Monday, June 25, 2007

Jesus, etc., VH1?

The Wilco show at the Pines Theater in Northampton's Look Park was recorded by VH-1 for broadcast.

It was an unbelievably lovely evening (the predicted thunderstorms never arrived), and aside from the fact that coolers and bottled beverages, including water, were banned (beer, and good beer at that, was $6 a cup inside), there wasn't a thing to be crabby about. If you don't include the performance of opening band Low, that is. (Let me digress. Low belongs to the school of "play it slow" dirges that are supposedly influenced by Nick Drake. Not quite. It's more a case of, "I can't play it any faster." Hence the absence of any mid or up-tempo songs. I much preferred the punk ethic of "I can't play it well, but I can play it loud and fast." And punk songs rarely breeched the 3 minute mark. Low's went on and on and on.)

Wilco sounded comfortable, accomplished and superb. This is the first time that I've seen the band when Jeff Tweedy actually seemed to be enjoying himself. There were broad smiles instead of the snarls of the past, and Tweedy kept up an active conversation with the crowd at the foot of the stage. To Tweedy's mock consternation, one fan kept shouting out the title of the next song on the setlist before Tweedy could strike a note. When asked by Tweedy how he was doing it, the fan claimed to know which song was coming based on the guitar the roady handed to the singer. Tweedy said, "Got to buy some new guitars." Another fan tossed some hand-crocheted sweat bands inscribed with the band members names. The band dutifully wore the headbands for the next song, and some kept them on until the encore. Tweety acrobatically caught red licorice bites thrown from the audience in his mouth. And between two of the songs, the lights went up on the audience and Tweedy waved to a little girl sitting on her dad's shoulder, "Hello, Sweetie," he said. "Oh she's not paying attention. Hello, hello, I'm the creepy rock guy up on stage."

Danton at the Courant was there too.

It's a big week at Look Park, with Dylan there on Tuesday, and Morrissey on Wednesday. What will the neighbors think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was at the show on Sunday also. It was my first Wilco show and left very impressed, except for the fact that they should mix it up a little bit from night to night. I also love the Pines, what an awesome, intimate little outdoor venue.