I arrived to the Rooster Stage roughly thirty minutes before Conor Oberst was scheduled to start. The band who played right before him were real gems, First Aid Kit, a Swedish folk duo composed to two sisters. Once they were done, there was a huge applause and a substantial thinning of the crowd. Conor came on at promptly 6:00 and began his set with “Landers in the Temple,” from his album Conor Oberst (2008). He then went on to play some of his older tunes, such as “At the Bottom of Everything,” “Make War,” and “An Attempt to Tip the Scales,” all of which were written and released when he was still with Bright Eyes. Conor alternated between guitar, piano and the harmonica throughout the show, at one point playing both his harmonica and guitar at the same time and looking rather Bob Dylan-esk.
Conor’s main pianist and accordion player for his set was one of The Felice Brothers, James Felice, one of four in an American folk rock country band from New York. He nearly stole the show on account of his impressive enthusiasm and intense facial expressions while performing onstage.
Toward the end of the show, Conor brought First Aid Kit back on stage and together they played “Lua” and “Southern State,” both Bright Eyes originals, which were arguably enhanced by First Aid Kit’s presence. Of the whole show, Conor only played one song from his new album Salutations (2017), “Salutations.” He then wrapped up the musical performance with a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover of “Walls” as an ode to the recently deceased icon, which he played alongside all four of The Felice Brothers who had performed on the Rooster stage earlier that day. All in all it was a really wholesome setlist.
Articles and Photos by Circe Ament-Coshnear