Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Bright Eyes concert review--one of the best shows ever

Even in the last row of the Orpheum's balcony, hundreds of feet away and above Conor Oberst's head, I still felt like he was singing to me and just a few friends. With his lyrical gifts (especially evident on I'm Wide Awake It's Morning), and the intimate soundscape of "Wide Awake" he was able to overcome incomplete soundcheck, blech acoustics and even a drunk jackass fan (also in the ass of the theatre with me and my friend, dave) to give one of the best shows I've ever seen. [i've seen about 31 shows, give or take.]

The musical highlights of the show were:

Landlocked Blues, now my fave song off of Wide Awake. With all of his songs, and especially this and When the President..., Oberst is able to make is seem as though this is the last song he might ever perform. He gives so much of himself to each song. Yet, ironically, between songs he's funny and almost sheepish looking. The only thing missing live was Emmylou Harris.

Lua, which felt even more visceral in a live performance. This was one where he played solo with an acoustic guitar and the band left the stage.

Road to Joy. They ended with Road to Joy. This was very plugged in and devolved into a wall of sound that still maintained the melodic theme of the song. By this time the crowd was going insane, as much as possible for being seated. As an old guy, I liked the sitting, I must confess. One really cool thing that came through more live was the trumpet on this and several other songs. It was like when I saw Rachael Yamagata and the cello came through more.

Ultimate Highlight: When the President Talks to God. My friend Dave got up to go the bathroom and suddenly the band leaves. Then Oberst says: "This song is dedicated to our Arrogant, ignorant and mostly incompetent President." the crowd went ballistic. Then he proceeded to diatribe against the hypocritical devourer of freedom. It was amazing, and fortunately Dave had returned to his seat before the song started. When he heard the word "arrogant" he knew what song it was.

Glitches: the first song, We are nowhere and it's now, was a mess. It was like they didn't do the soundcheck. There was feedback everywhere and the lyrics were largely unintelligible. There were two times during the show when Oberst and the drummer seemed to be fighting each other on the beat. It was minute and most people I don't think heard it, but it was there. each time for about a five seconds. Last glitch, drunk dude. He would yell and scream between songs and a little during them. Fortunately he left like halfway through the show.

Bottom line the show was most amazing. He did everything on Wide Awake, at least I think he did. I wish he had done at least a few from Digital Ash, but not luck. Apparently he is going to do that at Coachella.

btw, sorry this review is kinda shitty. just not feeling the writing groove right now.

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