Scene Report: Bright Eyes @ Radio City.


Last month an old friend from the Florida days came into town and stayed with us for a weekend. To say thanks, he bought us tickets to see Bright Eyes at Radio City. This was a totally unnecessary move on his part, but nonetheless very much appreciated.


My buddy is the biggest Bright Eyes fan I’ve ever met. He’s seen them probably a hundred times. It was a shame that he wasn’t there with us this night. Radio City is an incredible building and it would have freaked him out.


I couldn’t get over this mural in the lobby. It’s called the Fountain of Youth. Here’s something interesting.


Ezra Winter painted it in 1932. It’s one he’s most known for. He was an incredibly talented muralist who demanded high prices for his work. His story took a tragic turn when he fell off a high scaffolding while working and broke his back. He never recovered his ability to keep his hand steady enough to paint with and eventually committed suicide in 1949 at the age of 63. I bring this up because Bright Eyes songs mention death and dying quite a bit. But their songs have the tendency to be somewhat hopeful too. I’m sure what’s hopeful about Winter’s story. Maybe what’s hopeful is “The Fountain of Youth” still exists and still has the power to move people like myself to think and write about it.


The place was sold out. I don’t know why that’s always surprising to me to imagine that so many people are into this band.


Man, I love art deco. The 30’s and 40’s may be my favorite period in American architecture. I like the idea that “bathroom” or “restroom” or “water closet” sounded too crass or rudimentary, that it didn’t cultivate a feeling of rest at all. You know what word does help you relax enough to have a urinary or bowel movement? The word “lounge.”


Never a fish-eye around when you need it. Notice the glow of the smart phones in the crowd. When I first heard this band I only knew a couple people who’s phones had color screens, much less unadulterated internet access. That was, what, maybe six years ago?


Rad set pieces. I couldn’t stop thinking of Conor Oberst’s appearance in Freedom.


And that made me realize I was wearing flannel and tortoise shell glasses. And at that moment I became aware of how I was very much a white man participating in a very white person activity.


I don’t know what that means, it’s just been on my mind lately. But no one really cares about that.

Was it a good show? You bet your ass. Thank you, Thomas, for the amazing experience.

Leave a Reply