WASHINGTON, DC: Sufjan Stevens performs at DAR Constitution Hall. May 5, 2015. ? Brandon Wu / for the Washington City Paper.

Sign up for our free newsletter

On previous tours, Sufjan Stevens has had a busy stage presentation, from the cheerleaders of his early years to the chaotic psychedelia of the Age of Adz tour. This time around, he’s opted for a more understated, calming presence, with simple spotlights and color washes and a neatly geometric background display. The music fits the presentation: The slow, thoughtful folk of his latest album, Carrie & Lowell, wouldn’t make much sense with a bombastic stage show. This is really where Stevens is at his best—stripped down, simple, heartfelt.

It helped that opener Moses Sumney was a pleasant surprise, garnering an amazingly enthusiastic response from those who showed up early to witness his loop-pedal-driven vocal performance. One of his comments (“This is such a weird venue—I feel like I’m about to announce that I’m running for president”) was also a big hit.

See more photos in the full slideshow.