May 5, 2010

I know I’ll make it back / one of these days :: Wilco vinyl contest

summerteeth

On most days, my favorite Wilco album is Summerteeth (maybe on most warm days like today, or perhaps it would always be my favorite if I lived in California full time).

So today I am pleased to have a new contest to giveaway the 180-gram double disc gatefold vinyl of Summerteeth. The vinyl-loving folks over at Because Sound Matters let me pick something from their cool stock on vinyl to give away to you guys (not the Neil Young retrospective!), and with summer just around the corner, this one felt right.

shows_ive_seenTO WIN: Let’s talk about your favorite Wilco _______ (seemingly nonsensical but somehow profound song lyric, live concert moment, etc). You pick what to write about, and the responses will be enjoyable for me to read in these coming days of travel and services. I’ll pick a winner when I get home on Sunday night.



Me? Probably “Via Chicago” when I first saw it live in Denver and it wrenched at my insides when the song broke apart all dissonant. Still one of my favorite shows, and favorite things I’ve written about a show. It blew the veneer off my insides.

Via Chicago (live in Denver 9/1/07) – Wilco

But the wind blew me back via Chicago, in the middle of the night
And not without fight at the crush of veils and starlight

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52 Comments »

  • I saw Wilco for the first time in the summer of 2008. They were on tour with the Fleet Foxes at the time, but I was there for Wilco, and I watched their set impatiently. As I looked around, it seemed that the rest of the crowd shared my sentiment.
    After Wilco’s two and a half hour set, I discovered that I hadn’t needed to worry. After the extended third “lawn-core,” I was sure it was over. It had been a perfect night, but my heart was breaking at the thought that it had to end.
    As the crowd prepared to disperse, Jeff led the band back onto the stage for “just one more.” After the band had collected their instruments, he called out the Fleet Foxes, and they launched into one of the most heart wrenching versions of “I Shall Be Released,” that I’ve ever heard. The crowd loved it, because a Wilco crowd knows their stuff, and when Rick Danko’s verse came around, Jeff Tweedy stepped up to the microphone and sang those sad soulful notes in his stretched, wispy falsetto. His voice perfectly captured the tired longing of the song. It was gorgeous, and we all loved him for it. That was my favorite Wilco moment, and it was when I fell in love with The Fleet Foxes. This was the performance that was later offered on the Wilco website as an incentive to vote.

    Willis Plummer — May 5, 2010 @ 2:39 am

  • Good question – for me, the first ACLFest in 2002 was the first time I saw them live. After walking onto the stage in the late day with the sun beating down, Wilco busted out “Misunderstood” for the opening song. I had heard the song, sure, but had never truly “understood” it until that moment. The intensity behind the scremed snarl and pounding drums during the end where Tweedy shouts “NOTHING…NOTHING” just moved me and sent Wilco from the pack of several bands that i enjoyed a good bit into easily one of the top 2-3 of my fave acts of all time. after that one song.

    Kelly — May 5, 2010 @ 4:26 am

  • In August of 2008 Wilco played the first “rock n’ roll” show to be held in the austere environs of Tanglewood, normally the summertime home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Fear and trepidation has running high among Tanglewood officials who didn’t really understand that the Wilco demographic would be unlikely to tear up the sod on the beautifully manicured lawns.

    As usual Jeff made some specific remarks about the venue/location during the evening:

    “Do you guys shout requests at the BSO? ‘Mahler!’

    The band wore the famous “Nudie” suits and put on a three-hour extravaganza. For me, however, the highlight may have been the first few words of the opening song “Either Way”.

    After two weeks of unrelenting (and unusual) summer rains and storms the clouds seemed to part for Wilco’s arrival in Western Massachusetts. The band opened with a verse sweet to us all “Maybe the sun will shine today / The clouds will roll away ” from “Either Way” that immediately connected the audience to the band. It’s just that kind of touch that Wilco can pull off.

    Our ultimate reward? Three days of Wilco at the Solid Sound Festival in August! http://www.solidsoundfestival.com/

    Heather, got your tickets yet?

    K Cortez — May 5, 2010 @ 4:29 am

  • Well, my personal favorite Wilco moment was also about “Via Chicago”. I was a Wilco neophyte (only familiar with Being There/YHF and never seen them) who got tickets for a concert for my much bigger Wilco fan at the time girlfriend. They started playing the opening to “Via Chicago” and she squealed that it was her favorite. She turned around to give me a hug and looked deep into my eyes as sang along to opening lyrics: “I dreamed about killing you again last night/And it felt alright to me”.

    Of course, the performance then blew my mind, but that’s my personal favorite story.

    Kyle — May 5, 2010 @ 4:37 am

  • My first live “Misunderstood,” Red Rocks last year. The whole night was incredible really. Back in my old neighborhood as it were, two friends who had never seen Wilco before, a massive thunderstorm before an absolutely spectacular July evening, and a very special show I will never forget.

