The Icelandic band's first show in almost four years was a gift for their fans, even if it was not the full ensemble or the magnificent catharsis we held out for.
Sigur Rós's first show in four years was the first at Philadelphia's new Skyline Stage at the Mann Center in Fairmount Park. It went on without their multi-instrumentalist, Kjartan "Kjarri" Sveinsson who has not left the band but is still on hiatus from touring. The band still sold out nearly every show on this tour. Instead of Sveinsson, two other musicians filled in to support the band as well as a string and horn section tucked away in the back near projection screens with often grainy ambient footage, at times interspersed with nature elements or footage from cameras strategically placed on stage.
As the band opened with "Ekki Múkk" and "Varúð" both from their newest album, Valtari. But it wasn't until the heavy hitters from Agætis Byrjun and Takk greeted the captive audiences' ears did the momentum pick up. "Ný Batterí" was excellent to hear live but I was most thrilled when, almost forty minutes in, "Sæglópur" left me awestruck. It didn't stop there as the melancholic "Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása" also had me captivated -- much of the audience stood their ground as they watched the band and any fear of rain subsided. The somber tune was not one I was expecting, but it was placed before the exuberant "Hoppípolla". The band's set approached two hours with their encore and its final epic song "Popplagið".
Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása