sufjan stevens in concert

The second post on this website, back in July 2005, was about Sufjan Stevens. I’ve been a pretty huge fan ever since that time, but I’ve never yet made it to one of his shows. Couldn’t make the 9:30 Club in DC a few years ago because of the week combined with it being at least 1.5 hours away. Couldn’t make it to see one of the BQE performances because, well, they were exclusively in Brooklyn. Last night I finally made it, though, and caught Mr. Stevens at The National Theater right here in Richmond, VA.

This was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. Each musician was spot on, from the wonderful backup singers to the double drummers, and of course Sufjan himself. The visuals projected on screen reinforced the mood of many songs, and the sound was mixed quite well. It was still a proper loud show in a concert hall, but I could actually hear each instrument and singer clearly and distinctly. The whole set – including a several song encore – lasted around 2.5 glorious hours.

Most exciting, however, was how this show reshaped my appreciation of The Age of Adz as an album. I have to admit that, while I certainly enjoyed some tracks before the show, I was a little let down by Sufjan’s latest effort. I’m not sure if it’s because of the seemingly heightened sonic bombast or something else, but it was a slight step below The BQE on my ranking of Stevens’ work. This concert, somehow, shifted my opinion. Perhaps it’s my fond impression of the live performances, or maybe it’s the way these touring arrangements seemed to have highlighted what made these songs good to begin with.

Whatever the case, I listened to a few tracks on Adz this morning with renewed ears. I sure hope Sufjan comes through Richmond again in the future, too. I’ll be there.

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