Jeff Buckley might have had the greatest set of lungs ever to grace this earth with a song. So, putting on a show to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his accidental passing is something you’d better pour all of your heart and soul into – which the producers of this event did fully and selflessly, with a near capacity show in Austurbær that will no doubt help keep Buckley’s memory alive in Iceland for years to come.
With radio personality Andrea Jónsdóttir as obvious MC of the evening, the night kicked off with a video greeting from Jeff’s mother Mary Gilbert out of her L.A office. We were all thanked and wished a good time – which put a nice stamp of legitimacy to the proceedings.
Putting Lights on the Highway’s singer Kristófer Jensen at the vocal helm of the undertaking is exactly the move one might expect, and he did Jeff Buckley justice with many heartfelt and near perfect renditions of material both from the album Grace and later tracks that never made it to the studio on Buckley’s lips. But alas, Kristófer is only human and he kind of dropped the ball on Last Goodbye and by the encore performance of Eternal Life his voice was shot.
Joining Kristófer at the helm was Sverrir Bergman, who may have stolen his thunder with the climactic Dream Brother, leaving Kristófer to play catch-up with an excellent rendition of Forget Her. On Hallelujah, guest performers Helgi Valur and Bjarni were both last minute replacements who nonetheless sounded well rehearsed, although Bjarni smiled his way through a couple of fumbles. While this was not the high point I was hoping for, Helgi Valur carried the tune well and this proved to be the most sombre of moments and the only time I found to really reflect on the tragic drowning that ultimately brought us in front of this stage tonight.
Among the other guests were: Diva De La Rosa, who lent her odd, blues-laden and beautiful voice to Lilac Wine; Andrea Gylfadóttir, with a neither here nor there version of Satisfied Mind; and bursting out off left field, hedonistic funny man Finni Prik with the mood-lighting ruckus of MC 5’s Kick out the Jams.
In conclusion, I found no major faults with the show at all, although I could only wish for one of the singers onstage to have matched Buckley’s remarkable width of register and fire of that drawn out high pitch wail he’ll effortlessly send rippling down your spinal column. As well, a Corpus Christi replacing a non-Grace tune would have hit the spot.
A nice addition to the evening’s proceedings, or a particularly funny faux pas depending on how you look at it, was when the computerprojected images of Buckley on the silver screen behind the stage announced that someone has just signed in to MSN.
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