Thursday, March 10, 2011

Show Review: Bright Eyes live at Radio City Music Hall 3/9/11

Last night, I had the privilege of seeing Bright Eyes at Radio City Music Hall. Wild Flag, an all girl group from Portland, Oregon, were the first to play, and they were pretty good. I’m usually not a fan of all girl groups, but they had an edge and really packed a punch. Superchunk went on second, and for their age, I was very happy with the fact that they were still punk, and that the singer’s voice was unique. I’m going to be honest, I don’t know either of their music except for what I saw, but I recommend both of them. After about 2 hours, Bright Eyes finally showed signs of coming out. They opened by playing Denny Brewer’s slightly haunting speech that began The People’s Key. Hearing that alone, I lost it. I don’t have much memory of it, the tears and the shaking overcame me: Conor Oberst was real, not just this voice I've pouring over for so many years. After a perfectly done "Firewall", they moved into the ever danceable “Jejune Stars”. He then greets us kindly, informing us that the next song contained some graphic sexual content and that necessary ears should be covered and people should leave if they feel uncomfortable, then breezed right into a beautifully done “Take It Easy (Love Nothing)”. He introduced “Hot Knives” the same as “Take it Easy”, and said, “I wonder who made this setlist cuz it’s really gross.” That’s one thing about this event, he spoke between almost every song, and every single one of his speeches contained something quotable, clever, or downright inspiring. The night kicked up for me when they surprised us with an epic two song run of “An Attempt to Tip the Scales” and “Padraic My Prince”, both of which reduced me to pure tears. I can safely say, even songs I wasn’t too fond of like “Arc of Time” were performed so magnificently that I now will have them on constant repeat. The final leg of the set consisted of “Bowl of Oranges”, “Old Soul Song”, “Poison Oak”, “The Calendar Hung Itself”, and “Ladder Song”. I don't know how my heart kept beating. I cannot ever hope to express in words how ecstatic and uncontrollably blown-out-of-my-mind I was. They all expressed such great emotion that I know translated to every person in that audience, especially the exposed and pure “Ladder Song”, where Conor sang and played piano up there alone. I couldn’t help but get teary eyed when he sang “Doesn’t it just make you wanna cry?” No surprise, they ran out of time to do their normal 24 song set, so the encore was only three songs, but I’m not complaining. “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” was the final "graphic sexual content" containing song, and it was done very nicely, but it probably could have been more dramatic. “Road to Joy” destroyed every other song performed. Right before they were to perform it, Conor, some how, broke his amp and his back-up amp, but that did not take away from it all. It’s a gloriously grand song to begin with, but hearing him scream “I’M WIDE AWAKE IT’S MOOOORRRRNNIN’” live just solidified my concert memory as perfect. Hearing the first chords to “One For You, One For Me” provoked tears of joyous sadness, for it marked the end of not only seeing one of my favorite bands live, but possibly the last time seeing Bright Eyes as a band live in New York.

I would recommend in a heart beat seeing Bright Eyes live, but I would only suggest it to those who recognize his older stuff and his lesser known material for I felt like I was the only one around me who knew songs like “Padraic My Prince” and even “An Attempt”. I really had hoped to see “Four Winds”, “Something Vague”, and the ever gorgeous “Lua” live, but I can’t say I have any real complaints. They are a great band, and I feel very privileged that I was able to see remarkable musicians like Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Andy Lemaster perform in such a respected and grand setting.

Quotes from the Night:

I’m giving up apologizing for lent.”-Conor Oberst

"If you had told thirteen year old me that Superchunk would be opening for my band at Radio City Music Hall, I would have laughed in your face, kicked you in your shins, and told you to go to hell."-Conor Oberst


Jejune Stars
Take It Easy (Love Nothing)
Hot Knives
An Attempt to Tip the Scales
Padraic My Prince
We Are Nowhere And It’s Now
Shell Games
Approximated Sunlight
Arc of Time
Triple Spiral
Cleanse Song
Trees Get Wheeled Away
No One Would Riot For Less
Beginner’s Mind
Bowl of Oranges
Old Soul Song [For The New World Order]
Poison Oak
The Calendar Hung Itself
Ladder Song

Lover I Don’t Have to Love
Road to Joy
One For You, One For Me


Video for "Trees Get Wheeled Away" from the night.

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