Wednesday night Bright Eyes made its long awaited return to The Pageant.
During Christian Lee Hutson opening set Hutson made a comment about how he remembers illegally downloading Bright Eyes songs off Limewire back in the day and that he feels that he needs to buy Conor lunch when they go out to eat. Funny enough that is how I found out about Bright Eyes myself, though now I own most, if not all of Conor’s releases from Bright Eyes up to his most recent side project Better Oblivion Community Center.
As the lights went down Mike Mogis, Nate Walcott and the rest of the band made its way out as the crowd cheered with excitement. What was different about tonight’s concert from the other times I have seen Bright Eyes was that they were accompanied by an orchestra section. Oberst came out looking a bit like The Cure’s Robert Smith wearing a black trench coat and chipping black nail polish. The only thing missing was the eyeliner and lipstick. Starting the night off with ‘Dance and Sing’ off 2020’s ‘Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was’, the band’s first album after the band was retired for nine years. It is also the first Bright Eyes album not released by Saddle Creek Records. Next up was ‘Lover I Don’t Have to Love’ that saw Oberst sit down and play the piano. The little over two hour set of twenty-one songs hit just about every album with the exception of ‘Letting Off the Happiness’. Throughout the night Oberst would talk a bit in between songs about what the song was about. One song he said had references to where they grew up in Omaha and that he felt a special kindred with us as we were all from shitty Midwestern cities but at least we had sports teams. He talked about touring in vans and on one tour in the 90s his mom let him borrow her car and she probably had to take the bus to work before playing ‘Another Travelin’ Song’. Highlights for me from the night were ‘Lover I Don’t Have to Love’, ‘The Calendar Hung Itself…’, ‘Arienette’, ‘Another Travelin’ Song’, and the encore closer ‘Easy/Lucky/Free’