Jónsi’s performance Saturday night at Terminal 5 left no emotion unfurled. I’m not sure if there an a word in the English language that can adequately describe the degree of emotional stimulation his music brings when fused into the visceral stage production assembled for this tour.
Jónsi decided to embark on a solo record while the other members of Sigur Rós are having children and imagined it to be a quiet acoustic record. The sound of his first solo record go quickly grew into a much larger production. He wanted to reflect this sound with an equally massive stage production. Jónsi enlisted Phil Eddolls and 59 Productions, a company that usually produces operas, bringing a unique stage show of film, art installation, and theater performance as a backdrop for the show. The concept is inspired by a book featuring photos of a burned out taxidermist shop.
The show began with simplicity. Jonsi and his acoustic guitar playing the subdued unreleased track “Stars In Still Water” in front a tan curtain covering the back of the stage. Having seen a few online videos I waited for it to drop and give way to the elaborate set design behind it. However, this was not the case. Halfway through the second song, “Hengilás,” the unassuming tarp transformed into a gigantic, tea-stained piece of paper adorned with sketches of brooding animals. Now realizing it was actually a screen, the digital image that covered the entire back of the stage began to burn away with a stunning digital fire as the strings picked up and the song came to an end. What was left behind was a darkened forest of burnt trees in various states of decay, with two separate smaller screens in front of the stage illuminating images of a glass jar filled with an ocean of butterflies for the next song, “Icicle Sleeves.” What followed was the first of many jaw-dropping moments and an almost indescribable series of stunning images. Animals changing form, becoming wire frames, then shedding their color while chasing one another through a dead forest of night for the song “Kolniður.”
The calm tension of the song “Tornado” led into the thunderous drums of “Sinking Friendships,” which stood as the musical shift of a consistently rising tempo for each song. Each one sounded louder than the previous and never let up. Ending with Jónsi in a feather headdress, violently shaking his head and body, while belting out the final lyrics “They, in the end, will turn and fall, You’ll know…” from the closer “Grow Till Tall.” It left the crowd and mysefl disoriented and overwhelmed with his almost frightening ability evoke emotion. Full set list and a few Youtube videos below, giving a peek into the experience.
Stars in Still Water
Grow Till Tall