Sufjan Stevens Blows… Everyone’s Mind – Review from the Orpheum Oct 28th 2010

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Alright maybe the title of this review is a bit cheesy but after doing a quick Twitter search after the concert last night it was evident that Vancouver was in agreement, Sufjan Stevens had blown everyone’s mind at the Orpheum Theatre Thursday night.

Some Tweets After the Show:

@kristenboxx – Sufjan Stevens. So good. I peed my panties just a lot
@oneseeproject – In an elated post-Sufjan Stevens State
@cheetahchomps – Just came home from Sufjan Stevens at the Orpheum. Mind = Blown
@Kylajonas – Sufjan Stevens, you are the perfect man.
@akidinvancouver – Sufjan Stevens: you just blew my mind in the best and most neon-infused/unexpected way.

Sufjan Stevens explained early on in his quiet demeanour to the crowd at the Orpheum he’d be playing some songs about love, heart ache, despair and the apocalypse…and much to everyone’s delight he not only did that but did it in great fashion. Sporting shiny parachute pants that would make MC Hammer jealous Sufjan came on stage with a bundle of get ups, a tambourine and his banjo ready to play. Starting the night off with the earliest material he’d play all night the song “Seven Swans” from the 2004 album of the same title. In any other artist’s catalogue of music this song would easily be the set closer but Sufjan Stevens was just getting warmed up at this point. Then came the slew of new material that Vancouver would be graced to hear through out the night, normally an artist who plays 90% of new material on a tour long over due and not releasing a full length album in almost 6 years well…it NORMALLY wouldn’t go over well. For Sufjan Stevens I don’t think anyone would’ve had it any other way, the first song from the album “Age of Adz” was too much good…and by that I mean it was the song “Too Much” an electronic dancy song accompanied by a fantastic backdrop of visuals featuring Sufjan and others almost break dancing through moving pictures. Sufjan was fairly talkative in between songs, giving some insight as to where the inspiration for his new album came from and why he’d chosen to take a complete 180 and ditch the story telling song writing style he’s known for and release two albums of songs about love and heart break. The other album Sufjan drew from through out the night was the EP released a month before his full length titled “All Delighted People” Vancity Buzz did a raving review about that EP when it was released and Stevens did it more than justice playing songs like “Heirloom” & “Enchanting Ghost” and taking these self described slower jams and captivating the crowd and sounding absolutely perfect while doing so.

The highlight of the night most would agree easily had to be the last song on Sufjan’s newest record, the 25 minute “Impossible Soul”, to go through in detail of what this song encompassed would be a task I am not up for but to sum it up; the entire band played out the whole 25 minute epic and featured choreographed back up dancers/singers, wicked guitar licks, 80’s style get ups, auto-tune, a Michael Jackson-esque silver glove on Sufjan’s hand while he busted out some intense dance moves and during the song when he sang “It’s a long life, only one last change, couldn’t get much better, do you wanna dance?” the answer was YES, the aisles of the Orpheum turned in to a giant dance party, on and off stage nobody was having a bad time (I think I even saw a cranky usher grooving). To finally end the song is the beautiful ballad with just some acoustic guitar and Sufjan Stevens singing along to sad lyrics about the mess him and a former lover had made for one another.

When Sufjan and company finally caught their breath and you didn’t think he could go on anymore he busted out the most popular song in his arsenal the now legendary indie rock tune “Chicago” which had everyone singing along and swaying together as Sufjan once again sounding un-phased by his 25 minute dance party sang “If I was crying in the van with my friend, it was for freedom. From myself and from the land, I’ve mad a lot of mistakes”. Sufjan left the stage only to receive one of the loudest and longest encore requests I’ve ever witnessed in my history of attending concerts, Sufjan by himself ran back on stage to take over the keys on his piano and perform “Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois” the opening track on his groundbreaking record “Come on, Feel the Illinoise!” The rest of the band then accompanied Stevens for the final song of the evening and after introducing his colleagues and thanking Vancouver again they played “Jacksonville” and were sent off in to the night with a roaring applause of folks much like myself who will not soon forget this concert. Sufjan Stevens, thank you and feel free to come back any time.

As a note, I need to commend the Vancouver crowd who I think was one of the best “behaved” crowds I’ve ever been apart of, during the softest of moments, no one would talk or yell out something stupid and when someone did yell out “we love your dance moves” Sufjan seemed almost embarrassed but appreciative. Great night all around!

Setlist:
Seven Swans
Too Much
Age of Adz
Heirloom
I Walked
Futile Devices
Vesuvius
Now That I’m Older
Get Real, Get Right
Enchanting Ghost
Impossible Soul
Chicago

Encore:
Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois
Jacksonville

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