When I first heard that Sigur Rós was going to be touring without a string a section, I couldn’t help but feel let down. I wondered how they were going to recreate their music that often centers around strings in a live setting. As soon as Jón Birgisson took the stage armed with violin bow, I knew this was going to be different from any other show I had seen before.
As they launched into “Svefn-g-englar,” all my doubts were swept away. They have this incredible ability to create the most atmospheric music in a live setting that just leaves everyone in a different place. Usually when you look to your right or left at a concert, you see fans with their eyes open – paying full attention to the band. But here, many times I saw people with their eyes closed, drifting off in their own world. And the same can be said for the band, they were either looking down or they had their eyes closed as they got lost in their own music as well.
The highlight of the show was “Sæglópur”, which started off with a stunning piano intro and built up into a heavy guitar driven ballad with Birgisson slamming down on his guitar with his bow. Other highlights included “Festival” and “Gobbledigook” – which was very celebratory, accompanied by tons of confetti being showered down on the crowd as the drummers beat down in unison. The band played a perfect show, and if there was ever any doubt about their ability to recreate their stunning music (even without a string section), it was quickly gone as I walked away from the experience a changed person.