Sunday, December 9, 2012

Decking The Halls With Sufjan

the Surfjam Estabanopolis Christmas Spectacular Seasonal Affective Disorder Sing-Along Sensation Pageant On Ice
04 DECEMBER, 2012
Having developed a Christmas catalogue that would be the envy of most artists full output, Sufjan Stevens has taken it on the road this year, for what is billed as: "The Surfjam Estabanopolis Spectacular Seasonal Affective Disorder Sing-Along Sensation Pageant On Ice".  And did it ever live up to the name.  The stage was set with a giant Wheel Of Christmas, that provided the grist for the sing-along portion of the evening.  All delighted ticketholders were given a songbook at the entrance, and directed to sing boldly.  The crowd held up their end, attire-wise and vocally, and it turned out to be a very memorable evening.

 Stevens kept the spectacle level high, working the first half of the show from what is now 10 volumes of Xmas music, opening with "Christmas Woman" from this year's outpouring Silver and Gold, (volumes 6-10 for those keeping track at home).  After a few songs, he broke it up with what he referred to as a palate cleanser, a stark acoustic reading of "Vito's Ordination Song" off of the Greetings From Michigan LP.  Note the difference in crowd noise in the videos below, from the boisterous welcome of "Christmas Woman" to the quiet reverence during "Vito", where you can literally hear a crowded theater sucking in it's breath.  It was quite a scene.

 The spinning of the Wheel Of Christmas throughout kept the audience on their toes, and they gamely measured up to the challenge.  He got a huge response for one of his older Xmas favorites, "Come On! Let's Boogey To The Elf Dance!", and culminated the regular set with "Christmas Unicorn".  As is his custom, he rewarded the faithful with an old school encore, this one taken from tracks off of C'mon, Feel The Illinoise.  Sufjan Stevens managed the trick of capturing all the emotions, good and bad, of the holiday season, and turning it into something not to dread as much.  A one-of-a-kind show from a one-of-a-kind artist.

Opening act: Sheila Saputo

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