Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wilco Winter Residency, Day 5 (a.k.a. What happens Thursday?)

(*NOTE*: My apologies for taking so long to complete the final recap...I started writing this Thursday and by Friday came down with the flu, which I'm still trying to get over...)

It's taken me 24 hours to process last night's conclusion to what Greg Kott coined, "Wilco-palooza," but here it goes.
In anticipation of the final night, I purposely refrained from looking up which songs Wilco had not played yet. I couldn't think of any off the top of my head, so I thought it'd be fun to be surprised if there were any left. Not only was this the grand finale but I was supposed to go with friends again. Abbey had our two tickets and we planned to meet Shilpa there. Unfortunately, though, Abbey got sick in the middle of the day and decided against going. She and I both sent out texts to our other Wilco fan friends. Our mutual friend, Lindsay (who was there Saturday), decided to skip class for the night and spend the time instead enjoying the lovely sounds of our favorite band.
Shilpa had to pick her ticket up from will-call, so she got there early and stood in line in the freezing cold, subsequently allowing her to save us seats, sixth row center. Turns out it was the same row I'd sat in the the past two nights with Amy and Steve. And guess who happened to be sitting behind us--Amy and Steve!
Frank E. Lee from XRT introduced the band tonight, saying, "Wilco is playing as good as any band in the world right now!"

1) Sunken Treasure (repeat)--I love the harmonica.
2) One By One--during this mellow tune, the girl taking down orders/carrying drinks around was yelling out names of beers to potential customers
3) Shouldn't Be Ashamed
4) You Are My Face (repeat)--the annoying people receiving all the beer wouldn't sit down, which annoyed those (us) who actually wanted to sit and relax during the slower songs. "They should be pushed," Lindsay said.
5) Side With The Seeds (repeat)

"How you doin'?" Jeff asked the packed theater. "Are you tired?" I answered "YES" but it got lost among all the overly-enthused "NOs!" "No, we're not tired," Jeff said. "We are en-er-gized. We've been swingin' two bats in the on-deck circle all week--I don't know what that means--do they still do that?" (???) "Ok, we've been taking human growth hormones all week."

6) Pot Kettle Black (repeat)
7) War On War (repeat)
8) Pieholden Suite--Nels Cline simultaneously played the banjo and tambourine
"We get asked to play that song a lot, but we don't play it often...because we don't have the Total Prose [the horn trio...who I've been informed is actually the Total PROS...i.e. PROfessionals]

9) Muzzle Of Bees (repeat)
10) It's Just That Simple (repeat)--John Stirratt got just as huge and deserving a reaction from the crowd as he did on Saturday night. I recorded most of the beautiful song, but unfortunately had to stop just before the end because the stupid security man was on the prowl again. I saw him checking out some girl's device in the row in front of mine and got nervous. Enjoy:

11) Nothingsevergonnastandinmyway (repeat)

"This song will be the last off of A.M.," Jeff said. "I have to be honest--you can go get a soda during this song. This song is dogshit, man. It's the worst's the worst song ever. I just have to be honest with you, so go pee, take it easy, put your feet up, don't pay attention--this is a contractual obligation."
12) I Thought I Held You--he mocked himself through the entire song, even going so far as to mime the lyrics--love it.
"Did you enjoy that?" Cheers. "That's because these guys [motioned to the band] are good. Thanks fellas for polishing that turd. Showbiz should be more honest, don't you think? I'd like it on American Idol if someone came out and said, 'Look I didn't really rehearse this at all. I suck.'"

13) What Light--Lindsay and I discussed on the drive to The Riv how annoying it is that people only know this song (because it's the only one the radio played for awhile from SBS before they finally started playing "Walken") and how a lot of people interpret the song to be about god.
"Watch," I said to Lindsay when the song started. "Everyone's going to sing this one." Sure enough, I was right.
Lindsay responded, "That's cause they think it's church." Haha!

"If you've been to all the shows, we're really close to being done with all the songs on all the records. A lot of the rest of the set is just kind of our favorites from the week, stuff that we like to play. Some stuff we played a lot, some stuff we haven't played very much."
14) When You Wake Up Feeling Old (repeat)
"We're gonna rock the shit outta these songs," Jeff said in response to someone in the audience yelling, "Rock that shit!"
"Orchestrated pop tunes," he continued, before jumping into
15) Summerteeth (repeat)--when Jeff sang the "Oooo's" at the end, the audience sang the "Aaaah's." "Nice Ahh-ing," he said. "I like that sentence--nice ahh-ings."
16) Jesus, Etc. (repeat)--the return of Andrew Bird! Finally got it on video:

"Thank you Andrew. I'm glad you came back," Jeff told him. "We're gonna play a couple more songs and that's it." Boooo! "You guys know better than that. We're gonna play a couple more songs and then we're going to take a break and then it's gonna be like we opened for ourselves. Then when we come back we'll be like the real deal, we'll be like the real band, we'll like change clothes and it'll probably just be us still, but that's kinda the idea."

