…is kind of bewildering. It features almost entirely material from the new album, which is fine except for the fact that the new stuff is so different from the old and is a bit jarring by comparison. It features bizarre backup dancers (which I understand may or may not be anything new for Stevens’ stage show). It features Stevens himself doing these weird robotic white-boy dance moves. At first, the crowd laughed and hooted and hollered a bit. Then, he kept doing it and it became less and less clear how seriously we were supposed to take this stuff. It just kind of got a bit strange and uncomfortable and distracting.
Musically, I thought the show was kind of a mixed bag too. Some of the new songs have these pretty great buildups, creating lots of tension before exploding into joyous noise. Live, they just seemed cacophonous and a bit unfocused. Also, Stevens has started using the upper register of his non-falsetto voice a lot more, and it’s not really a part of his voice that I enjoy all that much. I love his lower, softer range; I don’t love this new reliance on his upper range.
The light for the show, at least for Stevens himself, was decent; there was a white spotlight that focused on him occasionally. Aside from those moments, it was all about deep color washes; lots of yellows and magentas. The stage show features a mesh screen that gets periodically lowered in front of the band to allow projections to show up not just on the screen behind them, but also in front of them. This is a pretty cool effect, although one that’s not really photographable except from a vantage point further back in the venue. Up close, the mesh screen just obscures all the band members and makes getting good shots pretty much impossible. The screen was down for maybe the equivalent of one full song out the first three, so this isn’t a negligible consideration.
I didn’t really get too many photos of Stevens dancing for some reason. I was kind of zeroed in on getting one or two great shots of him singing; I ignored trying to get shots of the larger stage show or the other band members (who were playing in darkness almost the whole time anyway). I guess I got that from shooting for a daily where one great shot of the bandleader is really all that you’re looking for, and the rest is just bonus.
I more or less got what I want, but a gazillion photos of Stevens singing and playing guitar does not an interesting photoset make, so I’ve just posted a few over at Flickr.