    thepolemarch — May 5, 2010 @ 5:57 am

  • I’m kind of a newbie to this whole indie scene, and I have yet to see Wilco live, so I think I will share a few thoughts on what Wilco has meant to me. I believe that I first came to hear of them not via Chicago but via my endless hours of scouring the vast ocean that is Pandora Internet radio. See, I have an obsession with the banjo, specifically in a non-bluegrass context. Somehow I stumbled upon “I Thought I Held You,” and from that moment I was hooked. It’s still one of my top 5 favorite songs of all-time. For me, this song has everything: an unorthodox yet beautiful combination of banjo, pedal steel, and drums along with Jeff’s soulful baritone. I know he doesn’t care for A.M. much, but I think it’s still my favorite album as a whole. That being said, I tried to get into Summerteeth a while back, and I just couldn’t do it. The only album’s I’ve heard are Being There, A.M., and Wilco (The Album). I guess deep down inside I’m more of a fan of the commercial side of Wilco, lol. And of course, Jeff’s stuff in Uncle Tupelo is great, too! I think this is one of the coolest blogs out there. It’s so nice to see bands I like get their due. In my current social universe, bands like Wilco are vastly underappreciated.

    vivamaxjohnston — May 5, 2010 @ 8:14 am

  • I have a plethora of favorite Wilco moments, but the best moment was when they came out in [mis] matching nudie suits and played Misunderstood at Lollapalooza in 2008. It was absolutely hilarious. They owned Grant Park that night and played a fantastic set. I’m pretty sure Tweedy was repping Pikachu… check it out: I have a plethora of favorite Wilco moments, but the best moment was when they came out in [mis] matching nudie suits and played Misunderstood at Lollapalooza in 2008. It was absolutely hilarious. They owned Grant Park that night and played a fantastic set. I’m pretty sure Tweedy was repping Pikachu… Fantastic. Check it out: http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2008/08/wilco_lollapalo.html

    ERM — May 5, 2010 @ 8:52 am

  • God this is a good, hard question. The first Wilco song I loved was “California Stars,” which came out my senior year of high school, and I saw them play at a folk festival. But I truly became a fan when Yankee Hotel Foxtrot came out. My friend Stacey (who continues to be a source for excellent music) introduced me to that album. It was our senior year of college and we were driving out to this national forest near school to hike up to a water tower to watch night fall. She promised me that after a few listens I’d be hooked and she was right. It was one of three albums I listened to on repeat that spring.

    After graduation I moved to Chicago and I became a Fan. I saw them for the first time in October of 2003 and saw them as much as I could after that for several years. Since they are based in Chicago that turned out to be a lot. I can’t choose a favorite moment. Maybe seeing them at Otto’s in DeKalb, right after Tweedy got out of rehab? I drove out there with a friend and it was an amazing show in such a small venue.

    Claire — May 5, 2010 @ 9:06 am

  • It was after my junior prom and we were all in the limo, shorn of the the more oppressive of our fancy garments, and the NOW that’s what I call cd’s we had picked up to psych us up on the way had long lost their charm. It was a half hour to home, we were all half asleep, and my friend Ethan put in a cd called Kicking Television: Live in Chicago. It remains, to this day, the best musical decision anyone I’ve ever known has ever made. The laziness, the jazz guitar solos, the bursts of noise with Jeff Tweedy’s barely-voice swimming around somewhere underneath it all. The part of Misunderstood where they just keep yelling “NOTHING!” over and over for what seems like ever. “Who is this, it’s awesome,” I said. “It’s Wilco, dumbass,” said Ethan. And so it was.

    Billy — May 5, 2010 @ 9:06 am

  • “When I forget how to talk, I sing” – She’s A Jar.

    What a great line. How many of us haven’t been able to say what we mean, and try to find another way to express ourselves? It’s especially great for those of us who write (like Jeff Tweedy), or try to write, or think these kinds of thoughts, intending to put them on paper, but never jot them down and give a mix-tape instead.

    Jay — May 5, 2010 @ 9:15 am

  • I saw Uncle Tupelo once, I saw Wilco’s first 4 or 5 shows in Philly (250 people at the TLA, sidestage at HORDE, etc), the best show was at the Camden Opera House in Camden, Maine in July 2000. Saw Tweedy with Golden Smog, too.

    Probably the proudest moment was announcing the only East Coast solo show Jeff is doing this summer at the Philadelphia Folk Festival http://www.folkfest.org

    You better believe no one saw that coming

    jesselun — May 5, 2010 @ 9:19 am

  • My favorite Wilco “_______” is probably the Wilco impulse, or sound-energy pulse, that strongly contributed to the growth of alt country. When I first heard this sound I was in early mid life, in my 30s, at home raising kids, and the sound I heard coming out of Uncle Tupelo/Son Volt/Wilco mixed with the music coming from south of Bakersfield and the Texas of early Lyle Lovett…it wasn’t on the radio…I had to go find it…but it sounded so right for the late 80s/early 90s. I didn’t like everything the band did, but damn, time after time they produced music that was …right.It primed me for others (R. Fontaine) but it also kept renewing itself. Wilco? just good music when I needed it…

    J — May 5, 2010 @ 9:35 am

  • It’s kind of a silly story actually, but back in college when money was tight (some things haven’t changed), I had just been getting into YHF and wanted to explore Wilco’s back catalogue. I’d read great things about Summerteeth and I loved “Via Chicago”, so I went down to the local used-record store in town (we still had one!) hoping specifically to find a copy of Summerteeth. It sounds funny, but even though it was a total long-shot and there was really no chance they’d have it, I had this feeling it would be there. Kind of a premonition, you could say. Anyway, we got there and under the “Wilco” divider… nothing. Bummed, I looked around and grabbed a couple other things. Then, for no good reason that I can remember now I decided to look over in the Used Country Music section… just in case. I thumbed through discs of groups I’d never heard of until, magically, in the middle of a row of Kenny Chesney records… I saw those blurry lips. I couldn’t believe it. It was my own little Wilco Miracle. Since then, Summerteeth has become one of my very favorite albums, by Wilco or anyone.

