Sitting just three blocks from the White House in downtown D.C. is the extravagant and elegant Warner Theatre. Never had I imagined getting the chance to see the notable Conor Oberst, let alone at such a remarkable venue. This had to be one of the most memorable Thursday nights I have experienced in quite a while, which made the four and a half hour journey to get there all the more worth it.
Opening up for Conor Oberst was Daniel Johnston, a legend himself. A shaky performance by the well-known artist was much appreciated by the entire crowd. He ended his set with the great “True Love Will Find You in the End.”
Although best known for his band, Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst’s music career also includes Monsters of Folk, Desaparecidos, and Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. Even though on a solo tour, Conor played songs from almost every one of these bands. One might think that the lack of variety in instruments and voices that normally accompany him would take away from the overall quality of the show; however, none of these were really missed and it’s what made for a truly special performance. His emotional vocals filled the entire theatre as the audience sat and listened to songs such as “Milk Thistle,” “Land Locked Blues,” “June On The West Coast,” “Map Of The World,” and of course “Lua.” He would stop once in a while to explain how he wrote the preceding song when he was fifteen years old and how it made him feel slightly embarrassed. This made me remember an interview where he stated that he does not usually play these old songs, which made this particular performance even better.
Conor Oberst on stage
He also played a couple new songs. One he dedicated to his brother’s second child and the other told the story of an old friend. It was these personal connections and his lyrical improvisations that kept the crowd captivated creating a truly memorable night. His two-hour performance was all I had expected and more.
The good news is that everyone in the triangle can experience some Conor Oberst magic for them selves in February when he stops by the Cat’s Cradle on the 17th with his band, Desaparecidos.