All photos by Joy Asico (firstname.lastname@example.org / www.asicophoto.com)
It wasn’t even December yet and Christmas was already here. Only a few days after Thanksgiving, Sufjan Stevens embraced the festive spirit and on his current tour dubbed “SurfJohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice.”
With a line that stretched around the block to enter the 9:30 Club, the sold out show had an overly packed house even before the opening act came on. The crowd was ready for some holiday singing and many were dressed in Santa and elf outfits.
The stage was already set up for Sufjan Stevens and crew during Sheila Saputo’s (aka Rosie Thomas) comedic standup. Minutes later and Sufjan stepped onto the state to start his Christmas concert. Sufjan came on playing songs from his newest Christmas album, Silver and Gold: Songs for Christmas, Volumes 6-10. He sang his own holiday originals like “Ding-a-ling-a-ring-a-ling” and “Christmas in My Room.” He continued to talk to the crowd and asked whether they were ready to get sick and tired of singing the old holiday classics. But these classics were revamped to Stevens’ own versions and the end result was delightfully charming.
The giant wheel of Christmas Songs (aka Wheel! Of! Christmas!) in the background was a huge indication that there will indeed be some crowd participation. Everyone was super pumped for some holiday cheer. The moment finally arrived when the wheel marker landed on the first holiday song to sing along. “I’ll be Home for Christmas” echoed through the audience as they swayed Stevens’ version of the classic. The wheel was spun again and next up was “Silent Night”. “Now turn your missile books to page…” Sufjan jokingly said to the crowd as they looked down at their complimentary “XMess Sing-A-Long” handout that attendants received when they entered the building.
All the songs on the ‘Wheel! Of! Christmas!’ eventually had a turn for the audience to sing-along but the final song was a Stevens’ original and a show stopper. “Christmas Unicorn” grabbed hold of everyone as lights, bubbles and streamers blanketed the stage and spilled over to the crowd. As an added bonus, inflatable unicorns were thrown to the audience which caused a frenzy. Everyone wanted a chance to catch the pink or blue mystical creatures.
The concert was a special treat for Sufjan Stevens’ fans since he rarely goes on tour. But to have the opportunity to witness both Sufjan and Christmas together is the best present ever.