Sufjan Stevens Brings Sentimentality and “Hotline Bling” to First Miami Show

On Nov. 7, fans saw acclaimed singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Sufjan Stevens, grace the stage of the Olympia Theater at his first performance in Miami.

Known for albums such as Michigan, Illinois, and The Age of Adz, Stevens has garnered critical praise and a cult following. His style ranges from delicate and whispery acoustic numbers to more eclectic electronic experiments. Stevens has a talent for sharing his deepest thoughts and vulnerabilities through song.

His latest album, Carrie and Lowell, was released in March and is his most personal record to date. It was heavily inspired by the death of his mother, Carrie, and Stevens’ memories of visiting Carrie’s husband, Lowell, in Oregon throughout his childhood.

The show was opened by enigmatic R&B singer Gallant, whose vivid and animated nature clashed with Stevens’ more mellow and introspective style. Once Stevens came on stage, the crowd was instantly captivated.

The majority of songs played were from Carrie and Lowell. However, many of them were not played as they are arranged on the record. Some songs, such as “All of Me Wants All of You,” were given a new electronic version instead of the intimate acoustic one from the album.

Toward the end of the show, Stevens addressed his audience, thanking them for their support and positive energy. He mentioned his struggle with performing each night, when each show feels like a funeral since he’s singing about death.

Despite the heavier underlying themes behind some of his music, there is an overall sense of bittersweet beauty to each song he sings.

To lighten up the mood, Stevens decided to play at least one upbeat song, even if it was not his.

Joined by opener Gallant, he finished the show with a cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” which was accompanied by a slideshow of the rapper in the background.
This was one of the last dates of his tour, which ended Nov. 13 in Cincinnati. For upcoming events at the Olympia Theater, check olympiatheater.org

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