17) Walken (repeat)--the first time I ever heard this song, all I could think was Beatlemania! Shilpa leaned over to me and happily said, "This song makes me think of you!" That made me smile. The only song with my name in it is "Letters To Elise" by The Cure, which is not only the most depressing song ever, but I'm pretty sure they wrote it about my life circa 2002/03. So it's nice to know that such a catchy, Beatles-inspired, fun tune reminds my friend of me over that other one.
18) Hummingbird (repeat)

During the break, Shilpa went to get us cups of water, while Lindsay and I discussed how we felt we were amidst a frat party. All we kept hearing was "HEINEKEN! AMSTEL! BUD!" I felt like informing these popped-collar idiots that Dave Matthews Band was actually playing in Wrigleyville--i.e. where the graduated population of my former high school resides.
When Shilpa returned, we had someone behind us take this picture before we got even sweatier.

Wilco came back with a repeat favorite
19) Via Chicago (repeat)--during which I turned to Shilpa and said, "This feels so good between my legs," in reference to the cup of water. I was serious but then she made me laugh by insisting I write in my book that I said that. Which then prompted my follow-up, "That's what she said," in my persistent ode to Michael Scott of The Office. "Pretty unpleasant," Lindsay said, regarding the blinding light display.

20) Blood Of The Lamb--never heard of it

"We're gonna have to do this again next year," Jeff said, which caused expected amounts of wild cheering. "Because I don't think we're going to get to everything." Collective Awwwwww. "We'll get to everything on the Wilco records but not everything on the Mermaid Avenue records, not all the B sides. We never promised that--look on your ticket! In fact, I don't think there's any promises on there. So next year we'll make some broader promise, since we know all these now. We'll do Dark Side Of The Moon one night." People yelling things. "Well you know what--you can submit your suggestions to the suggestion box...On your way out." Haha cause we're gone for good then-clever, Jeff. "Help us serve you better."

21) Can't Stand It (repeat)--I forgot to write it down?
22) Box Full Of Letters (repeat)--yay! I got to hear it again!
"I apologize for messing up the lyrics on that song," Jeff said. "And really quickly I'd like to blame my wife. Because she still calls that song 'Box Full of Lecords.' Because I had to play it on the radio one time and I messed it up and she's never forgiven me. 17 years. So I looked up and I saw her and I thought, 'Oh she's thinking this is a box full of lecords' so then I sang 'a box full of lecords.' See how that works? Sorry guys," he directed towards his fellow band members.

23) Heavy Metal Drummer (repeat)--I forgot to write this one down too?? What the hell.
24) Hate It Here (5 for 5--really?)

"Warning, warning. This next song might require some overly-optimistic singing along, call and response. Just an alert.
25) The Thanks I Get (repeat)--after the call and response of "We can make it better," Jeff asked, "Can you make it better? You have to stand up and sing to make it better. You have to make an ass out of yourself to make it better...that's right." Then back to the call and response.
26) Just A Kid--I had never heard this one but judging by the lyrics guessed correctly that this was Wilco's contribution to the Spongebob Squarepants movie soundtrack.

"You guys still having a good time?" Happy whistles!
27) Red-Eyed And Blue (repeat)--got the whistle duet with Andrew Bird on video!

28) I Got You (repeat)
29) Casino Queen (repeat)--the guy standing next to Shilpa was an air-guitar maniac and gyrated his body like nothing I've ever seen. We all watched him in pure amazement.
30) I'm A Wheel (repeat)
31) Less Than You Think--Tweedy's voice sounded strained at this point. And don't worry, they did play about ten minutes worth of the feedback found on the A Ghost Is Born recording. One by one they exited the stage and waved as the sounds kept playing...Tweedy, then Sansone, then Stirrat, then Cline, then Kotche...I missed Jorgensen's exit.

32) I'm The Man Who Loves You (repeat)--what? No wife shout-out?

"Thank you everybody. Thanks to the Riviera for letting us live here for a week. Thanks for spoiling us for the rest of tour."
33) Dreamer In My Dreams (repeat)--videoed the end

"That's it, that's it," Jeff said. "Goodnight everyone. Thanks again. We'll do this again next year, ok?" Ok, JT, whatever you say. I'm just glad I got to experience the debut of the residency idea.
We went outside and I asked Shilpa to take my picture under the marquee (see beginning of post). I proudly displayed two jazz hands above my head, partly from my years of posing like that in dance photos, but more so to show, 5! I went to ALL 5! Quite an accomplishment.
We then asked a girl standing near us if she'd take a picture of all three of us standing under the marquee. She was not a happy camper and kept insisting she couldn't get all of us in the frame, nor could she figure out what button to push...there's one button. Here's the result:

As we headed to the car, I screeched and pointed at the sky. The end of the lunar eclipse (which began during the concert) was still visible--the last one until 2010. A winning night, the conclusion of the residency and a natural phenomenon. I started singing Wilco's "Far Far Away"..."Far, far away/From those city lights/That might be shining on you tonight/Far, far away from you/On the dark side of the moon...."
5 nights
160 songs
approx. 15 hours
What happens tomorrow night? I wondered. Well, until we meet again, thank you for five nights of brilliance.
I randomly came across this person's blog, where she posted tonight's show in its entirety, available for download--enjoy!

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