Land of Fire and Ice - January 2015
Show in Reykjavik, Iceland
Beautiful Icelandic scenery
Andrea and Steve with celebration cake at the Reykjavik venue
My live DVD "Fire and Ice" was based on a gig on fire with excitement inside, whilst snow fell outside the venue. The Icelandic experience this last week was that whole experience on a countrywide scale...
I was invited to play with the band Todmobile at both the impressive Harpa venue in Reykjavik and the Hof in Akureyri. As soon as our plane touched down in Iceland, Ben, Jo and I were struck by the vast snowy landscape peppered with black volcanic rocks. Arnar, who runs several enterprises and a musician in his spare time, not only picked us up, but showed us several wonderful sights. Having driven past mountains, imposing volcanoes and beautiful frozen lakes, we visited the dramatic Gullfoss waterfall and incredible geysers, one of which shoots water up high into the air every ten minutes, before plummeting deep into the earth to prepare for its next performance... For much of the time the sky was the colour of the rising and setting sun, daylight lasting about five hours there at this time of year... The temperature was incredibly cold, but the place so inspiring that we just had to see everything! All interiors were warm and comforting and it felt great to get into those cosy restaurants and cafés!
It was a real pleasure to play with the band Todmobile, along with a whole orchestra and choir. We played several Genesis numbers including the whole of Supper's Ready, amazing sounding with the team of about seventy people! It was also a joy to play on some of their own music as well as the number Midnight Sun I co-wrote with Tod (of Todmobile) which is on both their album and the special edition of my forthcoming album. Eythor is an extraordinary singer and the whole band is immensely talented.
Our plane ride between Reykjavik and Akureyri was over snowy mountain and volcano peaks, and the snow in Akureyri was at least a foot deep. Here we were only about fifty miles from the Arctic Circle. On various occasions we joined Volker Warnke, Jack Beermann and Armando Gallo. We all braved a trip to visit Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano which blew in 2010, causing huge problems with air traffic around Europe and beyond. I remember having to drive all the way to Portugal for a gig because of cancelled flights due to the volcanic eruption. It still rumbles to this day... A farmer's wife who lives there showed us an amazing film of the danger they faced and their struggle to rebuild their farm against all odds in the face of that massive monster.
It was interesting on the last night via Arnar to meet Hilmar Hilmarsson, a musician who composes feature film music and also leader of the Icelandic pagans. He showed us plans of an incredible looking temple they are going to build in Reykjavik and played some of his beautiful evocative music.
Warmest thanks to Tod and his team for inviting me to join them for two such uplifting shows, and also to Arnar for all his wonderful hospitality. It has been an extraordinary experience in that incredible place with such warm and generous people. Jo and I look forward to returning, perhaps next time in the summer when we can directly experience the magical Midnight Sun...
Steve at the Gullfoss waterfall
Steve with Volker, Ben, Jack and Armando
Photo © Ben Fenner
Steve with Tod and Ben
Steve beside the volcano Eyjafjallajökull
Land of beautiful sunsets