Photos by Colin McLaughlin
[I]n these last days before we all laugh at how the world didn’t end, it helps to have a place you can go that helps you to see there is also a lighter side to popular enthusiasm. Talking about Christmas songs, and the warm feelings that they bring to the unScrooge-like among us. Enter the patron saint of (experimental) indie folk, Sufjan Stevens who gives more to the altar of holiday cheer than most small townships and who decided that this was the year to take his new 5 CD holiday set “Silver and Gold” out on the road in the form of a Christmas sing-a-long show.
Dubbed “Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice” because he’s earned the right to name things that, the show is one big present to his fans. They showed up in droves dressed to the X-mess nines in reindeer hats, Santa outfits, and even long johns (it was RAINING outside!), ready to sing some standards Sufjan had laid out in the songbook pamphlets you received at the door. The keeper of these numbers was the giant “Wheel of Christmas” (think: Wheel…of…Fortune!), which was spun by both audience and band members alike. You could feel how happy people were there. Not just to sing these songs, or even to come together like a community to honor a holiday that makes most people go back and forth between “It’s stressful” and “It’s the best,” but simply to watch Sufjan (and his always excellent band) do what they do. That sound? It’s like “Age of Adz” meets “Michigan,” but with more Jesus and reindeer.
The “Silver and Gold” songs were the best, in part because they featured Rosie Thomas basically doing stand-up jokes over the lyrics. She is worth price of admission all by herself, as is “Christmas Unicorn” which is this tour’s “Impossible Soul.” During that performance I summed up most of my outwardly flowing joy with a tweet: “A Christmas unicorn singing “Love Will Tear Us Apart” over and over again surrounded by swirling confetti. Need I say more?”
I don’t think I do and Sufjan never disappoints. See this show at all costs.
Have a look at some pictures from Sufjan Steven’s set at the Aladdin Theater down below. He went for it.