They had loved the concert too, told me about a few technical glitches and how much they liked working with in-ear monitors. I can imagine it must make a world of difference. Gunnar said it especially helped the harmony singing. Ragnar told me his monitor had gone to static during ‘Nú gleymist ég’ and he had to rely on muscle memory to play it because he could not hear a thing. It wasn’t noticeable though. I learned that Jean-Samuel and Guillaume are playing in a trio together – now I finally knew how Guillaume found Jean-Samuel. 🙂 we chatted some more, joked, had a good time. Eventually the guys grew restless and it was time for goodbyes. Some of them went out, but I realized I needed sleep so I skipped the night at the bar. I’d see them again the next day. 😀

Setlist

Himinhvel
Things you said
Someone who cares
Moonlight
Ljoð í sand
You just have to know of me
Nú gleymist ég
Shine
You Again
Shades
Ages

pictures from this concert

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