Sigur Rós The Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver BC - September 29, 2005

The four members of Icelandic band Sigur Rós brought their vast and dazzling sounds to the gothic Orpheum Theatre, where the musicians' shadows were magnified against a white curtain that hung across the stage for the opening song. The curtain was drawn aside to reveal plush rugs and a large video screen that, over the course of the concert, displayed repetitive images indicative of movement: a person jumping, boots walking in a field, trees swaying, birds fluttering on a telephone wire. The lighting was dim, enhancing the ethereal atmosphere, with the occasional floodlight blasting out from behind front-man Jon Thor Birgisson and the drum kit. The band members swapped instruments constantly between piano, keyboards, drums and guitars. At one point, Birgisson took to whistling into the hole of his guitar, this most likely a discovery that only the singer, who also uses a violin string to play, could have come up with. There was zero crowd interaction but it was unnecessary, except for when the piano fritzed in the middle of one song, causing a calm and heavily accented voice to call out from the dark pocket of the stage, "The piano's broken." The relentless diversity of songs, which were layered and complex creations garnished with the singer's surreal orca-like alto, caused many a die-hard fan to yell "Shhh!" to those unversed who'd start to clap during moments of silence. For an encore the band burst into a pounding rock number that was carried by the intense energy of the drummer and brought to a barely controlled chaos with the singer's violent bowing of his guitar. As the song reached its shrill and unrelenting crescendo, astounding in its audacity, the curtain fell across the stage and once more turned the musicians to ghosts.