Reviews

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

Author: Greg Boudreau and Lily Ko
02/25/2005 | Seattle University Spectator | www.spectator-online.com | Live Show Preview
This past Thursday, Feb. 17, indie-rock champions, Bright Eyes, played the Paramount Theater in support of their latest release, "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" (Saddle Creek Records).

Debuting at 10 and 15, respectively, on the Billboard music charts, Bright Eyes is proving that you don't have to play the major game to be successful. Two Spectator Staff members went to the performance and tackled the question-was it a good show?

Lily: I think it was a good show, but I think a lot of stuff goes into that, not just the bands and their performances.

Greg: Like what?

Lily: Well, it's kind of the entire evening. You need to be in the right mood for the show and then there's the venue, the crowd, the line-up, etc. I think Bright Eyes performed well, it was a good first experience at the Paramount for me, but the line-up was - eh. Also, the set list was - eh.

Greg: I thought the show was all right. As much as I like Bright Eyes, I think that I prefer to listen to them on CD and not live.

Lily: Ah, I beg to differ. I think Conor [O'berst, singer/songwriter] is great live and I like how the music sounds very much like the recordings, but it is still live. I think after seeing him live you might appreciate the recordings more, I guess.

Greg: See, the thing is that the albums are great because they are so dynamic. Conor varies the songs by using different recording methods or instruments, track to track, but their live set is just the same line-up of musicians playing the same instruments for every song. And not every song needs a slide guitar in it. I feel that Bright Eyes becomes just another alt-country band live, not the amazing indie-rock masters they are.

Lily: Hmm... I'd agree with the beginning of that, but just another alt-country band live? I wouldn't quite go that far. He's a solid performer and the band is very good live, I think it's nice that he tours a lot and it seems like he always has different musicians and a completely different set-list to perform. I just think it's really nice that his voice is so on during his live songs. And really, there is something about "Conor O'berst" and just putting the face to the music gives a little something to the live show.

Greg: But he didn't play any of the songs from "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn," how was the show supposed to help my enjoyment of that album? Or "Fevers and Mirrors," or "Lifted." All I got from the show was that "I'm Wide Awake, Its Morning" songs can have a slide guitar in every one.

Lily: Hence the different tours. Gregory, you know you're scene enough to know that there is one tour to promote one album.

Greg: You know, I went to the Lifted tour and it was just a bunch of songs for old albums. I think The Faint needs to tour with Bright Eyes so they can play the good songs... without a slide guitar.

Lily: The Faint and Bright Eyes would be a show I would not want to miss, surely. However, that would be strange. It's about time Saddle-Creek does a tour though. Man, how sweet would that be! But, I trust they had their reasons for performing those songs. The "Lifted" tour had to have an assortment of songs because that was his first "huge" album.

Greg: But the kids at the show... I've never been so out-hipped in my life!

Lily: Really? Then either you're not hip enough, or you don't go to enough shows, or I guess both.

Greg: I am totally hip enough to be at Bright Eyes. But shows at The Paramount-come on, I must have lost some scene points for going to something that big. Didn't No Doubt play there? I'm going to have to go catch The Unicorns at the Crocodile Cafe to compensate.

Lily: I think the venue was awesome. Being on the floor, it didn't even feel like there was a balcony so the crowd wasn't too overwhelming. I liked how it was packed up front and then spread out in the back. And the stage and the theater just fit the performances. It was indie-fancy and very Bright Eyes.

Greg: My favorite part of the show was the multi-band cover of "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (John Denver) for the finale. It was a solid finishing song, and I didn't even notice the slide guitar in it!

Lily: Drat! You beat me to it! That was MY favorite part! It was a most excellent last song/cover. By that, of course, I mean it was expected that the last song of the encore would be a cover because that is just how it goes nowadays.


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