Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Buried In Sound

I am shattered. I saw Wilco at the Greek Theatre in L.A. last night. I worked on the way up, and the way down; sat in traffic for a million years. Then I got home this afternoon and immediately went to The Vine for five hours.

I am burnt out, toxificated, and jellied. But man oh man was that a fucking great show.

I love Wilco, and this is no news to anyone who knows me or even someone who doesn’t know me but perhaps occasionally reads my blog. I LOVE them and I love Mr. Wilco, Jeff Tweedy, more than plenty of other Wilco freaks out there, I am sure. But whateves, I am not trying to play the “I love him more than you do” game. I am merely trying to show you, on your screen at home or work, how intensely I feel about this one person who has a major role in making my life livable.

Somehow, the show snuck up on me. It wasn’t like November when I was throwing myself violently into the general vicinity of the experience. All of a sudden, it was time. So after a day of working in the sprawling, uber suburban deadscape of the San Fernando Valley, I made my way slowly up the Hollywood freeway. An hour and fifteen minutes later I finally made it to to my destination. Thank you, Hollywood Travelodge, just for BEING THERE. On those nights when all I need is a clean, cheap pillow to pass out on…

I checked in, pounded a glass of Hendry Zinfandel, and hit the pavement. I walked to the theatre, almost two miles away. It was a fantastic walk through a modern fairyland. I think people have the wrong image in their minds when it comes to Hollywood. Hollywood is so cool. Awesome architecture, great places to eat and drink, an in-general killer vibe. I seriously could live there. There are trippy things hiding in every nook and cranny. I could go on and on about the fabulousness of Hollywood, but this entry is not about Hollywood. This entry is about Wilco.

I arrived at the Greek and went to the bar. No surprises there right? For red wine they had Robert Mondavi Woodbridge something and Columbia Crest Cabernet – the lesser of two evils, obviously. So I asked for a glass of that. “That’s only available by the bottle,” the bartender told me. “I can get a BOTTLE?” I asked. She shows me this plastic carafe thingy, that they pour the bottle into, then you can take the whole thing to your seat. “SWEET,” I say. “How many glasses?” She says. “ONE,” I say. “SWEET!” she says.

I took my bottle of wine and went and got a hot dog. It was some famous Hollywood hot dog and it rocked, especially with some fine cheap Washington Cabernet. I sat by the condiment stand and watched the crowd talk on their cell phones. It was definitely an L.A. crowd.

The opening act, the Roots, were well into their set when I arrived, and I should have gone to my seat to watch them, but I waited until they were done to make my way in. I had a great seat – I am no judge of distances, but Jeff Tweedy’s head was perhaps the size of a walnut. You get the idea. My seat was at the end of the row and within minutes another single person was sitting right behind me, and he started talking to me almost immediately. I will encapsulate our conversation into a sound-byte dealie-bob here:

Mike: I love Wilco.
Me: Me too!
Mike: I came from San Diego for this show.
Me: Me too!
Mike: I live in Ocean Beach.

Is that weird or what? Bonus! It is always cool to be around other OBcians, but an OBcian who loves Wilco? We both danced like total geeks. (That’s not the OBcian – that’s the Wilco part, I think.)

Anyhow. Conversation stopped when Wilco took the stage. An idyllic moment… dusk, in that fantastic amphitheater in the Hollywood Hills, surrounded by trees and clueless L.A. people… that moment in my brain when visual is replaced by aural is the moment when I really and truly love life. Setting is drowned out. I don’t even need to see anymore. Hearing is enough for me.

And hearing Wilco for two hours? It makes my heart hurt just trying to write about it. Six guys on stage, sometimes quiet, sometimes out-of-control manic, always totally into it. When you love a band like I love Wilco, seeing them live is a religious experience, but damn if Wilco doesn’t live up to every fervorous stigmata-ish episode that’s ever gone down in the Christian world. Wrap that feedback around my brain, and that is all I will need for quite a while. In the words of Jeff Tweedy himself, in Handshake Drugs:

Saxophones started blowing me down
I was buried in sound

The end of this song ends in distortion. At this show, Jeff and Nels Cline, an cruelly amazing guitarist, stood face to face and just emptied their guitars of sound, filling the theatre, and my soul, with the most gratifying static. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to Zen, that kind of sound.

I could go on – Jeff’s trippy congeniality, the bonding with his family, who was in the audience… but I prefer, in my exhausted state, to leave you in distortion. I may be getting older, but I am serious when I tell you, I hope I never tire of my own Zen.

5 Responses to “Buried In Sound”

  1. chase jay Says:

    I got this link off the Wilco TimeLine site, and you basically put into words exactly how I feel when I see this band. I’ve seen them probably six or seven times and I’m due for two more shows in the next few months and can’t wait until a week from now when I get to see this absolutely raging six man configuration at work once again. I’m praying for a Misunderstood…haven’t seen one since my first Wilco show. Thanks for making me feel like I was at a show. -Chase

  2. Joe Says:

    two favorite Tweedy lines:

    it’s hot in the poor places tonight

    the light from the tv, runs parallel to you

  3. Jack Says:

    I saw them a couple nights before you in Bezerkly (for the first time) and I hadn’t seen a better show, ever! There were no reviews posted in the local news, so I needed confirmation that it just wasn’t me that thought it was so good ( i also was on a minor wine buzz) and was glad to find your blog to confirm my feelings.
    Now I need them to come back soon so I can bring along friends to experience the BUZZ!

  4. Owen Miles Says:

    I went to this same show and I loved it as the other Wilco shows I’ve been to. But this was the most timid crowd I’ve seen at a Wilco show. Mind you that wallflowers are common at Wilco shows, but at this show almost all the people in the front hardly nodded their heads. (Hell, during the rare treat of the “Remember The Mountain Bed”, people had the nerve to sit down.) Encore cheers were also paltry.

    Was it because LA scenesters are too cool to dance like a fool? Who knows. Seeing a great band like Wilco, I can’t help but eschewing concerto rigidness and letting myself go.

    Sure, people enjoy the show to their own way. But an enthusiastic crowd propels the band to put on a uniquely stellar show.

    But it was still a good show, nevertheless. The transition from Poor Places to Spiders was jaw-dropping.

    On another note, I’m not one for star ogiling, but it was strange to see the infamous Pat O’Brien (known for crude coked-up voice messages), a few rows ahead of me with the presumed Betsy. Not one that I would of pegged as a Wilco fan. There was alot of snickering around him and it looked like he was getting heckled a little bit. Witness the depravity: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/227154

  5. Anthony Says:

    Just read the previous posts and overall, wow, what nice words for an obviously talented group. I’ve been seeing Wilco since the AM tour in 1996-97 in the SF Bay area so I’ve seen a large slice of their incarnations. Definately they are some of my favs to see and I never miss them but where they are at in terms of popularity is a little….well, they’re popular that’s all I’ll say. Caught them in the winter at the Paramount in Oakland CA and that was their leap into the theatre show circuit and the first time I’d seen them where there were seats. Wilco and seats are not a good combo. Anyway, the Berkeley Greek theatre show was a good one and I enjoyed all 24 songs in the perfect weather along with 8000 other people. Aside from Tweedy’s banter it all seemed very rehearsed and as the following tour showed there were only 1 or 2 songs each night out of the ordinary. It is what it is, a very talented group of musicians creating a great production night in and night out but it has lost a bit of that “rare” feeling. BTW I thouroughly enjoyed myself but Sunken Treasure in it’s new form was pretty disappointing…just one of my favorite tunes that has taken an awkward turn. I’d like to see the cloud pajamas once in a while :^)

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