If you missed Andrew Bird's sublime shows at Riverside Church Monday and Tuesday nights, don't say we didn't warn you. For the first time, the multi-talented songwriter and musician brought his seasonal "Gezelligheid" concert to NYC, performing two luxuriant sets in one of the most spectacular cathedrals in town. Named after a Dutch word loosely translating to "convivial," the Gezelligheid shows mark a slight departure from Bird's typical full-band performances. "There are different expectations at a rock show," Bird told the congregation last night. "This is an opportunity for me to stretch out and play music the room wants to hear." Indeed, the room lapped it up:

"Hole In The Ocean Floor"

Bird was solo for about half the night, but the expansive waves of music he emitted were the opposite of spare. For the uninitiated, Bird's a master of looping different instrumental phrases live and layering them in real time to create the illusion of congeries of Andrew Birds all playing at once. At Riverside Church, this sophisticated approach reached its apotheosis with the help of some 30 vintage-looking Victrola-shaped speakers—24 small ones, four gigantic ones, and two spinning Janus horn speakers. The effect was spellbinding. Bird's soulful arrangements filled the cavernous church with a vibrational force that brought more than one person in the audience to tears, and kept the awe-struck crowd entirely in his thrall. Yeah, we got a little misty. You wouldn't get it if you weren't there.

"Danse Caribe"

For the second set, Bird—always a little uneasy with the intensity of his own creations—brought the room down a bit with the help of Alan Hampton (the bassist from his touring band) and Tift Merritt, performing a mix of traditionals and original compositions into a single old-timey microphone. It was a pleasant and refreshing departure from what preceded it, but we were glad when Bird returned to his loops to close out the night with another rhapsodic tidal wave of ecstasy. If you get the chance to experience this for yourself next year, don't miss it. And don't worry, we'll remind you.

"Plasticities"