Forest Hills Stadium
June 17th 2017
by Macy Griffin
Photo by Angelo Santoro
With a light show that puts Christmas to shame, famed Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Ròs brought their luminous world tour to Forest Hills Stadium on June 17th. This being their final North American stop, the trio (name meaning “Victory Rose”), has two decades worth of work behind them, and to the delight of their global enthusiasts, knew how to put on yet another brilliant & memorable performance.
Not one for convention, lead singer Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson, took the stage with bow and guitar, ready to use the arco technique used for violins and bass on his beat-up electric. Their sound is unparalleled, featuring rapturous instrumentals and Jónsi’s signature bright, falsetto voice singing in his native Icelandic. The language barrier poses as less of a problem, rather it enhances the wonder and awe that their instruments and voices possess.
Beginning the night’s musical journey through time, sound and space with their song “Á”, meaning “On,” their calm intensity is manifested with clouds shapeshifting on the screens behind them, as what then seemed like a planned slight drizzle from the actual clouds above the packed stadium.
With a harrowed expression, the band continues, into “Ekki Múkk,” (translated to “Not A Sound”), a gentle song with strings of lights twinkling and moving, making you feel as though you have just left the stratosphere. The angelic quality of their music coaxes a “pinch me if I’m dreaming or dead” reaction, almost as if beautiful Icelandic aliens have chosen you and the other several thousand people wearing bright yellow ponchos to ascend along with them.
Later in the almost 2 hour set, they performed their newest song, Niður, (“Down”) which is tied to their latest project, titled “Norðurogniður,” or literally “North and Down,” but figuratively meaning “Go to hell.” The song, contrastingly, is heavenly to hear, but perhaps is more ominous in their Icelandic tongue.
The stage is continuous with smoke machines and brilliant lights all the way until the band’s encore—closing with the massive “Popplagio.” The fans in the stands went wild, expressing sheer adoration for a band many of us thought we could only visit in our dreams, with everyone beyond thankful they brought their ethereal atmosphere to America.
Should Sigur Ròs return to the States for their new project, without a doubt, seize the opportunity and experience them. They offer so much more than live music, providing out of this world beauty and the blissful chance to lift one off the ground and rise above!