Conor Oberst, formally of Bright Eyes and many other side projects, has been touring in support of his latest work, Ruminations, stopping in Los Angeles’s Cathedral Sanctuary at Immanuel Presbyterian Church for a two-night event. The singer-songwriter has been creating music since the early 90s and has built an incredible catalogue of emotional, introspective and heartbreaking music. His latest release (seventh solo album) captures the essence of the tortured artist that created magic in that packed cathedral. The fans followed his every move as the heavens parted long enough for the gentle sounds to encapsulate the room. Piano melodies were ejected from the first track “Tachycardia” and segued effortlessly throughout his set.
Opener Odessa Jorgensen shined with her single Les Paul and serenaded the crowd with her outstanding single, “I Will Be There.” Oberst had the crowd singing along to “A Little Uncanny” as he rang out the lyrics missing some of his heroes, Christopher Hitchens, Oliver Sacks, Robin Williams and Sylvia Plath. The first half of the show presented his works off Ruminations. Oberst commented, “This one’s about when they used to build nice things, like this place. They gave up on that kind of thing.” The crowd laughed along anticipating the next track, “Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch).” Switching back and forth between the piano, guitar and harmonica, Oberst had a few surprises including a violin accompaniment from Odessa Jorgensen. “She’s played in my band a couple times so we’re going to play a couple songs together.” She was spectacular on the track “Cape Canaveral” as the weeping stings echoed throughout the cathedral. Oberst also stunned the crowd with an acoustic version of “Here Comes The Regular” by The Replacements. An incredible artist with an appetite to entertain has done it again with his album. Ruminations is currently out on Nonesuch Records.