    This line in “When You Wake Up Feeling Old” always kinda makes me think of how me and Summerteeth got together… “Walk down any street you can find/Look at any clock telling time/Sing some strange verse from some strange song of vines/And you’ll be where you want to be”.

    Chris Tobler — May 5, 2010 @ 9:50 am

  • Wilco played a show last April at the Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, AL. The Sloss is an old steel foundry in downtown B’ham that has been converted into a music/event venue. Most of the smokestacks, smelting machines, railways are still there. Halfway thru ‘Handshake Drugs’a train starts to pass on the track adjacent to the venue blowing it’s horn, which was very loud..the band, almost on que, freezes(the drummer has his arms in mid-air)for what seemed like an eternity…the crowd grew louder and louder by the second. When the train had finally passed the band picked up right where they had left off and the audience erupted…when the song ends Tweedy looks over to Stirrat and says, “that was pretty cool.” A Wilco experiene both kick ass and funny

    Billy Shaw — May 5, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  • For me, it would have to be dancing to California Stars as the first dance with my wife. I will never forget that. And the very cool gift pack that Wilco management sent my wife and I after she asked them if they could play at our wedding. They couldn’t, but they did send a very cool package of a signed gig poster, photos, buttons and a letter of congrats. Wilco = AWESOME.

    Michael — May 5, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

  • I’ve had the fortune of seeing WILCO a bunch of times in Canada and the US. However, the one that stands out the most was the Sep 30, 2001 show in a small club in Winooski, Vermont. I had just moved to the US from Canada in the summer, and, like so many, was still in a state of disconnected shock at the end of September, 2001 – still looking anxiously in the sky at any plane that passed overhead. I’m fuzzy on the details now, but I remember the show being quite dark and noisy and Tweedy discussing their decision to proceed with the tour relatively soon after the attacks.

    The latest album at that time was Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which was a darker turn from Summerteeth in my estimation, and I found the lyrics to Jesus Etc. to be especially haunting that night: “Tall buildings shake, voices escape, singing sad sad songs”. Huddled in the small dark room with mostly young people still trying to find their emotional footing, I felt like there was a collective connection between the fans, the band, the music, and the moment.

    It was a memorable show for me as the band seemed to be desperate for expression through their music. It was also the first show that I saw Tweedy make an attempt at a guitar solo (now that Jay Bennett was gone without replacement) – he seemed pretty pleased with how it went.

    Matt — May 5, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

  • I should clarify that the YHF hadn’t been released in album form at that point (Sep 2001), but was streaming on the bands website and there were mp3s going around (the whole label issue came up that summer).

    Matt — May 5, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

  • My favorite moment was during a weirdly tense show, back in Washington DC on September 26, 2001. It was only a couple of weeks after the horrors of that certain date, and the band was still in the thick of the YHF turmoil which had the record’s future in doubt. They’d been streaming it online, though, and a lot of people heard it at least.

    Jeff at one point thanked everyone for downloading it, but also addressed the audience, encouraging us to sing along. He was saying how they were not even sure if they should go out on tour, leaving their families, and so forth at this time when a cap-wearing heckler yelled “What’s the label?!”

    Jeff then gave one of my all-time favorite quotes about music: “I was saying something about music, and people playing music together and singing. And how every moment and note of music is a march-step right in the face of death! And it always has been.

    And so, put your baseball hat back on. Don’t worry about the label. *You don’t need a label to make music.”*

    We cheered. The strumming for ‘California Stars’ started up and we sang every damn word.

    ~Rupe — May 5, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

  • Hmm, it’s gotta be “Outtasite (Outta Mind)”, the ultimate singalong-while-you’re-driving song. Hearing those first few crashing chords and I’m back in the cab of a Cat-955 farm tractor, driving across Antarctica at 4 mph, the midnight sun high and bright above the endless white landscape before me, and me belting out “Okay alright! okay alright!” to keep myself awake. Good times.

    Flash — May 5, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

  • For my entry I’ll link to a very brief blog post I wrote…

    http://aesthexperience.blogspot.com/2010/04/though-im-certainly-fan-of-planned.html

    Barbara — May 5, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

  • To narrow down one moment is harder than I thought. Along with my taking my son to see Wilco while still in utero(about 8 months along: still in mama and groovin’ along). I don’t know if it counts as “Wilco”, but Pecan Pie has to be one of my favorite Tweedy songs. Especially when he has sang it solo at bluegrass festivals.

    “now, don’t you call me key lime
    you are the apple of my eye
    don’t you know I’ll be fine
    whenever you’re by my side

    with a piece of pecan pie
    and you that’s all I want
    just a piece of pecan pie
    and all I want is you”

    Jon — May 5, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

  • Hi Heather,

    My name is Tim. you interviewed my band the hollyfelds for gigbot sometime ago, in what was probably my favorite interview ever, in the parking lot of one eyed jacks, after we pulled the tables outside to escape the video game noise. we were so young then…

