Conor Oberst played rare Bright Eyes songs & more at White Eagle Hall (pics, video, setlist)
“We’re gonna try some weird old songs,” Conor Oberst said before launching into “Motion Sickness,” a few songs into his Sunday night (7/21) show at Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall. For his run of July dates, a break from his tour with Phoebe Bridgers as Better Oblivion Community Center, which resumes in August, Conor and his band have been sticking with a setlist that includes a nice amount of older songs and rarities. Along with “Motion Sickness,” which Bright Eyes originally released as a single in 2000 (it later appeared on their Noise Floor (Rarities: 1998-2005) collection, too), we heard “I Won’t Ever Be Happy Again” from their’ 2001 EP Don’t Be Frightened of Turning the Page, rarities “The Trees Get Wheeled Away” and “Blue Angels Air Show,” two highlights from 2007’s Cassadaga, “If The Brakeman Turns My Way” and “No One Would Riot for Less,” and classic Lifted track “Bowl of Oranges.” Conor didn’t neglect his post-Bright Eyes career either, playing a few songs each from Salutations and Upside Down Mountain; for the encore, he and his band did a heartfelt cover of Waylon Jennings’ “buddy song,” “If You See Me Getting Smaller.” They were in fine form throughout the night and seemed in high spirits, too, despite the heat wave that Conor said had been making it hard for him to breathe while outside. Check out their full setlist, and some fan-taken videos, below.
Opening Sunday night’s show, and the whole tour, was Joanna Sternberg, who recently released Then I Try Some More on Conor’s Team Love Records. As Joanna put it, a lot of their material is sad songs about feelings, and it came across live with the perfect mix of sincerity and self-deprecation. It was all delivered simply but powerfully with Joanna’s towering voice backed by either guitar or keys, and the set felt like it quickly reached indie pop classic status. Later on in the evening, Conor invited Joanna back on stage for the set-closing “Napalm,” too. Check out pictures from the whole night in the gallery above.
Setlist: Conor Oberst at White Eagle Hall, 7/21/2019
I Won’t Ever Be Happy Again (Bright Eyes)
The Trees Get Wheeled Away (Bright Eyes)
Hundreds of Ways
Motion Sickness (Bright Eyes)
Bowl of Oranges (Bright Eyes)
Empty Hotel by the Sea
No One Would Riot for Less (Bright Eyes)
Blue Angels Air Show (Bright Eyes)
Desert Island Questionnaire
Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out
If You See Me Getting Smaller (Waylon Jennings cover)
If the Brakeman Turns My Way (Bright Eyes)