A few weeks ago, I wrote what I realize now was a terribly inept and poor excuse of an introduction to Bright Eyes. I say this because in the weeks since seeing them live at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, I've been completely consumed, obsessed with hearing every bit of music Conor Oberst has ever put out there. How fitting is it that I titled that post "Here It Come, That Heavy Love" (lyrics from "Shell Games)? Because ohhh the heavy love is here. I haven't felt this way about music since I first discovered Ryan Adams. I feel like I'm cheating, really. Why didn't I jump on these trains 10 years ago, when it was much more appropriate to publicly emote like this about music and musicians? Oh, right. Because I have more teen angst now than I ever did as an actual teen.
Regardless, I'm in awe of his songwriting. From the angsty bleeding-heart beginning stuff to the much more mature, "interpret it how you want," tracks in his latest album. I love the country twang and the bizarro clips. I get it, as much as you can really get these things. And it makes me happy. Even when it's making me sad. "Now sorrow is pleasure when you want it instead." The show in Atlanta was incredible, and I certainly wasn't expecting to be overwhelmed. I hadn't yet taken to Conor's trembling voice or really gotten my hands on that much of his back catalog. But I was just blown away by what a solid live performance the whole band gave. And grateful to my friends who had made some personal and proverbial greatest hits lists for me... There are rumors that this is the band's last tour, and given the setlists I'm seeing with songs rarely played and especially those old favorites, it felt a bit like a departure tour.
But it made for one hell of a good time. And when I realized they were playing Nashville at the Ryman on March 17th, the night before my LASIK surgery, I decided that it would be a great way to go out if something went terribly wrong and I lost my eyesight the next morning. Great music and sweet visuals, and I'm not just talking about the not-so-hard-on-the-eyes frontman. Yeah, that'll do.
So for the first time ever, I went to a show by myself. Got a seat in the second row of the balcony, and had a good ole tentative last hurrah with the eyeballs. Here are a couple of videos I took, plus some more of my favorites other folks recorded at the Tabernacle. Crazy to hear all the crowd singing along. I bet THEY were on the Conor train a long time ago, as I was surprised that most of the people there were not, in fact, teenagers.
Hope you enjoy. I know I did.
Four Winds (Conor says he puts on his metaphorical cowboy boots for this one... indeed)
We Are Nowhere And It's Now
(which, on most days, is my favorite Bright Eyes song)
How could you forget your yellow bird?
Beginner's Mind (Phone messed up, and I missed the very end of it, but there's some good chit-chat at the beginning.)
Poison Oak, from the Tabernacle show (none of these are my videos)
Old Soul Song, at the Tabernacle
Lua, at the Tabernacle
If you're still with me, I thank you.