Sufjan Stevens, with Helado Negro
Venue: The Paramount, Seattle, WA
Dates: June 10-11, 2015
I was first introduced to Sufjan Stevens back in 2005 when I received a promo copy of a CD called ‘This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles Rubber Soul’. On this album, Stevens rearranged and reconstructed the song “What Goes On”. It was elaborate and surreal. I was instantly hooked. I went on the search for more music and found that Stevens had released an album called ‘Come On, Feel The Illinoise!’
This album was a beautiful mix of songs that described the people and places of Illinois in a unique way. The musical arrangements of Stevens were something that was new and refreshing. And the songs themselves were extraordinary, storytelling at its finest. Over the years, Stevens has put out a wide variety of musical adventures, from orchestral ‘The BQE’ to a box set of Christmas Music that is simply beautiful.
So here we are, ten years later, and Sufjan Stevens is on tour in support of his current album ‘Carrie & Lowell’. In his performance this evening, Stevens performed this album in its entirety. It is an album of songs and music reflecting the artists’ relationship with his mother who passed away in 2012. It is a collection of songs that pull you in many directions. The music moved you, the singing was angelic, and it was truly magical.
As I sat and listened, taking it all in, I thought how Sufjan Stevens has matured as a musician and storyteller. His songs are truly the most interesting lyrics of anyone in the current music stratosphere. After performing the music of ‘Carrie & Lowell’, Stevens thanked the sold-out audience for helping him grieve in this way. He was truly sharing this moment with us all and it was amazing.
Opening the evening was Helado Negro who played a quirky and entertaining mix of electro-pop rock that set the tone for a wonderful evening of music. With flashing lights and metallic “Cousin Itt” dancers, his performance was whimsical.
View the setlist HERE
Check out more great concert photography at Peter Dervin’s website HERE