Always look on the bright Side of Life

Ragnar Ólafsson – Chata M, Dłutówek; June 3rd, 2017

The fifth concert of Ragnar’s Poland tour took place in the middle of nowhere. There was absolutely no public transport to that place, but it was absolutely worth making the effort of going there. It was a cabin on a meadow between few other houses, complete with a campfire site. The place and the people were so welcoming that it became the most relaxed gig of the tour so far. Also the most fun one. I struggle to find words to describe it. <3

It was a four our trip for me to Pabianice, the closest big city. I had some time to walk around, relax and rest before taking a taxi out to Chata M. Ragnar was already there when I arrived and we spent some time chatting over tea and coffee in a swing by the fire place. More and more people arrived, he went for a quick soundcheck and came back out, singing a few songs for people standing by the fire. We got bits of AC/DC, Green Day, The Doors and Johnny Cash where on ‘Ring of Fire’ he was joined by a local boy on the jaw’s harp. It was lovely. Eventually everyone filed into the cabin or to the small terrace, sat down and waited for the concert to begin.

It all started with a lot of banter about not speaking Polish and the host telling him a few useful words and phrases. When he asked for translation of the latest one she said “You’re beautiful” and he just replied “dzięki”. Therefore everyone was already laughing before the first song. 😀

The setlist is pretty much established now, at least as far as first and last songs are concerned, but that does not mean there won’t be any surprises. This night had a few of them in store. Before the show music had been playing on a small stereo and Ragnar had shut that off. During ‘More will come along’ it suddenly started playing again which lead to a brief interruption and much laughter. I thought he might start over, but he just continued where he had stopped.

We learned the Polish word for wine next: wino – it sounded very Italian to me. There was a little girl sitting next to me who started at Ragnar fascinated and started clapping along during the song. It was really cute. After ‘Wine’ he explained a bit about the heavy lyric contrasting with the cute melody of ‘War’ and the background about the album and being on a solo tour, always sure to ask for a few keywords in Polish. From time to time the host translated what he said so people would understand. This was the first concert where nobody seemed to know Árstíðir. People were curious though, asking questions from time to time and he promised us a happy evening despite the sad songs. He delivered too. 😀

This time the local singer’s name was Agatha (sp?). She did a beautiful job on ‘Dozen’. People where somewhat surprised when asked to sing along for ‘Relations’ and the host was joking they did not speak Icelandic. Ragnar replied that it was “international language” and she asked “Esperanto?”. 😀 It worked well, once the audience knew what to sing.

He was really in storyteller mood this time, elaborating on the songs. It never gets boring, because these stories constantly change. I listen closely to spot the changes. 🙂 The audience was very receptive, listening closely to stories as well as music, laughing and commenting. When he talked about wanting to count all the bricks in Manhattan he added “Now you think I’m a weird guy” and the host immediately confirmed “You are”. 🙂 The song was great and ever and I almost have the lyrics down by now.

Before ‘The Cannon’ he asked for an extra beer, taught us to say “Skál!” and wanted to know if we liked stories. We agreed. I’ve always loved artists who are good storytellers, so this really makes me happy. This time, the “picking out a gun” part of the story was emphasized “I don’t know anything about rifles so I picked the black one”. Apparently that was the most powerful one of them and the recoil was strong. I’m sure being hit in the forehead by a scope hurts, but I have to say that the knock to the head lead to a great song. 🙂

Ragnar talked about the album being so new that it isn’t even released yet, but that the printing got done especially for Poland. I have the feeling that the translation ran somewhere along the lined of “go buy it!”, but I might be mistaken. ‘Bravery’ was awesome again. It is currently one of my favorites. Next was “a song I don’t play a lot”: ‘Vegetate’. Earlier I had told him that K. really wanted to hear it so this might have been practice. Either way, it was fun and to my surprise I remembered the lyrics too. 😀

Agatha was back for the always beautiful ‘Petals’ and ‘Scar’ ended the set. It works well that way. 🙂 Of course we did not want to let him go and it felt like the cheers I heard here were the loudest on the tour yet, especially measured by the size of the crowd. People were not just being polite, they really wanted to hear more. 😀 Ragnar had walked out to the terrace and when he came back, he was asked to do something in Icelandic. I didn’t think he would, but he decided to try, spent a little time going over the song in his head, changing it from piano to guitar and then played ‘Ljoð í sand’. I surely had not expected that. It was awesome too, worked really well. <3

‘Sleep now’ was once again played while walking among the audience, including outside on the terrace. Before he started he explained that every metal band has one ballad and played part of ‘More than words’. That was like and inside joke to me and made me grin, due to stuff that had happened on another tour with another band. Anyway, Ragnar surely does not need a microphone to sing, but I already knew that. It was fun seeing him walk around and the look on people’s faces when he sang to them.

That still was not enough for us and we clapped on until he returned and asked if we wanted one more. “Or two or three” I answered. Again ‘Urges’ was selected as the show closer. Despite much cheering I thought that was it, but once again I was surprised. He told us that Bartek had just arrived and made him think of a song they sang in an underpath somewhere. Then he asked if we knew this one and played a few notes. Not in a million years had I expected to hear him sing ‘Always look on the bright Side of Life’, but it did happen and the audience joined in too. What a wonderfully funny way to end the concert.

I could not stop smiling and quickly went to hug Ragnar after and thanked him for a lovely concert. Best one so far I told him. Lots of people came to talk and I think he sold a few CDs too. We got to chat a little bit before he had to leave, because Bartek and his wife were wedding guests that night and needed to get back there, taking him along. Me, I stayed for a while, got amazing potatoes from the grill, Polish campfire songs and wine before I asked them to call me a taxi and returned to me hotel. It was surely a night to remember.

pictures of this concert

Urges tour Poland: 5 gigs down, 9 to go. Next stop: Myslovice


More will come along
Every Brick in Manhattan
The Cannon

Ljoð í sand
Sleep now


Always look on the bright side of life

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