    ANYWAY, my favorite wilco moment came on new years eve 2000 in vancouver, b.c. i was up visiting some friends who had tickets to see kiss at the gm dome, for what was billed as the taping of ‘kiss alive 3′. (it turned out to not be released, as kiss had advertised too late to guarantee a sell out and there were too many acts playing new years eve, including metallica in seattle). so there i was, on the floor of essentially mcnichols areas mark II, drunk as shit at 10pm after starting drinking with psychotic canadians at noon, 17 beers deep and amazed that I could even stand, surrounded by hard core kiss devotees in full make up, rehearsing moves from kiss meets the phantom of the phantom of the park, when some canadian a-hole in front of us sparks up a joint and starts passing it around. i hit it, then hit again, and then again as it makes its way around just before the video kicks on the big screens, introducing the history of kiss. kiss is awesome, the video says, as the hyper-edited clips play too fast for me to comprehend. suddenly, i realize, i’m massively fucked up in the middle of 20,000 people. it should be noted that i usually just say no. but i didn’t. oh boy.

    kiss comes out to a giant fireball display. huge flames burst from the stage, licking the ceiling. ace freeley is back playing for them, in a rare showing of solidarity and financial acumen. the flames startle me. the kick drum starts to choke me. the crowd rushes forward towards their heroes, and i panic from the drugs. i want to freak out, i want to breath but the bass drum won’t let me, and instead keeps me from breathing. the guy who passed the joint gave me a sideways look, then turned back to the show like he was in on something. the shit was laced, i knew it, and i’d hit it three times! my canadian friends with their cliche’d accents turned and studied my face after the first song had passed. ‘Boy, you don’t look so good’ said chris the psychotic new finlander, who then consulted with his girlfriend donna. donna’s eyes grew wide with terror as she studied my face, which in turn made me more paranoid about my condition. i told them i didn’t feel so good. ‘c’mon, boy,’ chris said, and took me by the arm through the crowd. i was out of control, flailing into people as chris dragged me through the crowd like kid in trouble by the upper arm. i tried apologizing through increasing mixed words, none of which came out right. then we marched up the stairs to the seats at the right side of the stage, partially obstructed by the speakers. they were not good seats.

    ‘stay here, and don’t move until we come for you,’ chris said. i nodded, glad to be sitting, and watched him decend to the floor again. i looked around me at the victims of kiss; the guy with the vomit drool, the passed out girls with their mouths open, the guy slumped over two seats-i was in the wasted friend section. the only difference between me and everyone else was that i knew it. fuuuuuck. I watched what i could see of the band, but i didn’t like kiss in actuality, so little of their set stuck with me. i wished to be sober. there was no place like home…no place like home….

    and like that, chris was back for me. ‘c’mon, boy!’ he said, and dragged me back down the stairs, back through the crowd. i asked him why he was back so quickly, and he said he’d been gone at least a 45 minutes. i hadn’t noticed.

    Paul Stanley counted down the new year, but was off from the clock in the arena. ‘five…four…’ he looked back at the drummer, then at the clock. it was midnight. they’d fucked up ‘kiss alive 3′, instead getting the countdown wrong. he tried to apologize, but instead it was anticlimactic. it was then that the words for ‘what’s the world got in store’ came to my head. ‘it’s the end of a century/and i can’t think of anything/except you’ from being there, a minor track that will probably never get played again (although playing kiss covers/beautiful and stoned will live forever but that was several years from 2000). at that moment, so fucked up i couldn’t even stand, i thought of wilco at 1999′s end, and wished they were playing instead of fat old men in face makeup. on the other hand, if wilco could have been anywhere in the world for the close of the 20th century…

    after that they played ’2000 man’, then slung into a heavy set of well known songs. the drugs lost their edge and i became fun on the floor of the gm center, along with the 20,000 others. kiss didn’t release the set as kiss alive 3, though it is on the back of some box set i found at bart’s cd cellar in boulder (sadly now out of business!) they can have the year 2000. but wilco will always be what i think of when i think of that show.

    hope you’re well, heather. come see us on May 28th at the triple nickel if you get a chance!

    Tim

    Teamocil — May 5, 2010 @ 11:54 pm

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  • I own all of Wilco’s vinyl except summerteeth…ironic. My Wilco moment is one slightly edgy tale.

    One night my friends and I are chilling at my house after getting back from a show that we played early and we decided to put Wilco’s “A Ghost Is Born”. We all were in an altered state of consciousness and a girl we haven’t seen in about a year just walks in our house and starts telling us that we live in the house that her best friend from high school shot and killed herself in.

    We all instantly transform into a different mood from the chill relaxing vibe we were in. She goes on to say that people say our house is haunted by her ghost. At this moment, I know I was thinking but I’m sure everyone else was thinking also that we picked an interesting Wilco album to put on during this event.

    The most ironic thing of all is that after we all heard the story about how our house may be haunted the song “Theologians” is playing and at the end of that song the lyrics start saying a ghost is born and I’m a cherry ghost….so now whenever the ‘ghost’ is brought up in conversations we’ll refer to her as the cherry ghost.

    Jonathan McMillan — May 6, 2010 @ 9:40 am

  • I wish I had a Wilco concert moment to share, but I do not. Though I have lived in the Chicago area for almost 13 years, I have not had a chance to see one of my favorite bands perform live…yet. I am kinda ashamed of myself for that.
    I do have a Jeff Tweedy moment, however. I was at a very popular jewelry store about 3 years ago, looking at items I could never afford. I was about to leave when I spotted Jeff and his eldest son shopping near the exit. It was close to Mother’s Day, so I am guessing that is why they were there, just as I was.
    I thought about saying hello, but decided not to because those moments (between father and son) are special and should never be interrupted. Perhaps I will have another chance someday…and if not, that’s OK with me.

