Video of Sufjan doing the song, “Christmas Unicorn” on this tour (but in another city). This was the climax of the show. Very interesting, witty and poignant lyrics.
I thought I would share about our experience in one of the most interesting and best concert experiences in my life. Going to see Sufjan in concert was a dream come true for me. The tickets were limited to 2 per person and will-call only, which avoided the whole scalper thing and they were sold-out quickly. I found out about the concert and got Nicole to get online right when they went for sale to get 2 for us. Even though our anniversary is in October, we made this concert outing as our anniversary date for the year (last Saturday). One negative of this concert venue is that its standing room only, which is not only hard physically, but also hard to see over other peoples’ heads. On the positive side, Nicole and I enjoyed cuddling together, leaning against the side wall in the balcony, while enjoying the music for this very memorable anniversary date. 🙂
You probably can’t tell the best from my pictures, but interesting costumes on the stage, very colorful, funny, strange and fun! They also had this “Wheel of Christmas” that you can see in the pictures. He would say, “It’s now time to spin the WHEEL OF CHRISTMAS” (as in the Wheel of Fortune gameshow) and then get someone to spin and then we would do a sing-a-long of whatever song it fell on – very fun!
If you’re unfamiliar with Sufjan, I would label him as a folk-indie artist, although pretty eclectic musically using orchestral-type pieces and arrangements but also using techno synthesizer on some pieces as well as often strumming the banjo in songs. On his website, it says, “Sufjan Stevens mixes autobiography, religious fantasy, and regional history to create folk songs of grand proportions.” We were first introduced to Sufjan’s music through Nicole’s brother Dave – thanks Dave! 🙂 Many Christians have embraced his music because he has a lot of Christian-inspired themes in his music. Sufjan had a Christian upbringing and attended a Christian college (Hope College in Michigan). One of the interesting things he did, was that he started a 50 States project where he said he was going to do an album for each of the 50 states. He completed two: Greetings from Michigan and Come on Feel the Illinoise, the later of which is often considered his best album.
Very interesting article here on the Chicago Tribune site that gives an excellent review of the show: Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas revelry turns poignant. We actually missed the encore as we left early, so really sad to hear that Sufjan did the songs “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.,” back-to-back with “Chicago” – two amazing songs, the later of which is probably his most known song. Probably the most moving and interesting part of the show for me though, was when Sufjan sang 2 versus of the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (example of his recorded version here). It was done either completely or nearly a cappella. It certainly didn’t feel like a Christian atmosphere in the room, but it seemed like almost everyone in the room was singing and most with no song sheets – it was amazing and moving (sad he didn’t sing my favorite 3rd verse though).
Sufjan records a few Christmas songs every year for family and friends and sometimes has had them for free downloads online. I have the first 42-song boxed-set of volumes 1-5. He just came out with a 58-song set of new Christmas songs, Silver & Gold, volumes 6-11, I believe. You can get a free 12-song sample of those songs here: http://noisetrade.com/sufjanstevens
Sufjan’s music for me is amazing: musically, lyrically, creatively, worshipfully. I worship my creator in his songs, even when they do not have overtly Christian lyrics because of the creative art that Sufjan participates in, both lyrically and musically. There is joy that wells in me in his music for this worship experience and I feel more connected to God while enjoying his music. And to be able to enjoy Sufjan live and be in this worshipful presence with God, while also in the embrace with my most favorite person in the world and my lover, was amazing – thanks darling!
Here are a few of my favorite Sufjan songs:
Lord God Bird (click song title for free download)
Casimir Pulaski Day
Come On! Feel the Illinoise!
The Dress Looks Nice on You
Anyhow, would love to hear any comments, thoughts, favorite Sufjan songs or responses – so please comment.