Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sufjan Stevens / My Brightest Diamond - Live at the Wiltern

No stylistic summary to start off the review. The concert was the shit, so just read it and deal with my bird puns.
I'm sorry that came off mean. Here: I really like Sufjan and MBD and they both perfrmed immacuately. Please read below...

My Brightest Diamond
I really never would have guessed that Shara Worden was such a showman (showwoman?). Bearing a red velvet dress and high heels, I simply assumed that she would sit motionless at her piano and project her mysterious sound. Thus, it took me by suprise when Ms. Worden, rocked back and forth on her heels, annunciating her stimulating guitar riffs with extravagant two-steps. Unlike the bouncy butterfly she would later be in Suf's butterfly birgade, Worden owned every squaure inch of the stage with a commanding presence and didn't leave a single crevice of the Wiltern distanced from her voice. This all culminated near the end of the set during her charged chords at the 2:10 minute of "Golden Star." The moment proved to be an emphatic close to the show; even more so than the heavily touted and aptly named "Something of an End" (which was still good!). My Brightest Diamond was a wonderful precurssor for Sufjan and she definitely should not be dubbed as just an opening act.

-mp3- My Brightest Diamond - Golden Star

Sufjan Stevens
I had previously seen Sufjan Stevens a few months back at the Sasquatch Music Festival. It was somewhat like the reminents of his Illionois tour, and like the other ones, there were cheers, horns, and the rest of the works. I'm not saying I was dissatisfied; I mean it was my first time seeing my favorite artist. But something was missing in his short performance at the open-aired Gorge Ampitheatre in Washington. Ok, I'm losing you, I know. Here's what I'm trying to say: Sufjan's new tour is a complete reflection of his masterful recorded work that I believe his previous tours didn't due justice.

Last night at The Wiltern, the master snowbird and his butterfly birgade took the sold-out audiance on a soaring trip through new and old material; resulting in sights and sounds that are uncomparable in my mind to any other concert experience I've ever had. Sufjan, although still quite, showed more poise and confidence between songs than the previous time I saw him - offering up witty banter that smoothly transitioned the audiance from the likes of the Detroit skyline to the loneliness of the Great Lakes.

Sufjan's eleven piece orchestra seemed to nestle itself perfectly on stage: adding that extra oomf when needed, and hiding in the wings(I'm done with the bird puns I promise) when Suf slowed down. I don't think one person would argue that the night's brightest momement occurred smack dab in the middle of the set with the 10 minute-plus epic and new piece "Majesty Snowbird." Whether or not you've already heard the track via the blogosphere, this piece really needs to be heard live. Sufjan owns the song, orchestrating the entire thing, all while his attention seems entirely focused on the piano. With a new Christmas song and some more Illinois hits (see below) Sufjan slowly descended his flight (I lied) until leaving stage. Although it must of been known the flock (I really lied) would return to the stage, the Wiltern audiance remained on their feet, cheering for what seemed like minutes on minutes. Upon return, Suf delievered a Seven Swans centered two-piece encore, that dripped of nostalgia and bitter sweetness. The last notes of "The Dress Looks Nice On You" seemed more like a cliffhanger than a closing however; everyone wanted more, but Sufjan was done.

I don't know what to say really, as far as on a critical level - except that Sufjan, in my mind. is now not only an icnredible singer/songerwriter, but also a blossoming performer. It is not an easy task to orchestrate such a spectacle, all while incorporating some some of his most complex and innovative work to date (see mp3's below) - yet he does it. And with seemingly compete ease to boot. I'm not sure where Sufjan's recorded work is going to go from here, but if this tour is any reflection of what is to come, Suf fans are in for a treat.

-mp3- Sufjan Stevens - Majesty Snowbird (Live)
-mp3- Sufjan Stevens - Sister (Live)

The Transfiguration
The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts
He Woke Me Up Again
Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head! (Rebuild! Restore! Reconsider!)
The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us
John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Majesty Snowbird
Casimir Pulaski Day
That Was The Worst Xmas Ever
The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders: The Great Frontier/Come to Me Only
To Be Alone With You
The Dress Looks Nice On You

- Sorry for so few pics and their quality. It's the best I could do. We were in the balcony!
- Ahh, other mp3's to come when EZArchive starts to work again. Sorry x 2.


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