Concert Knowledge: 8 things I learned at Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas Show

I don’t know if the higher-ups at Blog have noticed, but I try to sneak a Sufjan Stevens song into every single post I can. He’s my everything. Conveniently, my sister Elizabeth is more smitten just as smitten as I am. (Admittedly, she’s been to five of his shows and I’ve only been to three.) Still, we learned a lot more about Soofie this last Wednesday at Fete in Olneyville when we attended his aptly named: “The Sirfjam Stephanapolous Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Spectacular Music Pageant Variety Show Disaster.” Some lessons from the holiday hodgepodge after the break.

1. Sufjan Stevens’ parents could have been humanities majors at Brown.

According to the story of “The Worst Christmas Ever,” Sufjan’s parents would be right at home in an MCM class.

  • Carols were considered “oppressive imperialist propaganda.”
  • Any songs sung for Christmas had to be in the universal language of Esperanto.
  • The shape of the Christmas tree represented some kind of “corporate, capitalist pyramid scheme” and, according to Sufjan’s mother, was “patriarchal and phallic.”

2. Sufjan’s friends call him “Suf” for short.

(Excuse me while I weep with cuteness.)

3. He doesn’t like “whammies.”

Suf would play a couple songs and then someone from the crowd would be invited to spin the “WHEEL. OF. CHRISTMAS!”  Whatever carol it landed on the crowd would sing in unison, but Sufjan was insistent that no “whammies” be selected. The jury is out on the exact definition.

4. Sheila Saputo (aka Rosie Thomas) deserves her own TV show.

Listen to the ridiculous stand-up she performed before the show here.

Then check out a video of this beautiful, beautiful woman:

5. Sufjan likes a lot of honey in his tea.

My totally not creepy friend discovered this when he “stole the cup, tea bag still in it, from the stage and drank it in the hope of inbibing some of the divine. It may or may not have worked.”

6. Santa (special guest!) can shred a mean guitar solo.

Not to mention the musical prowess of Super Chicken McNugget on guitar (and sometimes violin and beat machine), Zombie Nun on violin, and Skeletron on drums.

7. This is what a Christmas Unicorn looks like.

8. Fire alarms, unfortunately, detect fires.

Thus, confetti shot offstage by said Christmas Unicorn can light on fire when stage lights directly shine on it, setting off alarms and canceling concerts before encores. This is exactly what happened. (And he was going to play the hits from the album “Illinois” like Casmir Pulaski Day and Concerning the UFO Sighting and Chicago!)

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays y’all!

Listen to more live recordings of the concert here.

Lesson ideas sourced from Elizabeth Goodspeed ’16, Bennett Ferris ’13, John Qua ’13, Remy Robert ’13, Gopika Krishna ’13, and Gabe Schwartz ’13. Recordings by me / Photographs by Elizabeth Goodspeed ’16.

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