The first time I saw Sufjan Stevens he played in a church in Madison, Wisconsin. Despite the church’s every nook and cranny being crammed with the hundreds of bodies in attendance, you could hear a pin drop. At the end of the show, we were rewarded with Sufjan’s revision of the National Anthem. It gets a little political towards the end. We Madisonians were a little weepy.
A couple of years later, I saw him perform in San Francisco, and I wanted to hear him play the song again. So I passed a note to the stage requesting it on behalf of his Madison fans. He read the note and played the song.
All of that is to say, if you don’t know it already, his latest album, The Age of Adz, is streaming this week on NPR’s First Listen, and so far, I give it a wow.
Below is Sufjan singing his revisionist national anthem in San Francisco. I can’t remember if this is the show I attended, but I like to think it is.