The Entertainment Shack

Sufjan Stevens at The Majestic in Madison, WI

Posted by Erik W on Sep 29, 2009 7:09 PM

Sufjan Stevens

Last night I had the privilege of seeing Sufjan Stevens at a sold out concert of 600 people at The Majestic in Madison, WI. I knew it was going to be a great show the moment he stepped on stage in a blue "WISCONSIN" t-shirt, camouflage hat, and said: "Sup 'yall, I'm Suff-jan Stevens", making fun of a common mispronunciation of his name, and went right into playing my favorite song, Seven Swans.

The concert was a mix of both some favorites ("Seven Swans, "Casimir Pulaski Day", "John Wayne Gacy", "Jacksonville", "Chicago", "To Be Alone With You", "Upper Peninsula", "Dress Looks Nice on You" and "Transfiguration" ... I think he played all of these .. it was a long concert), and some new songs.. having being away from the Internet for a few days, were completely unexpected (but in a good way).

And let me clarify-- by 'New', I don't mean songs from his upcoming albums "The BQE" and "Run Rabbit Run". But completely new songs for an unknown upcoming album. He explained how this concert was a "workshop", where he wanted to test some new songs and get some feedback (which happened to be a thunder of applause each time).

These new songs included "Impossible Souls" (his response to everyone that complained he's never written a love song), "Age of Adz", "There's Too Much Love" and some older but not-yet-recorded songs like "Majesty Snowbird" and "All Delighted People" (which left him exhausted). I linked the three new-new songs to some YouTube videos I found of him singing the songs at another concert in this tour. If the videos get taken down: The songs were quite long (around the 10 minute mark), and were a bit of a mix between The Avalanche and Enjoy Your Rabbit... more complex and experimental (glitch-ey). I would have liked to hear more acoustic songs like from Seven Swans, but as mentioned before, he's still refining/experimenting... so it will be quite the mystery on how the songs turn out.

I was also pleasantly surprised how intimate the concert was. Granted, I was about 10 feet away.. but he was very personable. I honestly thought he might be uptight-- running through his set then leaving the stage-- but it was quite the opposite. Starting with the "Sup 'yall" comment at the beginning, Sufjan always had something funny and humorous to say between all the songs. He apologized for surprising us all his new songs (although he definitely didn't need to!), and joked, "Well that completely ruined the mood" after an equipment glitch stopped a song half through.

I've been wanting to see Sufjan live for quite some time, and this 2-hour concert was very fulfilling, and arguably the best concert I've ever been to. Make sure to check him out the next time he tours around (because this tour is completely sold out)!

listed in: madison, music, sufjan stevens

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