I will be the first to admit that I've always had a conflicted opinion of Conor Oberst's music. I've got the entire "Bright Eyes" music catalogue, but I am known to question his opinion of his hometown, and his political views. Tonight he played a free show here in Omaha, Nebraska. I knew it was going to be interesting to see him come play in his hometown for all these people that he's written songs about.
After playing at Bonnaroo just yesterday, I assume he flew in to play today. That's a pretty busy weekend, no? Opening for Oberst were Neva Dinova and Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals. We missed Neva, and we came in just in time to see Gruff Rhys. The park was full of people when we got there (yes, I took the lady along). Gruff was hysterical! He was so self-effacing and witty. If you ever get the chance you must go see him play. He'd say things like, "That song was about snakes...and sh*t...yeah." or "This next song is actually exactly like the last song." and "This song was inspired by a visit to a pirate ship...in a mall...in Canada. Yeaaarrrrr. It's about pirates!" At one point he hit the "demo" button on a cheap kids synthesizer and smoked a cigarette for a while. Riotous!
So, anyway it started to rain just as Bright Eyes was getting ready. It only drizzled for the first few songs. Me an my girlfriend tried to stay. We hid under a tree just out of view of the stage for about 15 minutes. I actually stood there with the lawnchair folded up over her head to keep her dry the whole time, and was consequently soaking wet. We left after about 7 songs just as "Lover I Don't Have to Love" came on. I was so miffed that we were leaving as soon as I heard the intro. But you don't want to hear about me! You want to hear about Conor!!
So he plays a pretty darn good show. Even though he acknowledged that the city mayor was in the crowd he still swore and cursed as loud as he could when the song called for it. The band was in fine form, as well. It's nice how well the recordings translated to a live performance. His voice is really getting better. It's much stronger now. Our little indie-rock-boy is becoming a man! He still seems so lonely, though! Since it was raining he played a lot of songs that mentioned rain, appropriately. Highlights included "Lover I Don't Have to Love", "Poison Oak", "Ship in a Bottle", "Bowl of Oranges", and "First Day of My Life". So here they are for your downloading pleasure: