Sunday, June 28, 2009
When We're Not Sure We're Not Alone
Whenever I plan to post about a concert, I have the best intentions of infusing my post with the pure rock emotion of the actual show, and I fail every time. I'm not a poetic, lyrical writer, as much as I'd like to be, which makes it difficult. I'm a boiler-down of ideas, if not a master-summarizer, with a small side order of humor and self-reflection. A very small side order. Any attempts to stray from my writing style reeks of smarmy-ness, which isn't really an issue if I'm writing about knitting, or dachshunds, or baseball, but I worry that it flattens out the rock show experience into Wesley-Willis-style reviews. You know, "I went to the rock show. There were about 100 people at the show. The rock show was awesome, it whooped the camel's ass" (for those of you unfamiliar with Wesley Willis, this is as close to a direct song quote as I can get without digging out a cd). Plus, while I take a lot of (semi-focused, point and shoot) photos, I don't write down anything during shows, so while I remember many of the hideously 80's inspired clothes that todays youth were unfortunately wearing, I can't faithfully recreate a set list--basically, I'm short on useful details, and long on tangents.
Anyway, that's a lot of space to apologize in advance if I undersell the Wilco show I saw last night at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, because it was truly a great show. Possibly the best Wilco show I've ever seen, with perfect sound, an incredible venue, and incredible energy. Note that I say this even though I tripped and badly turned my ankle almost immediately after getting out of my car, which made standing on concrete (and getting jostled by stoned hipsters) for hours physically uncomfortable. And if you are my brother K____ and reading this, I turned my ankle before having a single, 12-oz Heineken, so no smart comments.
Wilco's new album is coming out on Tuesday (currently streaming live here), and they mixed in the new songs with the old, which is always a plus--I hate to go to a show and hear one or two old songs, then an entire new album that I haven't heard yet, a couple of other old songs, and then one big hit as an encore. Stylistically, maybe it makes sense, but as a live-music consumer (ugh, what an awful term), I don't like it--it's too compartmentalized. Anyway, Wilco's set was really well balanced, if a little light on songs from their first album. I think that every album was represented in the set list, but I don't always remember which songs are on which albums so I can't say for sure. They didn't play my all-time favorite two-song Wilco combo (Blue Eyed Soul and Too Far Apart from A.M.), but maybe next time? Pretty please? You want song highlights, and not just the two songs that I wished I'd heard? I loved "You Are My Face", and "Hate It Here", and "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" is a really great live song. And I could go on and on.
Now a little something for the knitting-only readers: Since I was travelling by myself and am unfamiliar with the Berkeley area, I arrived over an hour before the doors opened, so I had a long wait & was glad that I brought some knitting. Then it was another long wait before Okkervil River (who were also really good--must get one of their albums immediately) went on. I had a nice shady spot in line and in the theater, and I managed to finish the gusset and turn the heel of the first SS09 sock, as documented in the iPhone photo below. I'm a little afraid to pick it up today, in case I made any mistakes. Also, although the photo is very fuzzy, there was a sock monkey onstage. A semi-goth, charcoal/black striped sock monkey.
"When We're Not Sure We're Not Alone": Wilco, "You Are My Face"