Where: The Tabernacle- Atlanta, GA
When: November 6, 2010
Let me first say, in the very likely case that you only read this first sentence, that this was my favorite concert experience to date. I have been accused in the past of maybe overselling music and artists, but let me assure you, there’s no amount of selling I could do that would even marginally describe this concert.
Being a fan of Mr. Stevens, I blindly enjoyed The Age of Adz because I thought it was interesting and different. And the fact that we got the bonus EP All Delighted People not a month earlier made this a more or less Sufjan Stevens-themed Fall for me.
But it wasn’t until I saw Sufjan’s live show that I truly understood either album. I accepted long ago that there will be aspects of Sufjan Stevens’ music that I would just never get and that was okay because what I did understand was so wonderful.
Before seeing the show, I hadn’t made a very conscious effort to even try and understand The Age of Adz because it’s definitely one of his more difficult albums, which says a lot. Instead, I opted to enjoy his melodies, which he seems to be a master of.
But hearing his explanations for songs and seeing the AMAZING visual elements he incorporated into the show really provided that (as Oprah would say) A-Ha moment for me.
He did a lot of dancing and a lot of talking during the almost 2 hour show. He and his back-up singers/dancers did several costume changes in full view of the audience, which provided some really funny moments. And the costumes were in keeping with the Intergalactic theme of the night. Think shoulder pads and glow sticks…
The sound and sound mixing for this show was simply breathtaking. And while it was loud and blanketed the entire building, it never felt abrasive. Sufjan’s mic was set a little louder than all the other instruments so his voice was crystal clear over all of the beats and unusual sounds that characterize most of The Age of Adz.
He opened the show with the very soft “Seven Swan” and closed with the crowd favorite “Chicago,” but everything in between was new material. Even the 24+ minute masterpiece “Impossible Soul” was played, much to my delight. S.S. used the encore to play old familiars like “Jacksonville” and “Casimir Pulaski Day,” and the crowd wasn’t angry about that.
Here’s the setlist:
- Seven Swans
- Age of Adz
- Too Much
- I Walked
- Futile Devices
- Now That I’m Older
- Get Real Get Right
- Enchanting Ghost
- Impossible Soul
- Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois
- Casimir Pulaski Day
The feeling I walked away with, a feeling of pure what-the-heck-just-happened, was what makes this my favorite concert to date. The crowd sat in silence most of the show, in what I can only describe as pure awe.
Sufjan Stevens is an incredibly odd man with an incredibly brilliant and weird and funny mind. During those couple of hours, we got a sneak peek into that mind and his world and it was like nothing I’ve ever seen or experienced before.
I was in the nosebleed section because the show was sold out, but I managed to get some video footage. Here are a couple of songs from the show. To see the rest of the video, check out my YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/CharlotteBeth84
Get Real Get Right