I've always been a lover of good music. When all the 7th graders were into New Kids on the Block, I was into U2 (before it was cool to be into U2) and the Cure. What does that tell you? Don’t answer that.
In college, my dad hooked me up with a summer internship at a local hard rock station via a friend of his. She needed some free help and well, I needed the experience and college credit for my broadcasting degree. Being the program director's assistant meant I got first choice of CDs they were giving away and that is how Wilco's A.M. radio ended up in my hands. I remember when I opened the box, there was an actually promotional, functional A.M. radio. First listen, I knew I had struck gold but everyone around me was like "Wilco who?" and I still get that same response. You know what, more Wilco for me.
The whole knowing about Wilco came in handy when I was trying to impress a guy (I know, really classy -- the same trick worked for the band Phish too). When a guy I liked found out I had purchased Wilco's "Being There" he asked me to dinner. If I wouldn't have pulled out that Wilco card in 1997, I would not have meet my husband as that guy ended up introducing us years later.
I have to admit, I really didn't know much about the band members then because I felt pretty stupid not to know the whole Uncle Tupelo phenomenon and how Jeff Tweedy pioneered the country rock or alternative country movement. One friend proclaimed I couldn't like Son Volt and Wilco. "You have to pick sides -- Jeff or Jay." The good news was that I didn't like Son Volt -- too whiny (this coming from the person who loved The Cure).
In the next millennium, I dated a huge Wilco fanatic. He was quite impressed that I did in fact, had some Wilco in my collection. Then Wilco was coming to town and guess what, we broke up. He got the tickets and I was pretty heartbroken -- not over the failed romance but that I wasn't going to see Wilco. Somehow I lived.
I didn't get to see Wilco until 2005 -- almost ten years after I had discovered them. I witnessed what Glenn Kotche said was the worst Wilco show -- their set at the Sasquatch Festival. I didn't think it was all that bad except for the sound was completely off (the venue's fault) and it was over 100 degrees.
Fast forward to last night. We left Lil B with his aunt to spend the day and night. This was hard and damn it, Wilco is a band I would leave my child with his aunt so I could enjoy. We also hired a Britt Sitter (someone you pay $20 to stand in line for you so you can be one of the 150 ppl they allow to sit in the front) to stand in position until we arrived. After a game of shuffleboard in which Ryan and I killed my husband and Ethan, we headed up the hill to the Britt Pavilion. In 4th position was our faithful sitter -- there was no way we would not get front row. We listened to the sound check, Brian tell his "Pearl Jam story" and game of quoting "Anchorman" while waiting 90 mins for the gate to open. In preparation for the hot Southern Oregon climate, I drank a lot of water and had to find the bathroom. On my way back, I spotted the emo looking dude from Wilco (Pat Sansone, at the time I couldn't remember his name) walking down the road. I wanted to stop him and get a photo but I was alone so I told him "have a great show" and he said thanks. A little starstuck, I went back to my #5 position (Ethan had #4, Brian had #6) and waited.
The Britt folks take care of their members. They lined us up outside the venue and prepped us so we could run and grab our spots. We ran and grabbed front and center!!!! The cool thing is the stage is only raised a foot above the ground which meant we were pretty much gonna be eye-level with Wilco!!! More waiting, through the open act and then the prep for Wilco and then, they entered the stage. I said to Brian "um, Jeff Tweedy isn't very tall" and there were many exchanges about his Breedlove Guitars (which Brian plays and are made in Bend).
Words can't explain how cool it was to experience the show from front and center. The songs were amazing as Wilco knows how to put on a show. Twice, Jeff Tweedy was inches from me, within reach. The first time Jeff Tweedy came down during Kidsmoke (spiders) and had the kid RIGHT NEXT TO ME play his guitar. I was a little awestruck that a guitar playing legend was with in INCHES of me. After the show, he came up to the kid, STILL RIGHT NEXT TO ME, and handed him the guitar pick. The kid is one of the many Britt Sitters you can hire. He was #3 in line with us (I was #5) and was really excited for the show.
I'm sure there is a lot more I could ramble on about but you already know I'm a Wilco geek. You can check out the photos from the show here along with photos from the Bend and Edgefield shows from the previous summers.
One last thing, this show was so awesome that it knocked the Radiohead show I saw at Red Rocks in 2001 out of the #2 spot. My top 10 shows now go in this order:
1. U2, Zoo TV Tour, Ames, IA, 1992
2. Wilco, Britt Pavilion, Jacksonville, OR 2009
3. Radiohead/Beta Band, Red Rocks, Morrison CO, 2001
4. Phish, Minneapolis Convention Center, 1999
5. Beck with The Flaming Lips, Lawrence, KS 2002
6. Wilco, Edgefield, Gresham OR, 2007
7. Flaming Lips, LSA, Bend, OR 2006
8. Beck, LSA, Bend, OR 2006
9. U2, Pop Mart, Arrowhead Stadium, KS, MO 1998
10. Phish, Alpine Valley Amphitheatre, Wisconsin, 1998
I will now go geek out to the new Wilco album called "Wilco." Yes, there is a song called "Wilco" and it's tastefully done and isn't cheesy.