The Tallest Man on Earth at Orpheum Theatre

Wednesday 02nd, September 2015 / 18:04
By Safiya Hopfe
Tallest Man on Earth by Safiya Hopfe

The Tallest Man on Earth at Orpheum Theatre.
Photo: Safiya Hopfe

August 22, 2015

VANCOUVER — Though there may appear to be a hint of irony in the stage name “The Tallest Man on Earth” when eyeing his stature, Kristian Matsson is far from small — at least when he’s holding a guitar. Within moments of following the lights onto the stage, he was in movement. When he wasn’t bantering with audience members, he was jumping, turning, and kicking. Each sonorous folk ballad boasted lyrical eloquence and instrumental perfection with as much personalized intensity as the tall-hearted man could muster. The roof of the Orpheum may be high, but the Tallest Man on Earth succeeded in reaching even the pillars most distant from the stage on which he was making himself at home.

In few instances does stillness in a crowd indicate the concert of a lifetime. This Saturday evening was more than an exception — the impulse of those mesmerized by Kristian’s textured poetry was not so much to dance as it was to absorb the passing moments as completely as possible, an effort encapsulated by such things as total silence during pauses between verses; the audience’s emotions were reflected almost like a mirror by the face of the man himself. Guitar intricacies and bittersweet rhymes drew the seated audience quietly to the edge of their chairs in the impeccable execution of sonnets like “A Lion’s Heart” and “Love Is All,” while slightly more uptempo odes to wanderlust and the gears of time like “The Wild Hunt” and “Dark Bird is Home” stirred feet to tap in sync with a sea of swaying heads too hypnotized to stand up.

By the closing numbers, many had remembered their feet, however; hands locked and legs fumbled rhythmically to the well-loved song “The Dreamer,” and the sudden intensity of the encore vibrated throughout the building like thunder. By the end, not a soul was left sitting, and there was not a face with lips turned downward.

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