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Sufjan in New York City

- Hye Sung

Since I was twelve years old, I had the dream of seeing Sufjan Stevens in concert. When middle school drama became overwhelming, I would turn to the comfort of Sufjan Steven’s piercing voice and intense musical skill. I would consider Sufjan one of my closest friends.

For those of you who do not know Sufjan, he is a multi-instrumental musician that plays breath-taking ballads on his banjo and makes all sorts of folks convulse in joy with his synthesizer. He announced his tour in the summer and tickets for the show in New York City went on sale soon after. The tickets sold out within 15 minutes. My friend Lauren was able to purchase tickets and graciously offered me one.

Before the show, I spent my day roaming around the city. Lauren and I did some oddball sightseeing. We went to church in the morning– since it was Sunday– at Times Square Church on Broadway. We also got some Pinkberry, a Teen Travel Talk favorite, and we both enjoyed Pinkberry frozen yogurt with strawberries and mochi pieces. Later on, we walked toward the venue, which was at the Beacon Theatre in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. On the way, we stopped by the Mormon temple, marveled a bit, and then went to Trader Joe’s and enjoyed a feast of organic foods. We got some stuff to munch on pre-concert, and then we made a stop at Urban Outfitters where we bought nothing but spent some time lusting after clothes.

And then we waited for Sufjan. We waited outside of the Beacon Theatre for about an hour. We spent time munching on some Japanese snacks we bought at Trader Joe’s. When we got inside, we were pleased to see that the venue was beautiful and the people who worked there were honestly nice.

The opening act was DM Stith, whose performance almost made me cry. He played a few songs but it was the perfect way to open up for Sufjan. I imagine the pressure of opening up for Sufjan, the biggest name in the Indie Folk scene, and I can honestly say he did a job well done.

And Sufjan! Oh my, I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing his performance was. It was basically life-changing and I know that I will never forget it. In years to come, I will remember November 15th clearly and my eyes will probably water as the fond memories spring up and warm my heart. He played most of the songs of his new album, Age of Adz, and was not shy at all–he danced, he talked to the audience, and he had such a warm yet silly presence. Every action of Sufjan’s seems to be so genius and so genuine. He played some songs off Seven Swans, Michigan, and his Illinois albums.

Ah, a day I will never forget.

What is your most memorable concert?

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