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In keeping with the spirit of song lyrics, there are a few from possibly the most haunting, touching song about a serial killer ever. Sure they may be grammatically odd, but in the context of the song they leave you stunned. And on Wednesday night I heard Sufjan Stevens play “John Wayne Gacy Jr” and it was even more devastating live than I could have imagined.

That was just one amazing highlight from a truly amazing gig. Nothing can match Pixies last year (and ever will I am guessing), but it was probably the most giddy and floored I have felt after a show in quite a while.

The Forum was the perfect place for the Sufjan Stevens show. 10 on stage, including a 5 piece brass section and My Brightest Diamond and St. Vincent flip-flopping between guitar, bass, and keyboard. Yes, there were costumes. And yes, there were hula hoops at one point. But it was the furthest from pretentious you could imagine.

From the get go, the band sounded great and Sufjan’s relatively low key voice was spot on (helps being in front of the mixing desk). They then went on to play 2 hours of gold alternating between the joyous and the mesmerising. In fact, if I had to write the setlist then it would have been pretty darn close. He kicked off with Sister from Seven Swans, moved through some Michigan and more Seven Swans tracks then went head on into about the first 6 or so tracks from Illinois. They were what I wanted, so boy was I happy. Throw in a few stories, some more Illinois, new track Majesty Songbird, a snippet of BQE, and an encore of Chicago and it was perfect.

Sorry if this sounds a bit too gushing (re-reading it, it certainly does) but I was spellbound. I expected a cool gig, if maybe a little too wacky, but what I got was simply an awesome gig. So much so I wondered if I could somehow get a ticket to the next night, but then thought why mess with perfect?

… muttler (who is hoping he gets to repeat the same kind of review after Bjork in Sydney next week)

Sufjan Stevens
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