Sufjan Stevens performed his unique take on “The Star-Spangled Banner” with the Patti Smith Band at the Tibet House’s 30th annual benefit concert on March 16.
“My prayer is that we begin to move our hearts, our minds, our bodies in the direction of love, wisdom, and common sense,” he said. before launching into the song. “Until then, we’d like to sing a theme song for this present darkness.”
Stevens hoped that his discordant and re-worked version of the national anthem would serve as a theme song for this tumultous time in American history. Stevens first released a recorded version of his take on “The Star-Spangled Banner” back in 2012 but given the current political climate — and the spread of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrantsentiment — the lyrics are seemingly even more apt today.
“And the man on the cross, and the cross on our hearts,” his version goes, “Has it done nothing more, than to drive us apart?”
While only the beginning of Stevens live version exists on the internet, check out the full recorded version above. And then watch Stevens join Iggy Pop and Patti Smith later on in the benefit concert for a hopeful and joyous rendition “People Have The Power” below: