Sigur Ros at The O2, Dublin – Review and Photos
Sigur Ros – The O2, Dublin – November 16th
The sound of Sigur Ros was forged from their native Iceland, the land of ice and fire, and its landscape is strongly reflected in their music. Little surprise then that they carry the theme through to their live show. The concert starts with us viewing the band through a translucent curtain, as though they are frozen in ice. Jonsi’s falsetto vocals seep through the cracks and crevices of songs like Glosoli. Smoke machines shroud the stage in an ethereal mist and volcanic visuals complete the illusion of ice meeting fire, of molten lava pouring into frozen seas. With the scene set, the curtain falls and the concert begins in earnest.
You don’t come to a Sigur Ros performance to dance, you barely even come to move at all. The crowd stands transfixed, rooted to the spot. They are held fast under an intricately woven spell, notes like snowflakes falling softly. They are hypnotised by the music that floats above their heads before breaking on them like an Atlantic wave.
This is the score to an arctic opera; expansive, lonesome and breath-taking but at the same time, crystalline, touching and tender. Whether it’s Jonsi’s bowed guitar mimicking the music of a whale gliding beneath the ice or crashing cymbals evoking the sound of falling icicles shattering on cold ground, all you have to do is close your eyes and be instantly transported to the tundra by the shifting sheets of shiveringly beautiful music.
The visuals on the panoramic screen behind the band are equally mesmerising; lonely figures on a rocky coast burst into light and drift slowly toward the clouds above during Varuo and the triumphant Hoppipolla triggers an explosion of fireworks that dance across the screen. A feast for your eyes as well as your ears.
For me, the pinnacle of the concert comes with the first song of the encore and the first Sigur Ros song I ever heard. Sven g Englar translates as Sleep Walkers which fits perfectly because this song is like being in a dream. With its unmistakable sonar pings and echoing, aching guitar, it’s like a slow motion ballet between a whale and a submarine, twisting and spiraling in perfect harmony. It whispers to you to close your eyes and allow the music to wash over you, so I close my eyes and let it, surrendering to the sleepy soundscape. The feeling is quite indescribable.
This was my first time seeing Sigur Ros. Before the concert I was worried that such delicate music would get lost in a vast venue like the Point but I was wrong. This was one of the best musical experiences of my life and I will never miss another opportunity to see them live. Neither should you.
Photos and Review by Jamie Tanner