I popped on down to the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday night to see Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner perform their show devoted to the solar system PLANETARIUM. The show was part of the VIVID Festival currently playing in Sydney.
It was an interesting affair to say the least. The show was split into 2 parts. The first part involved Orava String Quartet performing a number of songs including some Sufjan Stevens compositions.Unfortunately I found this section rather boring and I did nod off for a while. I didn't come to hear a quartet, I came to see INDIE GOD Sufjan and his mates. After the interval the show really took off as Sufjan, Nico and Bryce hit the stage. For a concept show it really worked. It may have more to do with Sufjan's beautiful voice. He has a tone which is tender and sweet. Sufjan introduced each song and gave us titbits about each planet. In some parts it felt more like a science lesson and he joked that there would be a pop quiz at the end of the show. Sufjan used a vocoder to sing some of the songs (possibly all of them) and at one point I thought he was sounding like Cher. The Encore was the Judy Garland song OVER THE RAINBOW which he dedicated to Australia saying: “I always thought this song was about outer space. But after this week I think it’s actually about Australia." I think because of the nature of the show, Nico and Sufjan focussed alot of their energy on the technicalities of getting the sounds and effects right.Bryce, on guitar seemed to be on easy street.The show has so far played London, Eindhoven and now Sydney. It was an enjoyable show but I would suggest one for the fans only or if the Solar System 'is your thing'.