Review/Photos: Sufjan Stevens at Palace Theatre (4/17/15)

  Sufjan Stevens’s show at the Palace Theatre last Friday was breathtaking, devastating, brutally intimate and cathartic. Carrie and Lowell, his album-length tribute to his late mother, was performed in its entirety, already a classic in the eyes of his audience. Some of the songs remained faithful to their recorded versions, some (“No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross”) somehow managed to be even more desolate, others (“All Of Me Wants All Of You”) were transformed entirely. Backed by a quartet of multi instrumentalists (including Brooklyn-songwriter Dawn Landes), Stevens breathed new life and insight into his most personal work yet. Throughout the night, flawlessly executed light and video design only added to the performance. The group took the stage to the rising tide of “Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou”) before launching into the new material. He didn’t say a word to us for the first half of the night, tenderly and methodically working through the new record roughly in order, occasionally choking up on some of the lines. “Fourth of July” was riveting, the disruptive seismic drone from the studio version moved to the forefront. All Delighted People’s “The Owl & the Tanager” was adopted into the album sequence before he broke the spell and told an amusing story of his childhood understanding of death (and how his college job in a waste treatment facility helped him reconcile...

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