09 March 2016

Sufjan Stevens, Civic March 08



I love Sufjan Stevens. It's been... five years since I saw him live. That was an AMAZING show. One of my favourite gigs ever.

His new album, Carrie & Lowell, is quite different to The Age of Adz. Based on the album, I expected an equally different show; a much quieter, melancholy one. One about life and death (mainly death).

Sufjan's music always feels personal; musical storytelling. Imbued with history, religion, mythology, you name it. There is an extremely personal reason for Carrie & Lowell: the death of his mother.

The songs mean even more when you learn this album's story. Carrie, Sufjan's mother, was married to Lowell for a short five years. He spent three summers in Oregon with them, between the ages of five and eight. Carrie had abandoned him when he was one - she suffered from depression, schizophrenia, and alcoholism.

"With this record, I needed to extract myself out of this environment of make-believe," he says, pulling at his sneaker’s red tongue. “It's something that was necessary for me to do in the wake of my mother's death—to pursue a sense of peace and serenity in spite of suffering. It's not really trying to say anything new, or prove anything, or innovate. It feels artless, which is a good thing. This is not my art project; this is my life."

Read this interview with Sufjan on Pitchfork (it's great).

Last night's show at the Civic was ridiculously good! Sufjan interpreted his songs in new ways - adding dance tracks, floor-thrumming bass, and amazing crescendos. Four multi-talented musicians (Dawn Landes was fantastic)  accompanied him on stage, along with a choreographed light show and videos from his childhood.

We got two hours of music, a mini-lecture (famous French Essayist anyone?), and a little banter. It was a 10/10 show.

I was a good girl and didn't take any photos...


(from instagram hellotanya)



(from instagram henryhosford)



(from instagram brycereimann)


Setlist:
01. Redford (For Yia-Yia and Pappou)
02. Death With Dignity
03. Should Have Known Better
04. All of Me Wants All of You
05. Drawn to the Blood
06. Eugene
07. Fourth of July
08. The Only Thing
09. Carrie & Lowell
10. John My Beloved
11. No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross
12. Vesuvius
13. Futile Devices
14. Blue Bucket of Gold

Encore:
15. A Good Man Is Hard to Find
16. To Be Alone With You
17. Casimir Pulaski Day
18. Chicago (Acoustic)

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