"I like the feel of the burn of the audience's eyes on me when I'm whispering all my darkest secrets into the microphone."
I've had this new post up in a tab for the past few days in an attempt to see if I could adequately express my feelings towards seeing Bright Eyes on Friday, but I'm not sure if I'll ever get there. However, a certain someone who shall remain a name (Leslie Melvin) is impatient for a post so here goes.
I know, loving Bright Eyes is soooo 2003, but although I'm no longer an angsty 17 year old (I'm an angsty 23 year old...) I still can't stop listening. At this point my love is probably 90% nostalgia-based, but call the cops because IDGAF. My love for Conor Oberst will never die. I know a lot of people claim to have bands and artists that got them through tough times, but for me Bright Eyes was the opposite: They allowed me to wallow in self-pity and despair, and for that I am forever grateful.
To sum up this point of this post: The Bright Eyes show was probably the best musical experience of my life (No Doubt in 2009 is the second).
The show was at the Commodore. I love it. I wouldn't even mind seeing, say, Katy Perry (HATE HER WITH A FIERY PASSION) if she played at the Commodore. It's huge, it has multiple bars, there's ample seating with views of the stage, and hello--bouncy dancefloor. Hands down the best venue in Vancouver. The place was packed, which I should have expected as it was a sold-out show. I (vaguely) remember having a lot more room to dance when I saw Julian Casablancas there a couple years ago. Thankfully, no one was flailing/moshing/jostling about so although it was crowded it was still easy to stand in place and sway and enjoy the music. I even had a great view of Conor for the majority of the time, something that almost never happens due to my extreme lack of height.
Titus Andronicus opened, although I only caught the last few songs of their set. It's pretty rare that I've heard of the opening band and even rarer that I'm already a fan, so I was pleased.
But onto Bright Eyes. The set list was near perfect with plenty of songs from the new album interspersed with a lot of old favourites. Now, my idea of the ultimate Bright Eyes concert takes place pre-Digital Ash in a Digital Urn/I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, but I've come to accept that that's just not going to happen. At least he (mostly? I can't remember) stayed away from Cassadaga. I mean, it's great that Conor's pretty much sober and all, but there's no denying his best work was during the years when he'd get so wasted at shows he'd have to cling to the mic stand for support. I don't usually read or agree with Pitchfork's reviews, but they were dead-on when they called The People's Key impersonal. I still think it's solid, but where's the neuroses? The wailing? The metaphors and references to scales and clocks?
Okay, I'm sidetracking. We took a nice, lengthy "trip down memory lane", as Conor put it. He even went way back to 1998 ("Padraic My Prince"). Going in, I was so sure I'd cry at some point, but (sadly, in my opinion) my cheeks remained dry. I did tear up once--for the entirety of "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)"--but he didn't sing any of the songs that really hit me hard in my hormonal teenage years. I assure you I would have been reduced to a quivering, sobbing wreck on the floor had I heard "Messenger Bird's Song" or "You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will." or "A Perfect Sonnet" live.
One of the many highlights (who am I kidding every second was a highlight) was during the encore. "Lover I Don't Have To Love". I knew they'd play it, I knew they had to! Even if you're not a fan of the band, I feel like it was impossible to escape the mid-2000s without hearing that song...at least if you spent any amount of time on Myspace. I was only sad my sister wasn't there to scream the lyrics along with me like we used to do in the car. Love's an excuse to get hurt and to hurt. Do you like to hurt? I do, I do. Then hurt meeeeeeee. My one regret was not bringing my Flip cam to record the moment.
That's about all I have to say about the concert; or at least, all that can be said in a jumble of words. I'm so grateful I was able to be there, knowing that it was most likely his last tour as Bright Eyes. I'll leave you with this one moment that stuck with me: One or two songs into the set, Conor asked for the two lights shining on him to be turned off. It was just so Conor I nearly died.
I have a lot of really great concerts coming up (Childish Gambino/Donald Glover, Sleigh Bells, Neon Indian, Yelle) but, as excited as I am, I feel like none of them will live up to last Friday.
What's the best show you've ever been to?