(Sorry for the delay in getting this out -- the holidays and all that jazz.)
I had been feeling a slight malaise about the upcoming Christmas holiday. I had yet to pick up gifts for anyone on my list (and boy, do I hate shopping), and visiting with family generally stresses me out. Bestest Boy was working late on his movie, so I had to psych myself up for seeing Sufjan Stevens' "Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice" by lonesome. Anyway, I think I wore him off Sufjan with all the holiday music play in the car, so perhaps it's best he didn't accompany me.
I got to the venue just before doors and managed to secure a spot front and center about two deep from the stage, which was COVERED with the tackiest and most colorful decorations. There was a big spinning wheel on the side of the floor with about dozen holiday songs. The floor filled rather quickly, and excitement was in the air.
(More words and pics after the jump.)
To warm up the crowd, Rosie Thomas' alter-ego, Sheila Saputo, came out with her comedic routine, much like the last time I saw her at Southpaw over five years ago. She made us quite giggly, but eager for Sufjan & Co. to hit the stage.
The full band (including Rosie,who underwent a costume change) finally came out just before 10pm and played for about 2-1/2 hours. The set consisted of a great blend of holiday hits that we all knew and were encouraged to sing along to, as well as some original Christmas songs. Even while singing the most delicious and solemn harmonies, the band seemed very goofy and loose, and full of Christmas cheer. Lots of confetti, balloons, and inflatable Santas and fell upon us as we all serenaded each other like a bunch of grinning idiots.
The main set ended with the most anticipated track -- the 12-1/2 minute "Christmas Unicorn," which made for a truly triumphant climax. Inflatable unicorns flew around everywhere! If you were feeling like a Christmas grump like I was beforehand, this song would have surely cured your ills!
After a short encore, Sufjan returned for a few solo acoustic fan favorites followed by ones with the full band. I was beyond elated to hear "John Wayne Gacy, Jr.," "Come On! Feel the Illinoise!," and the closing "Chicago."
Look at what followed me home! :)