    Kurt — May 6, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  • On most days (warm or cold) I can’t decide between a favorite album b/c their musical style has evolved so much over each consecutive album. Summerteeth is definitely awesome and heavily underrated so kudos for your pick.

    My favorite Wilco lyric (find it at bemydemon) goes as follows:
    As your spine starts to shine
    You shiver at your soul

    Especially in the context of the sonic blizzard that is “Less Than You Think”, it somehow gets a world of meaning. I guess shining spines come from the land of cherry ghosts, where people assassin down the avenue, pretty war is a term of endearment for a sweetheart, and liquor gets served in aquariums. Keep giving us those Electronic surgical words Mr.Tweedy.

    Christopher — May 6, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

  • Trying to decide which “Wilco” story is best…I think I’ll have to jump to Uncle Tupelo. 1990 NLCS Reds – Pirates – game 6 – Reds win to go to the World Series. We decide to celebrate after the game and go to a bar called Shorty’s On Vine. We’ve already enjoyed many beers at the game and we decide to head the Shorty’s because my friend was the owner. When we get there door guy let’s us in free because there was literally 8 people in the bar and they needed to sell some drinks. As we get our 1st drink I ask who the band is but don’t hear the answer because it is so loud. We go in the room where the band is playing as they are just finishing a song. My brother (who went to SLU) leans over says “I know these guys – I saw them in St. Louis a few times.” At that point the man who I will soon know as Tweedy steps to mic and says in a shy and sorta pissed off way “I think we’re just gonna play Neil Young tunes the rest of the night for ya…” and the proceed to destroy Down by the River and several other Neil tunes. It was one of the best nights of my life.

    El Bandito — May 6, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

  • My first show was at your 9/1 recording of Via Chicago(god I love the Paramount.) I’ve been a fan since AM but a long serious of unfortunate events left me without a live show. Quite simply, I was blown away and my love for the band has been a little unhealthy since. My favorite was a road trip I made from Fort Collins, to pick up a friend in Wichita on to Tulsa where they played at the legendary Cains Ballroom. Hearing them play Forget the Flowers where all the legendary texas playboys used to play was pretty special. That song also captures everything that makes tweedy so special. Classic, simple, humorous, humble, and a little aloof.

    You’re trying my patience
    Try pink carnations
    Red roses, yellow daffodils

    Konan Hauser — May 6, 2010 @ 4:11 pm

  • In the Fall of 2007, my friends and I bought tickets for our first Wilco show-to be held in Detroit. We had all just gotten into Wilco with the release of Sky Blue Sky and were pumped, to say the least. After buying the tickets and before the show, I accepted a position at a company in Raleigh, NC. I easily found a buyer for my ticket, but it was bittersweet.

    My first week in Raleigh I found out a stop on the tour that very weekend was at the Charlottesville Pavilion, in Charlottesville, VA. It took two seconds to press “Buy Ticket”. Three or four days later I drove the 4 hours (each way, in one night) to see the show. It was something I had never done before and was completely out of character for me. I figured, ‘why not? New city, new you.’

    I arrived early and was somewhere around the 10th row, standing dead center. Although I still swear Jeff Tweedy sang parts of Handshake Drugs to me mid-show, it’s not my favorite My favorite was the opener-Sunken Treasure.

    They all came out at once, but only Jeff got things going with his acoustic and a harmonica. I had chills instantly-it was by far my favorite concert moment ever. And that’s a bold statement from me. The rest of the show was fantastic and a life-long Wilco fan was born.

    To me the song (and the band) represent the pleasant giddiness of going on a unknown adventure. That’s why Sunken Treasure (10.20.07) is my favorite Wilco show/song/moment.

    Kevin — May 6, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

  • Living in St. Louis, (and being from Illinois) Wilco & the Tweed are near and dear. So many Wilco moments…

    But the most poignant was back in 2002. The indie record store chain I’d worked at for over a decade had been sold. They told us it would be okay, nothing would really change, but of course this was not the case and everything was going to hell in a handbasket fast. That November, a bunch of us had scattered seats for the Wilco show. I had an aisle seat about ten rows back; as usual, I was mesmerized. Then the band eased into “Misunderstood”. The whole crowd was on it’s feet singing, me too. Lyrics pierced me. “Honest when you’re tellin’ a lie”, “Do you still love rock and roll?”, ‘Positively unemployed”, “bleeding out your heart full of soul”. It all spoke right to my betrayed soul. Everyone chanted, “I’d like to thank you all for nothin’ at all!”. Tears in my eyes, I screamed those words, my hurt pouring out, my angry fist in the air. Something made me turn, and there was my friend and co-worker, Tom, standing next to me. Screaming, hurt, fist pumping. “Nothin’! Nothin’! Nothin’! NOTHIN’! NOTHIN’!” Together, we spit out those words with venom. It was personal. We both knew it was the end and there was nothing we could do about it. The best job we ever had was as good as over. We screamed to the ones who ruined it, “I’d like to thank you, thank you all for nothin’, nothin’, nothin’, NOTHIN’ at all.”

    ruralgurl — May 6, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

  • “He must be down in Pensacola hiding from the snow” – one of my favorites, because it’s where I live, and when my then girlfriend now wife and I went back to her hometown to see them play (a show that got rescheduled due to a last minute, post writer strike appearance on SNL) she let out a howl that belies her 4’11″ when Tweedy sang that line. It was especially loud since we were 600 miles from Pensacola, and it’s plainly heard on the bootleg copy of the show (Charleston 8/07/08) that I have. So now, I can hear my wife sing a duet with Tweedy anytime. Take that Fiest!

