Omaha Stakes

Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst hides in the shadows

Lifted's centerpiece, if it has one, is "Lover I Don't Have to Love," in which Oberst bridges the emotional chasm between author and audience with lines as direct as "I want a lover I don't have to love/I want a boy who's so drunk he doesn't talk"), all the while surfing a swell of choppy-sea cellos.

To make this connection even more visceral, Oberst will try to translate the ambitious songs from Lifted as faithfully as possible in his live performances. That means taking a band the size of a small orchestra on tour with him. At full capacity, Bright Eyes now requires 14 people on stage: three drummers, a bassist, a pair of keyboardists, and a pedal steel guitarist, plus musicians to play banjo, trumpet, flute, bassoon, cello, violin, vibraphones, and chimes. "I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's all going to go well," Oberst says. "It's quite a band."

Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, ten years into a music career at age 22
Colby Katz
Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, ten years into a music career at age 22


With M. Ward and the Bruces at 8 p.m., Sunday, September 29. Tickets cost $12 in advance, $14 at the door. Call 305-321-4332.
Manuel Artime Performing Arts Center, 900 SW First St., Miami

The Lifted tour will allow Oberst to fade in and out as ringleader of a large collective in the hopes that his audience, as well as the media, will accept his reluctant presence as frontman and appreciate Bright Eyes as a broader entity. "I wish people would recognize the songs and the music, " Oberst laments. "What I'm asking for is, I guess, impossible. I wish people would just be into the music and not really care what I'm about or whatever and let the music speak for itself."

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