Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sufjan Stevens at Prospect Park Celebrate Brooklyn! 8/2/2011

Am I being a snob by making the statement that Sufjan Stevens's Age of Adz show at Prospect Park on Tuesday was less than stellar?

Let me be clear: I am a Sufjan fan. And although Age of Adz is a complete departure from his previous albums, I enjoyed his exploration into auto-tuned electronics. Additionally, I think Sufjan himself did an excellent job. He was energetic and devoted to the material. He explained the Royal Robertson/inner body/outer space inspiration behind Age of Adz and won the Brooklyn crowd over by reminiscing about riding his bike through Prospect Park and attending Celebrate Brooklyn! shows himself. He was brilliant, especially in the moments when he would slow things down and perform a quiet song by himself (side note: a plane would indefinitely fly overhead very loudly every time this happened) but the whole idea of Age of Adz is to be out of body, experiencing an electronic mind trip with the musicians and your audience peers all at the same time.

That was the problem. The rest of the people on stage (excluding Sufjan, his dancers, his backup singers, and the guy on his left playing keyboards) were virtually motionless. It was difficult to get involved and excited when it didn't seem like anyone else was. A lot of the audience came decked out in neon clothing and face paint (two things I am a huge fan of by the way), ready to participate in the party. But it seemed like we weren't invited. Sure there were impressive light shows/lasers for us to ogle at and various amazing costume changes, but those can only do so much. I feel like we craved more of a human connection; we wanted to lose ourselves in the music and the mood, but we weren't afforded that opportunity because the people we were looking to for guidance weren't losing themselves either. They just kind of stood there.

Luckily this was not the case for the entire show. When the band released about a hundred clear beach balls into the crowd halfway into the epic "Impossible Soul" the performer/audience barrier was broken and we were finally part of the inner circle. As the songs says, "We can do much more together," and this was certainly the case. Once we were involved, the feeling was incredible. I finally had that summer concert euphoria I was expecting to have from the very first strum of Sufjan's banjo. Unfortunately, this was the last song.

I'm usually against encores, but one was needed here. Please Sufjan, now that you have my attention, let this feeling carry on for a few more songs. The encore was 3 songs long. We all sang "Casimir Pulaski Day" together and Sufjan closed out the night was the can't-go-wrong "Chicago." I left happy.

So yes, there were moments of brilliance. And a few of them could not have been pulled off by anyone by Sufjan himself. But this isn't the latest Brooklyn buzz band we are talking about here. This is SUFJAN STEVENS. I expected about 100% epicness and I only got about 40%. I do think I know who I want to be for Halloween though.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for the review. i went in with little expectations, so i enjoyed it more (smile). here are more photos: