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August 7, 2011 | 12:10 p.m. CST
Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst stood center stage and intently stared at a religious pamphlet an audience member had thrown onto the stage. He read the “cartoon pamphlet,” as he called it, from front to back for almost five minutes.
Then Oberst turned around toward a band mate, grabbed a lighter, and, in true rock ’n’ roll form, he set the pamphlet aflame and dropped it onto the stage. With a stomp and a pour of his drink, he put out the fire. Although the characteristically laid-back Omaha, Neb., band isn’t known for concert stunts, Oberst couldn’t help but make a statement last night at its concert at The Blue Note.
The band attracted a crowd filled with a variety of ages, ranging from their teens to people in their ’40s. The stage was simple, with only the overhead colored lights shining above the band. Band members were armed with instruments including an accordion, a trumpet, two keyboards, two drum sets, guitars and basses.
After a long-waited arrival, Bright Eyes began with “Four Winds” from its 2007 album Cassadaga. The band also chose to skip backward to its 2002 album, Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground with the upbeat “Bowl of Oranges.” The remainder of the songs hopped across Bright Eyes’ discography timeline with new and old ones.
Oberst owned the stage as he danced and twirled around with his guitar in hand. He seemed captivated and lost in the music as he swayed side to side to the music and bobbed his head.
The audience members were captivated by the laid-back feel of the concert; they swayed as Oberst revealed his intense and powerful lyrics, which he sang passionately.
With its surprising and unpredictable set list, Bright Eyes allowed its fans to recall its older songs and refreshed its newer ones.