Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wilco in Austin

I know it's late in the day, so I'm late to the party in writing about last night's Austin City Limits taping featuring Wilco. Those other blogs had lots of fancy words and lots of fancy pictures but I was waiting tables at 6am today so, not only is my review late but I'm fucking surly y'all! Let me start by saying if you have tickets for tonight's Wilco show at ACL Live, then you are a very lucky individual because I thoroughly enjoyed last night's performance and I'm sure the dynamics are much different for performers without cameras in their faces. Last night was my first time seeing Wilco perform, I had heard many great things from many great, to moderately great, people so I had high expectations. As far as I'm concerned Wilco completely delivered, as usual my only complaints were with the crowd and not the band or the venue.

The sound was superb, not too quiet, not too loud and everything perfectly in balance. The patrons were generally well-behaved but as usual people need to shut their fucking yaps while a performance is taking place. Also, what's with people taking photos of themselves while at a show? The caption should read, "This is me disturbing people around me in a crowd." It's one thing to take the photo in a way so the artist ends up photo-bombing your self-portrait but when it's just two drunk bitches squeezing their fat faces in the frame of their iPhone it makes no sense to me whatsoever. The other thing that bothered me is, somewhat, specific to Austin City Limits TV tapings but also kind of applies to any venue charging more than $5 for poor quality beers. Must you continuously drink while watching a show? Like the whole time? Each minute of each song? You think maybe you could just get beers before and after, maybe at a neighboring bar so you don't have to keep moving past me in both directions? This would not only save me from getting annoyed by you, it would save you money. Get off my lawn!!!

Back to the performance, since last night was Wilco's fourth taping of ACL, I was expecting to hear mostly new to newish tunes and I was perfectly ok with that. I'm not one of those people (assholes) who insists that anything after a band's first 1-3 records is total crap. In fact I think Wilco's latest album is really great. Much to my surprise the set list had lots of "classics" peppered in with the new tunes so even if you are one of those assholes you still got to hear some of your favorite songs. For the full set I'm going to refer you to the handy-dandy instagram photo from the official Austin City Limits TV Twitter.

My, personal, highlight moments were Nels Cline's guitar solo during, Impossible Germany and Nick Lowe guesting with Wilco to play, Cruel to be Kind. I have been to lots of concerts from a variety of artists playing a variety of genres. Many of these shows have brought tears to my eyes but I have never been so verklempt from a guitar solo. I can't even explain to you what made it so great but when Nels' solo wound down and Impossible Germany got back into its main riff, I lept from my seat, with tears in my eyes and clapped until my hands became chapped. I wasn't the only one moved by his guitar work. During the solo itself you could see each member of the band looking at Nels like proud papas. It was the most earnest and well-deserved standing ovation I've ever participated in and when I was trying to explain the scenario to someone at work today I started crying again. It was like that. Do I even need to explain what was so cool about Nick Lowe playing Cruel to be Kind with Wilco as his backing band? I feel like my hipster cred jumped up like 10-20 points just because I was in the room for that. If you were even near the W last night your hipster cred jumped 5 points just for being in the same zip code while that happened. Did that really happen?

All in all, I would say if you ever get a chance to see Wilco anywhere, you should go. If you are lucky enough to see a taping of Austin City Limits featuring any artist (except Bob Schneider(fuck that guy)), then you should go. Oh, and if you have any influence over who gets to go to Austin City Limits tapings then you should call me, we need to hang out more.

By the way, I don't know who took the shitty cell phone photos in this post but it wasn't me, I would NEVER break the rules like that. People are so rude.