Text: Sarah Fluit
Translation: Laura Rosierse
Photos: Melanie Marsman
More than 10 years after his last show in Amsterdam, Bon Iver finally returned to Amsterdam for a show at the Ziggo Dome. The massive concert hall quickly filled up with a diverse audience of young and old fans. This didn’t come as a surprise as Bon Iver has been building an empire of hits over the course of his musical career. He has worked together with Taylor Swift and Kanye West, to name a few, he released his GRAMMY-nominated album ‘I,I’ in 2019 and many of his fans have had to wait all this time to finally hear this majestic album live in its full glory.
The evening starts with a completely stripped back version of the beautiful ’22 (OVER S ∞∞ N)’, which is filled with vocal synths that makes the song whole again. Bon Iver manages to get the room completely silent with this rendition of the single. Soon an impressive light show starts, a spectacle of about 25 mirrors, the mirrors move up and down creating an impressive reflective effect. Everyone around us is completely stunned. The evening continues, after about seven songs we hear and see Justin Vernon perform the beautiful ‘715-CREEKS’ completely solo, with only a spotlight on himself he manages to silence the entire Ziggo Dome. It feels intimate and the way he manages to convey this feeling is impressive and powerful. We aren’t the only ones that feel the power of the song, and around us we spot many a teardrop rolling down a cheek.
Hits like ‘Perth’, ‘Blood Bank’, ‘re:stacks’, ‘Skinny Love’, ‘33 “GOD”’ and ‘Holocene’ are also on the set list. The beautiful sounds of ‘Perth’ are enchanting, the audience falls silent again and there is a kind of magic that stuns us collectively. After a somewhat quieter start, the heavens open themselves up. We hear the first chords of ‘Skinny Love’, Vernon plays this tearjerker on his guitar, along with his two drummers. The audience naturally sings along to the mega-hit and once again we see some tears falling in the audience, but that comes as no surprise. ‘Skinny Love’ has since grown (through for example Birdy’s stunning cover of the song) into one of the greatest love songs of our time.
As good as this show is, there isn’t much interaction with the audience. Each band member almost drowns in the amount of equipment that surrounds them on stage. A ‘thank you’ is only mentioned a few times and Vernon moves minimally, he himself looks like he just came out of the jungle with an unshaven beard and a t-shirt that doesn’t seem to have been washed. But the magic of the band and their show makes up for it. It is impressive how Bon Iver can silence a room such as the Ziggo Dome.