On Friday, December 8th I attended a well anticipated show at my favourite venue Massey Hall. Being the 6th time that I was seeing Conor Oberst, I was not only very excited but also had extremely high expectations. With a different performance style every time, I was curious to see what type of show would this time arise. After the stage was cleared from the opening act Cold Specs, to my surprise there were few adornments and little instruments. In contrast to some of his other shows which featured bands and an extensive instrument list, this show was set up to be raw and intimate.
With the help from 1 friend who played backup guitar and xylophone, there were no drums, no violin and no fancy equipment. Starting the show off with a track off my favourite album The Story is in the Soil Keep your Ear to the Ground, the 10 minute song Big Picture heavily focused on lyrics was a great way to capture the audience.
Interplaying new songs with a mix of classics which included First Day of My Life , Ariennette, Lua, and Laurent Laurent, the performance was a great display of Conor’s repertoire across time. Stopping in between to explain the meaning of songs, the audience was made to feel included and gained insight towards the motivation behind the complex lyrics that form Conor’s pieces.
After much cheering, Conor returned to perform his encore, ending the show again with a lengthier track off The Story is in the Soil. The song choice made the show as a whole feel unified and personal, as Conor belted out the track Waste of Paint to top it off.
Looking to learn more about Conor Obest and his music? Then check out You’ve Got to Hear This for track suggestions and links.