Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wilco Winter Residency, Day 4, I Must Be High (On Wilco), a.k.a. Obama-Tweedy'08

As promised, Amy and Steve (who looks remarkably like the guy who originally got me into Wilco), my new friends I met at Monday night's show, saved me a seat (and the same exact one!), which was really nice because I was running a lot later this evening, and if it wasn't for them, probably would have ended up crammed in the back of the dance floor crowd.
I talked with Amy about Wilco/Jeff Tweedy solo shows we've both attended, which amounts to at least three (unless you count these 5, then at least 8).

"They've always been our Chicago band," Lin Brehmer of XRT declared while standing center stage. "Wherever they go, they always come home." (Unlike another well-known Chicago-based band who planned an entire tour without coming to Chicago...(*ahem*-smashing pumpkins)

1) Outta Mind (Outta Site)--(sort of a repeat, but the mellower version, which is not the same as the one they've already played...which is a mistake on my part...the version they have played already was "Outta Site (Outta Mind)" Oops.)
2) I Must Be High--funny because I was just going to comment about how I feel like I'm sitting in a marijuana bubble. I also feel like I've been on a Wilco/music high for the past five days.
3) Impossible Germany (4 for 4)

4) Radio Cure--my mind took an unintentional trip back in time during this song, to the year 2002 when someone i thought i loved wrote a line from this in a letter...except he got a crucial word wrong...He wrote "Distance has a way of making love understandable" when, in fact, the lyric is: Distance has NO way of making love understandable...which is ironic because his version made it seem like he was trying to tell me in Wilco-code that we could make things work, whereas that turned out to be his exact opposite sentiment...come back, come back from the past and focus on the present...

5) Leave Me Like You Found Me--people around me are clapping, but not for the song, for the people in the rows ahead of them taking a seat instead of blocking everyone else's view
"That's the first time we've played that song. Outside the studio," Jeff said. (I thought he meant in the last 4 nights) "It's always nice to audition a song in front of such a large listening audience--and on the radio. Did it sound ok?" YEAH! "Ok, moving right along..."

6) Company In My Back--I've always loved this line, "Hide your soft skin/Your sorrow is sunshine/Listen to my eyes/They're hissing radiator tunes..."
"I don't know if can say that [referring to the repetitive use of "holy shit"] on the radio," Jeff said at the end of the song. "Oh well...that might be a hef-ty fine." Then he addressed his sons at home. "If you're still listening, go to bed." He looked at his watch. "Ok, it's still early. You can listen a little longer...but don't pay attention."

7) Handshake Drugs (repeat)--"I was chewin' gum for something to do/The blinds were being pulled down on the dew/Inside, out of love, what a laugh/I was looking for you"
Here's a clip:

8) War On War--I'm just gonna go ahead and say that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot still qualifies as my all-time favorite album (post-Beatles era)
9) Shake It Off--another favorite off SBS, everyone cheered when Tweedy sang, "So many hearts beating in one place." I called Lindsay and left her a voicemail because she wanted to hear this song at Saturday's show.

"So did a lot of you wait around in the cold today?" Jeff asked. "You guys are in-sane." Someone yelled out "Thank you!" but I didn't know why. Then Jeff responded, "You're welcome. That was John's idea. I was against it. I said, 'Give them coffee and they're gonna want donuts.' Did you like the coffee and hot chocolate?" Oh, ok, I understand now. "Good. You're welcome. I'm saying that on air so everyone much we care," Jeff continued. "We're going to play a few songs off an album that will hopefully warm you up...Oh my god I'm the worst," he said, self-mockingly. "Ok, here's Summerteeth..."

10) Summerteeth

Some feedback. "Excuse me," Jeff joked.
11) In A Future Age
12) ELT (repeat)
13) Shot In The Arm (repeat)

14) Poor Places
15) Reservations--I thought I had never heard this song live, but I just looked back at my old set lists from the first few times I saw them back in '02/'03 and I have...just not in awhile
transitioned right into
16) Spiders (Kidsmoke) (repeat)--since this was not only a repeat but is also about ten minutes long, I decided to run down and take a "pee break" before the designated intermission. While down there, I listened to my voicemail:

"Hi this is Alyse-I can't get to the phone right now because I'm hanging out with Wilco!" Jenny tricked me again! Back in 2004 when Lindsay and I spent a whole night with Wilco&Co. after their Radio City performance in NYC, I left Jenny a drunken message from their hotel bar bathroom and she, in turn, left that message for me...but she sounded just like me, and it took me awhile to figure out she can just imitate me dead-on. She left the same message tonight and it confused me again! Hilarious.

When I got back, they were still playing the same song. Then Jeff said, "We're gonna play one song after this and then take a break. You guys keep clapping so they can hear you at home." The claps and cheering got louder as they finally concluded "Spiders."
"Because I have the opportunity to speak to more people than just you, I'd like to thank those who've come to all five shows..." (but we're here, Jeff, and it's only #4) "...and to the city of Chicago for making our lives...wonderful (or beautiful?)." Then making fun of himself for clearly being a cheeseball, he said, "Oh my god..."

