Sigur Rós: Epic Force of Icelandic Nature Comes to Toronto

No words could ever truly begin to capture the emotional roller coaster Sigur Rós’ musical journey is bound to take you. Their ethereal instrumental soundtrack, inspired by the majestic beauty and calm air of Icelandic landscapes, evokes an outer-body experience like no other musical ensemble out there. At exactly 9:00pm sharp last night (August 1st, 2012), the dozen-or-so members of Sigur Rós lit up the stage at Echo Beach in Toronto and performed an incredible two-hour setlist with songs off their sixth latest album Valtari and other greatest hits. With bows slashing across guitar strings, a whimsical string and wood ensemble, melodic keyboards and pounding percussions, fans were in on a spiritual retreat.

Jónsi Birgisson’s haunting choirboy-like vocals (think Thom Yorke from Radiohead) was absolute perfection; not a single note was out of place or muffled. Despite this concert having been at an outdoor venue where acoustics are pretty much non-existent, Jónsi’s falsetto voice carried across to thousands of attentive fans, guiding everyone into a dream-like state. If Jónsi’s talents didn’t impress us enough, his vocals transcended all earthly boundaries when he wailed into his electric guitar during the closing of “Svefn-g-englar”. Watch for yourself from this YouTube video at the 5 minute mark. 

The buildup to the climax of the final encore song “Popplagið” was grand and epic; you knew this was the end (of the concert and life as we know it!). Don’t trust me? Lock yourself up in a small empty room, turn up the dial full blast and listen to this 11 minute and 45 second track. You’ll start to feel that scary rush of excitement around 6 minutes and 6 seconds. The band members returned after the encore with stage lights on, bowing and waving at their beloved fans, showing just how humble they are. 

For those attending Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts in Montreal this coming weekend, you won’t want to miss this band. Surprisingly, Sigur Rós isn’t headlining for this music festival, but you’ll still be able to enjoy a one-hour set from them on the Budweiser Stage from 8:30 – 9:30pm tomorrow (Friday, August 3rd). Afterwards, they’ll be taking on the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Don’t forget to pick up some swag! I got a simple charcoal grey Sigur Rós T-shirt ($35) with gold printed tour dates listed on the back, as well as an awesome set of 11 guitar picks ($15).

Sigur Ros @ Echo Beach (Ontario Place, near Molson Amphitheatre)
Date: August 1st, 2012
Tickets: $62.14/person

1. Ekki Múkk
2. Varúð
3. Ný Batterí
4. Í Gær
5. Vaka
6. Sæglópur
7. Svefn-g-englar
8. Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása
9. Hoppípolla
10. Með Blóðnasir
12. Olsen Olsen
13. Festival
14. Hafsól
15. Dauðalogn
16. Popplagið