It took me two years to hear it. I was walking through a courtyard on the campus of the University of Colorado when suddenly the most beautiful music came through my headphones. It was Fall 2001. My friend had lent me this CD of this band from Iceland that I couldn’t pronounce. The only comment he had was that this was the music you will hear when you go to Heaven. Who was this band, Sugar Rose?
In 1999, Sigur Rós released Ágætis byrjun, and blew minds everywhere. The music was like nothing I’d ever heard before. Unexplainable. I’ll try- It was spacey, ethereal, heavier than hell, and sung in a kind of high-pitched nonsense. I honestly thought the lead singer was an actual orca until I saw them live.
Half-expecting to see a large aquarium on stage, I did just that. My friends and I went to see Sigur Rós at the Ogden Theatre in Denver on November 16th, 2002. On the way there, we discussed how everyone said the band was incredible live. Rumors were swirling that people were passing out from the beauty and power of it all. The light show. The incredible sound. The music. The orca. I thought that was the lamest thing I’d ever heard. People passing out at a show because of ambiance? Come on people. Don’t be so dramatic.
I wish I could tell you that it was me that passed out because of the majesty of Sigur Rós. But in fact it was one of my friends. And he passed out during the opener. One minute we’re all standing there watching this guy on acoustic guitar, and the next, my buddy is on the ground. But the fact remains, people pass out at Sigur Rós shows.
In the past 10 years I’ve seen Sigur Rós a bunch more times. They always blow my mind. There is not a more powerful band in the world. So here’s to you, Ágætis byrjun, for being 10 years old. And here’s to me, for being an old fart.