From Iceland — A Short Trip to Hopeland

A Short Trip to Hopeland

Published December 4, 2008

A Short Trip to Hopeland
Photo by
Jói Kjartans

I was expecting a special Sigur Rós show this night. For one thing, the band had just finished their recent tour, which had been their first one without their fellows Amiina in years. How would Sigur Rós do as a four-piece rock outfit?
Second, the band has always underlined their love for home, which is why the expectations of seeing the band here in Iceland are even higher for a guest to this country. They would definitely have to fork over some extra efforts to justify my expectations. To start with good news: Sigur Rós delivered absolutely.
The evening opened with the band For A Minor Reflection, which also supported Sigur Rós for the back end of their tour. I had been totally into this band when they had their demo out, but my interest decreased with the release of their new album which could not keep up the fragility and beauty of the band’s older material. The songs simply do not spark and this was also the case when the band performed live this night.
After them, Sigur Rós hit the stage, which they had transformed it into a dimly lit space that served as scene for the first song “Svefn-g-englar”. The mixture of melancholic atmosphere and powerful rock outbursts of this song became a perfect example for the rest of the concert, which was really a balancing act between both. The choice of songs contributed very well to this, too, as there were poppy hymns like “Gobbledigook” or “Hoppipólla” but also the typical epics like “Popplagið” and “Glósóli”.
The band’s excellent musical appearance was complemented by an elaborate technical staging. The comfortable stage design of the beginning was more and more transferred into a surreal space by huge balloons, videos and finally a curtain of water. This way Sigur Rós took their audience on a musical as well as a visual journey into their fantastic “Hopeland”.
The trip ended after two encores where it had begun one and a half hours before: in Reykjavík’s handball stadium Laugardalshöll with four exhausted but lucky people on stage and 3000 of them in front of it.

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