Sufjan Stevens is back in the country at the moment doing a few performances in promotion of his new album Carrie & Lowell, and I am so glad I got to see him again.
I want to start by saying; if you’ve never seen Sufjan Stevens live before, do yourself a massive favour and catch him next time he’s in your vicinity – you will never regret it
Unfortunately we arrived a little bit late and missed Ngaiire‘s set completely (sorry Ngaiire), but some of the friends I spoke to afterwards said she put on a really great show and her voice sounded amazing.
As we were settling into our seats, I was watching the stage being set up with enough instruments to suit an orchestra; there were two sets of keys, a piano, a drum kit, a rack of percussion and an assortment of stringed instruments including a banjo, a ukulele, an electric guitar, and a variety of different acoustic guitars. Turns out this was all for just 5 people, and I’m pretty sure they all touched every single piece by the end of the night.
No matter how many times I’ve seen Sufjan Stevens live (let’s say that’s maybe 5 or 6-ish), he still manages to make every performance unique, interesting, and wonderful. From his incredibly sweet voice to his weird & wonky dances moves, and his interesting little stories. It all adds so much to what you take away from a Sufjan Stevens show.
They played out the entire Carrie & Lowell catalogue without really saying much at all, which I think is to not ruin the moment as we are taken on a journey into his childhood, and he performs those songs with a deep emotion that is felt in almost every word. There isn’t a single peep coming from anyone in the audience, and it is so hard not to get a little choked up sometimes – goosebumps are just a constant companion
After the Carrie & Lowell tracks are done, Sufjan comes out of his shell a little bit, tells us a story about Prince, makes a few jokes and raises the mood of the entire room. He and is four band-mates begin to play some of the golden-oldies we all love so much, and he jokes saying “now for some happier songs…well actually I think all of my songs are about death, but these ones are just happier songs about death”.
The night ends on a massive high as he asks the crowd to join in on a sing-a-long and everyone leaves with a smile on their face from ear-to-ear.
One of Sufjan Stevens’ classic albums, Come on Feel the Illinois, had its 10th anniversary in 2015, and in celebration of that, the album is getting a special anniversary reissue which comes with a 12″ in the shape of a star – featuring this previously unreleased demo of ‘Chicago’:
The 10th anniversary edition of Come on Feel the Illinois will be released on April 1st – pre-order it now from Asthmatic Kitty