within me a lunatic sings -- sigur rós : the greek theatre : october 2, 2008
i would be among the first to admit that i sometimes make pretty liberal use of superlatives when it comes to talking about music. when my friends hear me call a band "one of my favorites", they know that that list is considerably long and seemingly growing by the day. but hopefully my history of hyperbole won't lessen the effect of this statement, because this time i seriously mean it: seeing sigur rós live in 2005 was the most aesthetically pleasing concert i have ever seen. there was a majesty to everything about the performances on that tour, so wonderfully captured in heima, that transcended every idea i had about music as art. the visuals are still fresh in my memory, opening and closing behind a sheer curtain that alternately captured the vague outlines of the band and their imposing shadows cast by lights from behind. it was a stunning display, matching note-for-note the gentle unraveling of "takk" and "glósóli", as well as the frenetic conclusion to "popplagið", and served as the perfect complement to the ethereal mood and atmosphere that the band is so well known for creating with its music. it was, by all accounts, breathtaking.
and so it was that seeing them last thursday, for the first time since that wonderful night three years ago, was as highly anticipated an evening as i can remember. unfortunately, as so often happens with extreme anticipation and build-up, and so it was that i walked away slightly disappointed. i know that my disappointment had a lot to do with the towering expectations i carried in, and i knew that they couldn't put on the same show as before; but i did hope that they would have replaced the theatrics on the curtain with something equally amazing. unfortunately, two blasts of enough confetti to make it seem like it was snowing was about the extent of the replacement visual artistry.
it wasn't a bad show by any means. in fact, i'm pretty sure any sigur rós show, given even the reduced level of artistic merit and, oh yeah--the music--would still be one of the best shows i'd see in any given year. because despite my misgivings and slight disappointment, it's still sigur freakin' rós, music replete with transcendant beauty and the ability to elevate a mood to aural nirvana. since i first listened to it back in june, með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust has done nothing but continue to amaze me. with all the familiar sonic characteristics intact, the band added a new element--pure, unadulterated joy--to glorious effect. to see these songs performed live (complete with the confetti faux snowstorm) confirmed that that additional element was sincere in every way, and there is just no way that they could make for a night that was anything less than extraordinary. i could only imagine the hyperbole i'd be spewing if the visual elements had been as breathtaking as they were before...
sigur rós : "inní mér syngur vitleysingur"
from the lp með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (beggars xl recordings, 2008)
þegar að við hittumst (when we meet)
þegar að við kyssumst (when we kiss)
varirnar brenndu, höldumst í hendur (the lips burning, we hold hands)
ég sé þig vakinn (i see you wake)
ég sé þig nakinn (i see you naked)
inní mér syngur vitleysingur (within me a lunatic sings)