Them's got ears let them hear
Them's got eyes let them see ~ Airline to Heaven
A night later, this show is still playing in my head. LeeAnn and I left the butterbean with his grandparents last night and took in Wilco (w/Andrew Bird) at the Wexner show at Mershon Auditorium. It was a great show. Even by Wilco standards.
We'd seen pretty much the same lineup on their last go-round through Columbus (also at Mershon) but in the intervening year or two, they've really gelled: the discussion over at Donewaiting is full of 'Nels Cline is God'-type arguments and—I gotta say—you'll get no argument from me. What a lush, layered texture his frequent fills provide. And Glenn Kotche? Wow. Just... wow. That guy can't phone nuthin in. From the El-train clatter of Via Chicago to the simplest beats off of A.M (Too Far Apart was particularly fine.)
Aw hell... the whole damn band is just spot-on. Believe it when the Aquarium Drunkard calls them "one of the tightest acts working today (at arguably the peak of their live powers.)"
The first treat of the night, for me? Tweedy was, literally, wearing his heart on his sleeve when he took the stage in a cardinals-n-roses Nudie Suit. It doesn't make me particularly clever to note the Gram Parsons association, but I'll do it anyway. Whatever—it made me smile, and combined with Jeff's shaggy caveman look it was awesome.
If you were at the show, yes, we all saw Nels take a stumbling, bumbling tripping fall right as the band took the stage. If you were my observant wife, as he lay there head over heels, you got a good, laughing look at his black-and-white striped "Hamburglar Socks" as she called them.
Also wonderful: Andrew Bird played violin with the band for one song, which gave them the excuse to play Jesus, Etc. in its original, album arrangement. I've seen 'em do that song... 6 times at least, and always to a faux-disco, keyboardy beat. Was really nice to finally get to hear "the real version" live. (Bird's opening set was nice—I wasn't moved to tears like Gus but only because of my post-LASIK dry eyes.)
To be honest, I've been semi-luke-warm on the new album (it's growing on me) but I know from past experience that the real love always comes after seeing the show. And, sure enough, I walked away with a new appreciation for a couple numbers: "Side With the Seeds" was a revelation ~ Tweedy's vocals really.. um... swaggered, if that's even close to the right word. And "Hate it Here" is such a great song. Sunny at first, ends on a down-note. Just like I like 'em.
Speaking of down-notes: Tweedy's extended guitar wankery on Spiders (Kidsmoke.) Yes, I have a long history of complaining about Tweedy's soloing. And he has a longer history of earning my complaints. Nuff said about that.
* Contrary to this entry title, the band (sadly) did not play what is probably my favorite song off of Sky Blue Sky. And if you're curious, I chose that title, and the accompanying picture, because this is pretty close to how I visually experienced the show: thru a haze of blurry-vision. Which wasn't that bad, cause the sound more than compensated.