Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Or, procrastinating?

Last night at the Sufjan Stevens concert, I persisted in believing that I would get up so early! this morning to read midterms. Also, I believed somehow that we might be home at around 10:30 p.m., from a concert that began at 8.

On the way home from the concert:
Me: I think it's hilarious how, after all this time, I still chronically underestimate how much time things actually take.

The historian: Like what?

Me: Like, I thought we might get home from the concert by about 10:30.

Historian: (snickers)
An actual snicker, the people.

Anyway, the Sufjan Stevens concert was amazing. Epic. I wouldn't say that SS's every aesthetic decision was perfect. But I would say that I felt at almost every turn that I was witnessing an artist--not "artist" the way people talk about a pop star as "the artist," but "artist" as in, a person who's making art. The whole thing was immersive--textured and layered with sound, visuals, movement, joy. I could discern antecedents (the Talking Heads of the Stop Making Sense era) and peers (the chameleonic, ever-inventive Beck), but no exact equivalents, and it really was pretty intense--revelatory--to be there.

I also loved that pretty much the whole show was new music, and most of it from the more bracing The Age of Adz rather than the prettier All Delighted People EP--bold, not at all ingratiating. I had previous listened to this music, or at least some of it--it was kind of great to experience it, really, for something like the first time in this way. The music that wasn't from The Age of Adz--"Seven Swans" from Seven Swans, and a four-song set from Illinois ("Chicago," "Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois," "Decatur," and "John Wayne Gacy, Jr.") that concluded the show were a kind of gift--but I felt that the new material really put these songs in a bigger picture--they're great songs, without doubt, but they're not the best SS will ever do.

Well! having thus discharged my responsibility with regard to the review of the concert, and having confessed how yet again I have lied to myself about getting up early, the duration of things, and how much I will realistically accomplish on any given morning, I must do something: read some midterms? grade some online discussions? record a video response to a class discussion? go home and nurse this little cold that is now stalking me? Who can say?


  1. Excellent review, and you forgot to mention that tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow is the day we will all catch up. Tomorrow is the day for getting things done. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

  2. I agree about him being an artist in the broadest and best sense of the word. I felt like a lot of the show was conceptual. I didn't always enjoy it however. It was so loud! And he has such a great voice, and it was sometimes lost.
    But the end was beautiful.

  3. It is posts like these that convict me in my inner tribunal - so many things I do not know and do not know how to know.



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