Sufjan Stevens, Nashville, TN September 24, 2005 Mercy Lounge
I don’t mean to go on a rant or anything but, the evening started out as a bust. As we pulled up to the Mercy Lounge, I thought we had arrived at Bonnaroo. Doors were supposed to open at 8:00, and we arrived at 9:00. In a sea of indie haircuts and tight vintage shirts, a line existed literally about 700 yards long. I could not believe it. I also noticed a many Michigan and Illinois T’shirts. I went and asked the security guard who told me there was only two people checking ID’s. Anyway, we stood in line for about 45 minutes and did not really move. I decided something had to be done. So, I conveniently eased into the front of the line like I knew what I was doing. Then, I proceeded to get on the phone and act like I was giving directions so my five other companions who were “on their way to the venue.” 30 minutes later we entered the venue. However, there was only one person checking ID’s for a venue that holds over 1000. As we entered Wally World, excuse me Mercy Lounge, we find the place about a quarter full. PS it is about 10:30 at this point. Then, we skipped merrily up to the bar only to find that they could not sell alcohol for lack of security guards (shocker). However, we were informed that we could go upstairs and drink but could not bring them downstairs. We proceeded upstairs and pounded shots of tequila and whiskey. I eased downstairs and found that the problem was a tranny (no kidding a man dressed like a woman) was the ABC officer who was in charge of this debacle. Anyway, they finally figured out the deal, and they could serve. The venue is nice but has many pylons throughout the place that obstruct your view. The place is also very level so Napoleonic people are very discriminated against. This is just my opinion I could be wrong. Enough pessimism. On to Sufjan. Sufjan came out dressed in stars and stripes with a Cubs hat, and his band had pom-poms and headbands dressed to a T as cheerleaders. Wow, an eight piece band full of guitars, women, drums, a trumpet, a banjo, and a xylophone. He really put on a show. He began the concert with his 50 states song which can be heard at INSERT HERE. Then, he went into Illinoise full force. Songs ranged from Decatur, Come and Feel the Illinoise, Chicago, Casimir Pulaski Day, Jacksonville, Man of Steel, ETC ETC. He did not play UFO or John Wayne Gacy, Jr, but oh well it was amazing. One funny part of the night was someone who kept yelling Lord God Bird (the song he did for NPR) and some guy yelled out, “Way to Be That Guy!” Everyone got a good laugh. Other highlights of the night was Sufjan doing a cheer before each song. They all would do a cheer about the particular song. Sufjan could barely keep a straight face while doing them. All in all it was an amazing show. I would highly recommend anyone seeing him. He truly made it sound like the album with all the instruments and voices. I never thought he could pull it off.