While Harvest Festival abandons Perth, Sigur Ros did not. Everybody who snuggled at Belvoir Amphitheatre - a remarkable venue that is snugged in the middle of farms and vineyards under a blanket of stars- felt blessed, as if a god-sent miracle was being unfurled before their very eyes. From start till the end, it was a glimpse of heaven on earth.
A grand jolt of a start it was with I Gaer off their previous album. They’ve stretched and etched the twinkling start of the song with violin additions leading to a split second pause when everybody’s heartbeat stopped, before resuscitating with that first intense drum hit. Spotlights ablaze and the long-awaited Icelanders were revealed in silhouettes.
Silhouettes of them combined with those of the dozens of equipments crammed on that stage - Belvoir should consider upgrading the stage size - called for some squinting in the dark. It didn’t help that they had tungsten light bulbs perched on poles scattered amidst them, movements on stage were pretty restricted. But the show was a visual spectacle nonetheless, thanks to the giant LED screen in the back, of which, visuals were carefully choreographed for each song, complimenting the light effects and smoke. All that thought put into this coordination of visual movements on screen with the fading in and out of the light bulbs, and the movements of smoke in the air, compensated the ensemble’s rigidity. And to feel moved by these was surreal.
I can imagine what a bad day that would’ve been for the soundman to manage the several sounds on stage. With each sound taking turns as the main character for respective songs, I gladly pardoned the feedbacks - Jonsi probably didn’t, because I could sense the frustration from miles away.
When it finally came to playing tracks from Valtari, there were no improvisations there. They performed the songs as close as they were recorded so it was a direct shoving of the record onto the live stage, using the same visuals they’ve uploaded on Youtube. Still a beautiful experience though, because listening to ambient and post-rock in a surround setting will always make you feel like you’re floating, unless it sounds really bad, but that won’t be Sigur Ros.
Thank you thank you thank you for not abandoning Perth, it was such a beautiful show I almost cried. This is probably the best show I’ve been to for 2012.