Soon after we got engaged, Becky and I decided that we would be married on September 17th, 2005. We liked the idea of a fall wedding, but we also recognized that we officially started dating on September 15th, 2001, and that it would be fun to get married so close to that date. As we were making plans for the wedding and honeymoon in New Zealand, I heard that Sigur Ros was coming to Minneapolis to play their first show in Minnesota in years the week after our wedding. Their new album was scheduled for release on September 12th and this was one of their first stops on a US tour in support of that album. Now, I’d already sold Becky on the idea of waiting to leave on our honeymoon until after the Sufjan Stevens concert on the 18th, but I wasn’t going to be able to stay in town until the Wednesday Sigur Ros concert. I figured that this may be the last time they play locally for another few years and that made me sad I was missing it. Incredibly, Sigur Ros were back in Minneapolis the following spring for another show! This time I was not going to miss it. In fact, I was able to score advance tickets through the band’s pre-sale and Becky and I were in the third row for their show at the Orpheum Theater.
Takk… was the band’s first album since ( ) in 2003. Unlike their previous album, the bulk of Takk… is sung in Icelandic and not in their “Hopelandic” vocal style. Sigur Ros’ popularity had grown so much in the three years between albums that this album debuted on the US charts at #27, not bad for a band that had never sung a single song in English. This album really solidified their position as one of the most popular post-rock bands in the world. Their otherworldly, atmospheric sound was so unique that it really couldn’t be copied. Even so, Takk… represented a leap forward for the band. Their song “Hoppipolla” became an international hit and was featured as background music in television programs and commercials.
I had heard great reviews of Sigur Ros’ live show, but I still didn’t know if they could really capture the energy and beauty of their studio compositions on stage. From the opening chords of their first song, I was sold The band’s sound translates incredibly well to the stage and they utilized lights and screens to great effect. I was also pleasantly surprised by the supporting band: Amiina. Amiina is the string quartet that accompanies Sigur Ros on many of their albums and on tour. The band opened the show on their own and revealed that they are a very talented band in their own right. Playing everything from saws to bells, the four women of Amiina set the stage perfectly for the headliners. I have since seen Amiina headline a show of their own at the Varsity Theater and they are exceptional.
I wasn’t too sad to have to miss Sigur Ros’ first concert so I could run around the south island of New Zealand with my new bride, but was a stroke of good fortune that they made a return trip to Minneapolis so soon. After seeing firsthand what kind of talent Sigur Ros wielded on stage, I became an even bigger fan. I also discovered another little Icelandic band that possessed loads of talent. It reminded me that great bands gain fans through their live shows and mediocre bands lose fans the same way. I’ve been to a number of concerts of bands I genuinely like on recordings only to find that their live show reveals many flaws and causes me to lose some interest. Sigur Ros proved that they are more than just musicians, they are artists and performers. The songs are bigger and better when you see them as well as hear them and that is an extreme rarity in the music world today.