Among the many tours postponed by COVID-19 was Bright Eyes' anticipated reunion tour, their first since 2011, supporting their new album Down In The Weeds, Where The World Once Was. To hold us over while we wait for those shows to happen, Bright Eyes did a new Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. Conor Oberst, joined by Mike Mogis in person at Omaha's ARC Studios, and virtually by Nate Walcott (and Becky Stark, aka Lavender Diamond, for a song) at LA's Lucy's Meat Market, played through three songs off Down In The Weeds, and "Shell Games" off 2011's The People's Key, their last album pre-hiatus.

It was especially nice to get a taste of how the new songs, with their maximalist tendencies, sound live, and "Mariana Trench" was a particular highlight, sweetened with Becky's harmonies. Watch the Tiny Desk video, and read a message from NPR's Bob Boilen about it, below.

Bob Boilen on Bright Eyes Tiny Desk (Home), September 28, 2020

It's been about a month since the release of the new Bright Eyes album. It's right about now that I likely would have seen Bright Eyes at the 9:30 Club here in D.C. Knowing that wasn't going to happen due to the pandemic, I'm thrilled to have Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott join "together" for a taste of live Bright Eyes. They recorded this Tiny Desk (home) concert with Conor and Mike at ARC Studios in Omaha, Neb., while Nate sits 1,500 miles away at Lucy's Meat Market, a well-equipped studio in Los Angeles filled with sweet-sounding vintage keyboards. Singing and seated behind him is Becky Stark, better known as Lavender Diamond, along with their daughter.

Despite the distance and the almost 10 years since their last record, the three songs they perform from Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was, are intense, with lyrics that are not always decipherable, filled with struggle and hope — in other words, the way I like them.

Conor has visited the Tiny Desk twice: first in 2014, when he brought his family and we invited kids for a memorable concert; and then in 2019 for a concert with Phoebe Bridgers as part of Better Oblivion Community Center. For this Tiny Desk (home) concert, he and the rest of Bright Eyes channeled that stripped-back rawness, and I think these songs shine for it.

Meanwhile, we listed 10 great Bright Eyes covers by other artists and 15 great songs Bright Eyes have covered.