The show: When Sigur Ros' lead singer, Jón þór Birgisson (aka Jónsi) came on stage, he didn't need much hoopla. The stage, after all, was enough of a production. Designed to look like the interior of a burnt out warehouse, Jonsi used the stage and lighting design to accentuate his songs. The broken glass windows. The boxes. The lights. The projection and animation--of rain, wild animals, butterflies. Fox Theater was literally transformed into another world.
You could argue that Jonsi's music stands out on its own, and needs no dressing up. But his work with theater and opera design company 59 Productions proved that given an otherworldly setting, audiences are able to transcend and completely give themselves to the emotion of his music.
And Jonsi's music was spectacular. I hate to use words like spellbinding and magnificent and, well, spectacular, but it seems that there are no others that would do it justice. From the moment Jonsi walked onstage, carrying only an acoustic guitar and singing acapella, the crowd was transfixed into a stillness--so much so that you could feel the palpable joy in the air, just from hearing the music. And then the visual show started.
Most of the visual storyline were scenes projected onto the walls, the stage and the musicians, and the visuals moved Jonsi's music along subtly, without disrupting the flow of the songs, or distracting from the glockenspiel, the guitars, the drums, or Jonsi's heavenly voice. It was organic and techy at the same time--and it was all very beautiful.
At some point, I did want some kind of respite from all the beauty around me--I wanted to listen to an overproduced Ke$ha song, or eat bubblegum--because I wasn't sure I could handle everything that Jonsi was throwing my way. If Jonsi's point was to produce synaesthesia for the ultimate concert experience, he succeeded. I wanted to cry and laugh and close my eyes and taste colors all at once, while watching him.
Personal Bias: So what if I'm a hormonal pregnant lady? I still shed copious tears during the show because of Jonsi's amazing performance.
The Crowd: Middle aged hipsters everywhere!
Overheard in the Crowd: A lot of sobbing.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Notebook Dump: Whatever it was that Jonsi was wearing made me think of ethnic urban decay chic. Also, during the encore, he came out wearing a feathered headdress and a feathered boa...I was like, "Bjork? Is that you?"
Just because Jonsi is intense doesn't mean he can't be funny.