The single most beautiful thing I have ever borne witness to was a Sigur Ros concert in Seattle back in May 2006. There’s a point in one of their songs, entitled viðrar vel til loftárása, where the lead singer, Jónsi, pauses mid-lyric, holding his breath, as the audience waits with a sense of rapt attention that I only wish I could hold over you, my gentle reader.
You can get a sense of the sheer beauty of this moment through a stream of an Icelandic show from 2005, which has been handily archived for your viewing pleasure. Watch the whole thing, or scrub forward to 1:11:30.
Someone far more poetic than I could ever hope to be described this moment thusly:
[T]he climax of the concert occurred in “viðrar vel til loftárása”. i have already mentioned the long silence before the line “við riðum heimsendi”. though this was particularly sweet, nothing could have prepared me for the flood of emotions that came upon hearing jónsi singing the line “the best thing god has created is a new day”. in one instant all the memories of my life appeared to me, just as is said to happen when we die. i saw a white light which was not of this world…[and] a tear fell down my right cheek and i had to tighten the grip on my significant other, sitting to my right. The person sitting to my left ran off shortly after this song and didn’t come back. i imagine the song touched him so deeply that he realized he had made a mistake and decided to run down the stairs, into the embrace of his loved one. just like in the movies. except it’s real.
The best thing God has created is a new day. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindi, Shinto, Agnostic, or what have you; there is still something deeply moving in these words.