    Harley — May 7, 2010 @ 6:35 am

  • One of my favorite Wilco moments on record is the guitar solo in Impossible Germany. Nels’ playing is just about perfect. It’s definitely one of my favorite guitar solos ever. And seeing it live is always a highlight for me. Nels never fails to melt my face.

    Travis — May 7, 2010 @ 8:28 am

  • My first Wilco show was during my freshmen year at the University of Colorado – Boulder. It was 2001 and they actually played on campus, at the beautiful Macky Auditorium. It was right when Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was in limbo of being released, and to about a quarter-full theatre, Wilco, with opener Bright Eyes, played an incredible set that mesmerized a young, slightly drunk, dumb freshmen student. This time in my life marked my first time away from home, but it also seemed like Wilco was just starting to leave home too (being without label support)and there was a sort of uneasiness strung throughout all of us that released at the end of “Misunderstood”… I remember walking back to my dorm thinking “this is a band that I will be able to enjoy and dig for the rest of my life”.

    Tyler — May 7, 2010 @ 9:11 am

  • My favorite Wilco FILM: ASHES OF AMERICAN FLAGS

    There is a song on Wilco (The Album)(http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/13237-wilco-the-album/), the band’s new record released yesterday that goes “I’ll fight, I’ll fight, I’ll fight, I’ll fight for you/ I’ll die, I’ll die, I’ll die, I’ll die for you/ I will, I will, I will.” It’s not one of the greatest lyrics in the Wilco songbook or even a standout cut on the new album, but when bandleader Jeff Tweedy sings those words, perhaps more than I would any other singer today, I believe him.

    And now we have Ashes of American Flags, a tour film that follows the band’s 2008 southern trek, including two nights at Tipitina’s Uptown in New Orleans. My friends and I attended one of those magnificent shows, and before the band even took stage with its exuberant horn section and blistering guitars, I was awestruck by the concert poster: an ink black background highlighted by the white-lined, crescent-shaped city grid of New Orleans stained with a curving brush stroke of red where the Mighty Mississippi should be. The red could represent paint and art and the whole of creativity cresting up through the Marigny into South Louisiana. It could represent blood. There’s been that, too.

    Former Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, a consummate musician who when I interviewed him in New York City in 2003, showed an uncommon commitment to social issues, directs Ashes with a close-up elegance. It’s a worthy—but not too wordy—travelogue about the faded glory of folk and the subcultures that spawn unique music, a lament to the passing of small town America in the wake of Army Wal-Mart. The messages are subtle, but they make enough connections with me, and I assume twentysomethings across the country, to signal some form of zeitgeist for the band.

    Ashes shows Wilco guitarist Pat Sansome scavenging bombed out, abandoned downtowns for William Eggleston-esque photo ops. He uses a Polaroid camera, an obsolete technology, to capture traces of these obsolete corners of America. I have a friend who does the same thing. Meanwhile, Tweedy muses about the origins and purpose of music and how modern American culture and ethos affect both the medium and the message of his craft. These are issues my friends and I talk about all the time. Representative art and storytelling versus abstraction and cynicism. Who wins? Should either win? And, what does it all mean?

    “We feel like we’re home,” Tweedy announced at the start of the band’s recent Jazz Fest set. “Well, John is.” Bassist John Stiratt, the only remaining original member of the band along with Tweedy, grew up in New Orleans and Mandeville where he witnessed white flight, cultural integration and segregation, jazz, blues and Wings, all of which inform some portion of Wilco’s music. In the pre-concert interview with Rolling Stone editor David Fricke I attended, Stiratt praised his music-laden NOLA upbringing (though for the record, he did say he chose Ole Miss over LSU because Baton Rouge didn’t “smell right.”) and coyly previewed Wilco (The Album) by describing it as the band’s attempt to improve on 1999’s Summerteeth. Who among us doesn’t want another shot, a do-over?

    Unfortunately Tweedy will never get the chance to mend his relationship with Jay Bennett. On May 24, the former Wilco multi-instrumentalist died of an overdose of painkillers on the eve of having a complicated hip surgery. With Bennett’s unfortunate passing, Wilco made another, more sobering connection with both celebrity and Main Street America—the band is even dying like everyone else.

    Through it all, though, Tweedy & Co. should be commended not only for releasing charity singles like a cover of Guthrie’s still-timely “The Jolly Banker” during this recession, but for time and again opening themselves up to the type of scrutiny these documentary films invite, and the criticism of a sure-to-be-divisive new album. Perhaps showing its age more than any post-Bennett laurel resting, Wilco has been derided by some lately as purveyors of “Dad rock.”

    But when Tweedy sings: “Are you being attacked? This is a fact you need to know: Wilco will love you, baby,” on “Wilco (the Song),” a sparkling new composition the band debuted on The Colbert Report, where Tweedy discussed his old Chicago friend—and current U.S. President—Barack Obama, it is never ironic or patronizing. It is, simply put, a band stepping up to represent us and our concerns, and to remind us with a wink that putting headphones and listening to music never hurts. So if Wilco doesn’t literally fight for its fans, then at least the band has offered us three minutes of comfort in turbulent times. Maybe that’s what dads do best.