17) On And On And On--most depressing song on SBS

During the break Amy and Steve left to get some air. I stayed in my seat, stared at people, took a crappy picture of the ceiling

and thought to myself, "I wonder what they're playing on the radio during the break...."

"Hello. Welcome back," Jeff greeted us and the XRT audience.
18) Hotel Arizona (repeat)

"It's really great to play on the radio and promote our first two albums." Everyone laughed. "...Since we didn't get to the first time. I'm just kidding--XRT would have let us--they've been with us from the start--the only radio to support Wilco."
I thought of the radio station's ads around the city that read, "Chicago without XRT would be..." asking for listeners to submit their comparisons on their website. Chicago without XRT would be like the world without Wilco.
19) Too Far Apart (repeat)-- check out the video clip. I finally recorded some of Tweedy's wittiness, as he asked, "Can you do that? I'm not gonna go for it that hard--it's the radio--that'd be silly."

20) (Was I) In Your Dreams
"Thank you gentleman," Tweedy directed towards the horn section. "They'll be back--the Total Prose...Daaaaa Total Prose." Hahahaha for those who don't get that, let me put a voice to the phrase. Picture Chris Farley dressed in a Bears jersey saying, "Daaaa Bears" on SNL.

21) Misunderstood (repeat)--rousing "I'd like to thank you all for nothin' nothin' nothin' nothin' NOTHIN' NOTHIN' NOTHIN' (x10)...for nothin' at all"
22) Someday Soon
23) California Stars--called Pat and left a message because he loves this song

"So Obama won Wisconsin?" Mad cheering. "So the Total Prose are back."
24) Hate It Here (4 for 4)
"You guys sound good," Tweedy informed TP. "Even if you have grenadine down the front of your shirt." One of the horn players mimed being embarrassed. "He spilled his Shirley Temple."

25) The Thanks I Get--excellent SBS outtake. After the call and response "We can make it better (we can make it better)," Tweedy said, "It's not silly to sing along. And it's not silly to want to make it better. Ok maybe a little--but it feels so good. Some times you gotta give a damn." That's going to be my new motto. Thanks, Jeff. "Yeah, Obama can use that any time he likes." Hell yeah!
Back in December I went to an Obama rally in this same venue called, "Change Rocks," in which Wilco played a few songs and introduced our future president (yeah, i said it). This was the third time I saw Obama speak (the first was when he was on Conan with Wilco in Chicago in May of '06--unfortunately i have no pictures of this and the second was this past September when I happened to be in NYC during a rally in Washington Square Park) and the more I hear him talk, the more I want him to be president. At the end of the Change Rocks event, I said to my friend Amy, "If he takes Jeff Tweedy as his VP, I'm sold."
Anyway, back to Wilco. Jeff continued, "He [Obama] probably doesn't have any use for the part about getting crazy." He then imitated Obama, "Every time I go out and play..." then "Oh, campaign liability..."

26) Walken (4 for 4)

"I love you Susie."
27) I'm The Man Who Loves You (4 for 4)
28) I'm A Wheel--complete with Tweedy's famous screeching (how does he keep doing that without blowing his voice??) as well as Pat Sansone's animated guitar strumming with full windmill arm circles.

"We're trying to avoid the tired ritual of encores as much as we can--you know, walking off and back on stage," Jeff said. "Actually we're just lazy. When we're done, we want to be done." People cheered, and rightly so. I never really understood the encore concept. "Now, do they get XRT in Pekin [Illinois]? Ok, this goes out to Pekin."
29) Kingpin (repeat)--because the lyrics go, "I wanna be your kingpin/livin' in Pekin"
"How can I?" Woo!
Building on the audience's enthusiastic, "Woos!" Jeff commented on how they like to "start tours in their home town and then put up with the lame audiences everywhere else." Of course I feel a burst of home town pride, but at the same time he might have wanted to save that comment for when he wasn't being broadcast worldwide. Although, I do have to say, he's right, at least as far at Austin goes. I saw them perform at Austin City Limits last September, and I felt like I (along with a few friends) was the only one going nuts, singing along, jumping up and down, etc. And in response, Jeff hardly spoke to the boring audience and although they sounded great, there was a definite lack of enthusiasm.

(photo taken by Lisa Nicholson at ACL '07)

(photo taken by Shilpa Anturkar at ACL '07, and yes that's the famous blue notebook in hand)

"What should we do?" Jeff lamented to his fellow Chicagoans. "Take you with us. Actually a lot of you probably will. And that's scary."

30) Outta Site (Outta Mind) (repeat)--we've come full circle
With a wave of his hand and rub of his eye, JT thanked the audience and Wilco left the stage. "Peaches" by Pres. of U.S.A. played yet again. And yet again I sang along. There was a stagehand adjusting the instruments who kept lifting his hands in the air, signaling us to continue clapping/cheering.
It worked. They came back. (shocking, i know)
31) The Late Greats (repeat)
"Thank you very much," Jeff waved goodbye. "That's gotta be it. See you tomorrow night."

I said thanks again for the seat to Amy and Steve and then skated my way down the thickly-iced sidewalks of Lawrence Avenue until I found my car on one of the side streets. Only one night left...

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