Conor Oberst 6/6/15

(a) setlist

    1. Time Forgot
    2. Hundreds of Ways
    3. Zigzagging Towards the Light
    4. Classic Cars (Bright Eyes cover)
    5. We Are Nowhere and It’s Now (Bright Eyes cover)
    6. Enola Gay
    7. Double Life
    8. Danny Callahan
    9. No One Would Riot For Less (Bright Eyes cover)
    10. Governor’s Ball
    11. If The Brakeman Turns My Way (Bright Eyes cover)
    12. Shell Games (Bright Eyes cover)
    13. Another Travelin’ Song (Bright Eyes cover)
    14. Laura Laurent (Bright Eyes cover)
    15. Ladder Song (Bright Eyes cover)

Encore:

  1. Lover I Don’t Have to Love (Bright Eyes cover)
  2. Lua (Bright Eyes cover)
  3. I Don’t Want to Die (In the Hospital)

(b) highlights

  • seeing Conor for the first time after being a Bright Eyes fan since high school!
  • “Classic Cars”!! Omg!!
  • “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” = the O.G. angst ballad, so good
  • the entire performance being much more positive, less sad, and more energetic than I always imagined a Bright Eyes/Conor show being
  • realizing that Conor is kinda dorky and down-to-earth and not the tortured soul everyone thinks he is – that makes me happy

(c) lowlights

  • the crowd was legit the W.O.R.S.T. – so rude, so obnoxious, so Brooklyn
  • I try to avoid the Music Hall of Williamsburg when I can – always a bad crowd and, ironically, the venue feels so unsuited for live music; there’s so much dead space and acoustic holes

(d) overall thoughts

I first discovered Bright Eyes in high school, which is like saying “I learned to walk when I was a toddler.” I had a bit of a Bright Eyes phase and I stand by it – my favorite album of theirs to this day is probably 2007’s Cassadaga, which honestly has such lively and beautiful songs on it that feel both unlike the moody Bright Eyes everyone knows but still very reminiscent of all Conor Oberst’s work. I was beyond thrilled when he played not only so many Bright Eyes songs, but tracks specifically from that album. “Classic Cars” is my favorite from Cassadaga and I remember screaming when he started playing it – god, what an incredible feeling it is to hear that one song you’ve always loved but never thought you’d hear.

This show was a Governor’s Ball After Hours special, so the set was definitely geared to a New York crowd and people didn’t get a chance to make the festival. Unfortunately, because it was so late, more than half the crowd was super drunk, so obnoxious, and Conor was not having it. After a douchebag legitimately in 2015 yelled out “Freebird!” when Conor was talking, I thought he might walk off stage. Instead, he chewed the guy out, spit in the crowd, and kept going. More power to Conor, I say.

I think people have this preconception that Conor Oberst is the cry-baby, indie-emo singer to Bright Eyes just in the same way that Ben Gibbard is the cry-baby, indie-emo singer to Death Cab For Cutie. I kinda think that whole idea is bullshit, but whatever – to each his own. I can pretty definitively say, however, that Conor was gregarious, smiling, and a showman; there wasn’t a dark, dingy stool in sight. I was pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming feeling of joy in the songs and undeniable lightness to all that heart in them as well.

Bottom Line: I would definitely recommend people give Conor a chance; if you’ve ever even thought that one Bright Eyes or Conor Oberst song was good, you’ll dig his live show.

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