Friday, September 16, 2005
Sufjan Stevens live

The band
Originally uploaded by PedroBlanco.
Drove up to Southgate House last night with Jackie, Alex, Krista and new friend Andy to see Sufjan Stevens. I haven't been this excited for a concert since... since... I don't know if I've ever looked forward to a concert quite like this.

Laura Veirs and the Tortured Souls opened, and at times she makes me think of Lori Schaeffer of Waterdeep and other times like Aimee Mann with enough synth to remind me of John Vanderslice. Catchy, but not memorable to me. It's a speed bump on the way to the evening's attraction.

To say Sufjan Stevens is a concert experience like no other fails to do it justice. I thought about writing about the cheerleading uniforms the 7-piece band wore. I thought about writing about the musical virtuosity of Stevens who would seamlessly go from acoustic guitar to Rhodes piano to banjo. I thought about writing about the funky rendition of "They are Night Zombies" or the stripped down version of "Chicago," the somber "Casimir Pulaski Day" or the joyous "Jacksonville". I thought about the Broadway musical production feel of it all. Or that this was a band having the time of their lives and we had to join along. Or just of the plain ol' electric eccentricity of the whole thing.

But it all paled in comparison to the encore. Stevens returned by himself to the stage wearing a Laura Veirs t-shirt, acoustic guitar in hand. As he plucked the strings and breathed out the ballad "To Be Alone with You", the crowd was absolutely silent. It was an emotional suckerpunch. All the cartoonish levity and pep rally nostalgia evaporated in an instant. It brought the evening to a rousing climax of pathos. It was a jaw-droppingly stunning closure to the set.

Do yourself a favor and see Sufjan. Joe was also there and gives his thoughts. Andy provides his perspective also.

posted by Peter at 12:27 AM
| | permalink |