    Jeff — May 7, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  • The moment where the the instrumental part of At Least That’s What You Said starts. I think Jeff is the best song writer going right now, but he’s never written a lyric that’s even remotely as painful, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, beautiful as that one sad guitar building into an almost overwhelming wall of sound and distortion. I love that there aren’t anymore vocal parts in that song, because it doesn’t need them. He says everything he ever could right there. I can’t really put into words what it is (which make it a poor choice of subject for a writing contest, I suppose), but something about it just kills me. I hardly ever become emotionally affected by music, but that song once came up on my iPod shuffle on a particularly sad day and made me just break down. To cause that sort of reaction without even saying a word well….that says just about everything you need to know about why Wilco is so amazing.

    Adam — May 7, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

  • My first Wilco show was 8/20/03 at the beautiful and luxurious Auditorium Theatre in my and Wilco’s hometown of Chicago . I was a casual listener at the time – I’ll admit – I was a junior in highschool, about 17 years old and mostly listened to what I heard on the radio. My friend who had begun a year before delving into Radiohead (we’d go to a show at Alpine Valley that summer to see them – another religious experience), Sigur Ros, and of course Wilco for about a year or two. He was always telling me you gotta listen to these bands – loaning me mixes, asking me to come to concerts. I finally acquiesced. I did my homework before the show and discovered it was their last show of a seemingly 2 year endless tour supporting their masterpiece ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’. This was the homecoming Wilco and Jeff Tweedy had been waiting for. The days leading up to the show, I listened to their discography over and over to learn lyrics and find songs I wanted to root for to hear(and my friend even sent me tons of live ‘demo’s’ from the tour for what would become ‘A Ghost is Born’). Here is all you need to know – The band and Jeff came out and jumped into ‘Misunderstood’ (#1 on my, please…please…please play! list’). The song was utter perfection as summer in Chicago made a dash for the fall …’when you’re back in your neighborhood’ – Chicago goes wild, back home indeed. As the song hit its climax, we were thanked ‘for nothing, nothing at all’. It was the opposite, Jeff was thanking his hometown and I was thankful as well. My journey with Wilco had begun.

    CJ — May 8, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  • Heather I’m completely obsessed with Wilco!
    They just played here in New Zealand last week and I went to see them for the third time. An amzazing show and my favourite Wilco moment to date happened when they played my favourite song and online request, She’s a jar (because I love the poetry, “a sleepy kisser,a pretty war, with feelings hid, she begs me not to mis her” unh! and I can’t resist the harmonica).
    Jeff introduced it, after telling a rowdy woman in the balcony to stop talking, as a song coincidentally about hitting women! I had a prime spot in the front row directly below Jeff and my friend says I had a gaze of intense adoration lol. It was so beautiful live. At the end Jeff said, “but now we made everyone sad after playing all those happy songs” I told him it was my request, me all beaming-glowy-smiley lol, and he said, “Well at least you’re happy”.
    A moment I’ve repeatedly run through my mind since:)

    kristan — May 8, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

  • Do You Remember The Mountain Bed, In Missoula, 2010. I grew up in Illinois, have loved Wilco’s music since the AM days. There have been numerous times where their music just fits the moment perfect. Riding a Greyhound bus from Chicago to Champaign listening to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot for the first time, and the second time, and the third! Via Chicago at a show in the North West when you are missing loved ones back ‘home.’ I could go on and on. None compare to ‘Mountain Bed’ last Feb. in Missoula, my new ‘home.’ Tweedy ‘we never play this song, but this town is so beautiful, that’s why we played mountain bed, for you!’ A special song about a special place, wherever that may be!

    matt — May 8, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

  • Though I’m often drawn into the emotional treachery of a good Wilco song, nothing quite strikes me like the chorus of Radio Cure. For a song with such cryptic, bleak imagery and sparse instrumentation, the moment that is shifts into the chorus and the percussion comes up is simply joyous.

    Then the line “Oh, distance has no way of making love understandable” is one that always plants itself in the back of my head. I can never quite decide the meaning of this statement, and especially live Tweedy sings with just enough of a mutter that I’m not always sure if he’s saying “distance has no way” or “distance has a way”. The yearning in his voice as he emphasizes “making love” and then pauses before “understandable” almost as if its an afterthought, makes me question the meaning further.This moment just seems so complex and manages to give a bizarre feeling of hope in an otherwise somber song.
    Brilliant.

    Thomas — May 8, 2010 @ 11:58 pm

  • QUOTE:Tweedy sings with just enough of a mutter that I’m not always sure if he’s saying “distance has no way” or “distance has a way”

    I’ve been back and forth between these two for quite some time before finally looking it up on bemydemon. If you’re fond of your little enigma, I suggest you don’t.

    You see, if it’s “a”, it could be as simple as to be an extension of the expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Not that expressions are always on the money (i.e. “the exception that confirms the rule”).

    If it’s “no” it makes perfect sense as well. You see “Radio Cure”, to me, is all about the way the brittle hope love songs give people whose head is filled with “silvery stuff”, an image most likely refering to Jeff’s migraines, as good an image of pain as any, but in my opion it’s meant to metaphorically describe people who are easily hurt but the hazards of love.

    “Picking apples for the kings and queens of things I’ve never seen”

    Sound familiar? People set themselves up for disappointment, working on themselves endlessly, all to get a shot at a love that the radio songs promise.

    But Wilco always add sweet to bitter, cheer up honey, I hope you can. If nothing else, Wilco will love you baby.

    Christopher — May 9, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

  • oh…right now, my favorite Wilco song is the version of Jesus, etc. on Kicking Television, because it’s my baby’s favorite lullaby. It puts him to sleep with a smile on his face.

