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Wilconey Island and Other Elisions

July 14, 2009
Greetings from the Scariest Place on Earth!

Greetings from the Scariest Place on Earth!

Last night, I had the good fortune to see Wilco at Coney Island’s Keyspan Park, home to the brilliantly-talented and usually-sober Brooklyn Cyclones. With new Show staffer David by my side, I blocked the view of everyone behind me, towering over the competition in a way I’m capable of doing when not standing next to the 6-6 behemoth Marquis Meowmers IV, which really heightened the experience. (Hoho!) Seriously, if you ever get a chance to be the tallest person at a concert, you should capitalize on it. It’s quite an experience. There’s nothing like making the 5-6 kid behind you furious. Or the 5-9 girl with the drunky-eyes who just elbowed her way to within 15 feet of the stage after arriving 30 minutes after the opener but, like, seriously dude, you’re so tall and she’s so short and why can’t you just trade places with her? And then you’re all like, hey lady, I’ve been here for 3 hours in the sun inhaling the Brooklyn barf that trails across from the boardwalk, and I totally hear you and all but I really have trouble seeing how that’s fair to any of the other 17000 people here who are shorter than I am. And the 5-9 girl whines that maybe if you worked a fucking job you wouldn’t have the time to stand out here for 3 hours and that’s why you should give her your spot. So you’re like, lady, keep insulting me and maybe I’ll have to go to the Port-a-Throne (Registered TM) and cry, leaving my spot for you, even though I have a job and it’s probably better than yours. And then David the Rookie (registered TM) is like, you should probably write about this, because it could be funny. So you do. With long, unedited sentences. All are great experiences, and I recommend them. But even if you can’t do all that, at least go see Wilco. And here’s why:

They rock as hard as anyone in rock right now. Period. Last night’s show was an almost 3-hour tour-de-force, coming in at 26 songs and featuring a few choice Indie Rock All Star guests, like the beautiful and talented Feist (joining for “You and I,” “California Stars,” and tambourine on “Hoodoo Voodoo”), Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste (Vocals on “California Stars” and maracas on “Hoodoo Voodoo”), and all three of the members of Yo La Tengo, who opened for Wilco and then returned during Encore #1 for a raucous and rocking “Spiders (Kidsmoke).” The band is a tight, cohesive unit, and are note-perfect live, while still retaining their noisy daring. Glenn Kotche is one of the most energetic and phenomenal drummers I’ve had the opportunity to see, and I’m sure I don’t need to say anything about the brilliantly innovative Nels Cline.

However, no concert is without its flaws, and this one certainly had a couple. These flaws were mostly in song choice, though. And that’s not to say the setlist wasn’t good. In fact, they played a pretty awesome cross-section of their fantastic back catalog. I just wish they’d played more from 2001’s breathtaking Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which is probably one of my 5 desert island albums. In particular, I had requested the rara avis “Magazine Called Sunset” on the Wilco site (they have a “request” feature, which is a fantastic idea), and was disappointed it didn’t make it into the show. But it was a long shot, and such is life. Lucky for you savvy readers, I’ve provided a few of my Wilco highlights below. Almost as good as the live experience, and all without having to peer over my tall, strong shoulders.

Heavy Metal Drummer (Live) – Jeff Tweedy (YSI)

From Sunken Treasure: Live in the Pacific Northwest

This version features the alternate verse “She lifted up her shirt/at the battle of the bands/he twirled his sticks/she helped him to his van,” which Tweedy sang last night, causing Rookie of the Year David‘s eyes to almost pop out of his head.

A Magazine Called Sunset – Wilco (YSI)

From the exclusive YHF-era EP, More Like the Moon. (I can help you find it, if you’re at a loss.)

Poor Places – Punch Brothers (YSI)

Recorded at their Daytrotter session, this may be the best version of this song I’ve ever heard. Better even than the original. That’s right — I went there. You know how much I love Chris Thile covers, and this is his finest, hands-down.

And if you like you see, turn off your tv and ZOOM!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Nico permalink
    July 14, 2009 3:44 pm

    What do you mean when you say “Wilco IRL?”

    • July 14, 2009 3:53 pm

      In Real Life, duder. But I suppose that all my writing moves and breathes so effectively that it feels alive, so I might as well delete it to reflect that and not be redundant…

  2. Neil Cake permalink
    July 15, 2009 6:05 am

    I usually feel guilty about being one of the tallest people at a show, and blocking all the views of people behind me – especially since I always have to hear my girlfriend complain that she can never see a thing because there are so many people taller than she is.

    My friend however, says being able to see at shows is our due compensation for the hours of discomfort we have to endure on buses/aeroplanes etc where the leg room is never sufficient.

    what goes around come around, they say…

  3. July 18, 2009 9:28 am

    Goto hardcore shows, things work themselves out at hardcore shows. It’s, like, totally the free market at work or something…

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