Jonsi @ Luglio Suona Bene – Cavea Auditorium
aaamusic | On 03, Aug 2010
Rome, 21st July
Jonsi’s live is a 360 degrees experience, which leaves the audience in a state of beautiful trance.
It’s a show studied in every single detail, starting from scenography that is s a hybrid between a theatrical set with physical structures inspired by a famous shop which burnt down, and virtual content projected across the stage. Designer Leo Warner explains the tour is all about creating a visual environment in which “the world of the music can exist” and come to life. Set design is enriched by a precise use of lights; they are melted with music following the beating of drums or a piano crescendo, flash while the rest of the scene is dark. Musicians are enlightened by soft orange lights while Jonsi is illuminated by a single spotlight that highlights his white, tattered, feathered jacket.
His set is very dynamic, musicians are polystrumentist so there’s a lot of movement on the stage, they change instruments going from piano, to organ, to glockenspiel or they disappear completely like they are dancing. To note drummer’s bravura, he beats on his drums with a great energy keeping and changing tempo like a machine, stunning.
Jonsi’s voice is one of the best elements of the whole performance, his breathtaking falsetto brings you in another world where there are only harmony and peace, and it’s like an ancient draw.
The gig kicks off with Stars in still water, introduced by soft guitar notes; the audience is wrapped in darkness, cradled by the vocals of this sweet lullaby.
The first part of setlist includes the most intimate tunes, Iccicle Sleeves and Kolnidur contribute in creating an Icelanding atmosphere, supported by visual graphics depicting a solitary wolf in a forest, howls and a deer running through the trees. They are very evocative, especially when the drummer is left alone in the darkness beating on pedal, illuminated only by a flash in sync with every beat.
An animated storm brews, triggered by a three-man glockenspiel solo in the atmospheric Tornado. Arctic blue light glows across the stage as cymbals clash in sync with flashes of artificial lightning. With Jónsi at keys, the snow storm takes full effect as icy wind rips apart bleak trees and houses to the tune of Sinking Friendships.
This part of the show includes the most joyful songs, Animal Arithmetic carries the audience away, like the thousands spiders that run on the screen, Rain washes away the scene, flooding the background with video of real water before evaporating into a back-to-back, upbeat frenzy of Go Do and Boy Lilikoi. Vibrant red and yellow blooming plants grow across the screens, revealing spring life with hummingbirds and floating feathers dancing to chimes and percussion.
New Piano Song is amazing; the band is clustered around Jonsi, piano and glockenspiel give a particular tension to the tune.
Jónsi still stays to keys on Around Us, accompanied by an aura of twinkling fireflies. Midway through, he trades piano for centre stage, closing his eyes as he grasps the mic. Crouching down in a wavering trance, Jónsi screams into a climatic hysteria of glitch and distortion — the first and only time throughout the show that noise transcends his voice. As the lights die and stage empties, Jónsi returns wearing a wild feather headdress for a final two-song encore. On Stick and Stones Jonsi dances like a shaman in a state of trance, people accompany the tune clapping hands while clouds start to morph into an icy backdrop of snow flakes, bringing the performance full circle with the last notes of Grow Till Tall. People are still, some with tears running down their cheeks, others still staring in amazement at the five musicians while they clasp hands and take a bow.
Author: Roberta Capuano
Photos: Luigi Orru