    Luis — May 9, 2010 @ 8:28 pm

  • I’ve never seen Wilco live, sadly, so I can only talk about my favorite recorded moment, and that has to be the end notes of the Hell is Chrome guitar solo, when everything suddnly bursts with color. I can see the colors every time, even though there are no real colors but only sounds. No one else has managed to do that.

    Guyha — May 10, 2010 @ 3:05 am

  • Guyha, my favorite Wilco record moment is in Summerteeth’s “Pieholden Suite” right after Jeff starts singing “In the beginning…..we closed our eyes….Whenever we kissed we were surprised to find so much inside”. Just magical, some of my all-time favorite Jeff Tweedy poetry and a song progression that couldn’t be more sweet and soothing.

    About the colors bursting, I have that every time ViaChicago explodes into controlled chaos, the moment Heather mentioned in the original post. I know many a Wilco fan that’d name that split second as their favorite live moment at every show.

    I’ll go a step further even, Wilco songs such as IATTBYH can conjure up very complex and well-defined images in my head every single time. It’s pretty hard to achieve such a thing.

    On a side note, everyone who’s reading these comments, especially fly by night Wilco fans should immediately check out some of the songs where Jeff put lost Woody Guthrie poetry to music. Especially “Remember The Mountain Bed” and “When The Roses Bloom Again” are some of the best music and lyrics combinations you’ll ever have the pleasure of hearing. I’m biased, but you won’t regret following this recommendation.

    Christopher — May 10, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  • “The ashtray says
    You were up all night”
    2 Lines that pretty much tell you the emotion of the song. The rest just falls into place.

    Mike — May 10, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

  • I think that whole verse is awesome.

    The ashtray says
    You were up all night
    When you went to bed
    With your darkest mind

    Your pillow wept
    You covered your eyes
    And you finally slept
    While the sun caught fire

    Christopher — May 11, 2010 @ 7:26 am

  • As a longtime Uncle Tupelo fan and Chicago resident, I saw Wilco play live a lot in the 90′s. Prior to the release of Being There, Wilco played a show at Navy Pier and absolutely went off on “Misunderstood”. It was the first time they had completely deconstructed a song and made it noisy and sloppy rocky. Everyone around me was stunned and guessing who wrote the song. Guesses ranged from Procol Harum to Mott the Hoople. In the end – and only about 3 months later when the album was released, did we know it was an original. That, for me, was the moment Wilco stopped being a little alt country band and started being bigger.

    Jeremy — May 11, 2010 @ 7:46 am

  • My second-favorite WILCO moment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pknVUj_kNmY

    Shelburne Museum, Vermont, Summer 2007.

    Matt — May 11, 2010 @ 9:57 am

  • My favorite Wilco thought is of a formative-days experience. I was living in Knoxville back in 1991 and had caught a short piece in Rolling Stone on up-and-coming bands that described Uncle Tupelo as “Neil Young meets Husker Du.” Soon after, I found that Uncle Tupelo was heading to a local club that April, and I decided to check them out. Earlier the day of the show I ran across an Uncle Tupelo cassette in a used record shop called “Not Forever, Just For Now” and picked it up for $1.50. It sounded great.

    That night I sat at a table near the stage for their show, among a crowd of maybe 50 people. While their set of originals was excellent, I lit up and hollered when they did a cover of Minutemen’s “I Felt Like A Gringo,” and when they wrapped up I was surprised to find Tweedy heading right to my table and taking a seat. “You were the one who liked the Minutemen cover, right?” It happened that I had a recorder with me and had taped the show, and left the tape running as Jay and Mike joined Jeff at my table and we all talked for a while. I offered them a place to crash and they considered taking me up on it, but it appeared that the club owner had a solid arrangement for them for the night.

    I mentioned the cassette I’d bought earlier and they looked at me like I was nuts. “You have a copy of that? WE don’t even have a copy of that.” As they explained, a few hundred copies had been made to distribute to radio stations and had been long gone. They asked to see it, and after I grabbed it from my car I had them all sign the cassette’s cover card. Later I heard many, though not all, of that tape’s songs, re-recorded for their “No Depression” album, and after all these years I still prefer the tape. And, yep, after all these years, I’ve still got “Not Forever” and the tape of the show and the chat. They had asked me to send a copy of the tape of the show to Tony Margherita, their manager, and I went so far as to give him a call, but ended up forgetting about it. Maybe now’s the time, almost 20 years later, with Tony still doing duty with Wilco.

    Hays — May 11, 2010 @ 11:33 am

  • Two memorable moments. first was their 2008 show at tanglewood and when they played “Remember the Mountain Bed.” what fits more than that. Also, saw them in April at the Wellmont in NJ and the acoustic mini set was fantastic, especially “Laminated Cat” which was a song i really did not know well until that night.

    Bob — May 13, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

  • i’ve been enjoying these comments so much that i’ve left the contest open all week. you have til the end of this weekend and then (then!) i will pick a winner. such great reflections, guys. it warms all the wilco cockles of my heart.

    browneheather — May 14, 2010 @ 11:46 am

  • the winner is Christopher! Thanks all for playing along. I LOVED reading your entries.

    browneheather — May 17, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

  • Wow awesome, like everyone who ever won anything in the history of time ever said: this is so unexpected.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go brag on the Wilco fan forum (viachicago).

    Christopher — May 17, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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