Counting this past Monday, I've seen Wilco 3 times.
The first time, I was at X-Fest '97, the Indy Rock Alternative's summer festival. Wilco was the first band on the main stage, so they played at like 1:00 p.m. I had never heard of them, but immediately liked them. It was my 1st experience in discovering a band on my own. My friends weren't so enthusiastic. I think they all left during Wilco's 3rd song to check out Sugar Ray.
The 2nd time was in 2005, when Wilco donated their services for the Rock for Riley benefit concert. Between 1997 and then, I had become a bona fide Wilco nut bar. And when we scored 8th row seats, I knew we were in for a treat. The show that night ranks #2 on my all-time list. Nels Cline had recently jumped on board, Jeff Tweedy had recently jumped on the wagon, and they played for a ridiculously long time. I felt beat up afterward. It was awesome.
The 3rdtime was on Monday. Let's cut to the chase:
* Diverse set list - lots o' Summerteeth and lots o' dad rock (a.k.a. Sky Blue Sky). Even a couple new ones ("One Wing" and "Sunny Feeling"). Here's the rest of the set list:
- Via Chicago
- Side With The Seeds
- You Are My Face
- One Wing
- Remember The Mountain Bed
- Company In My Back
- Handshake Drugs
- Pot Kettle Black
- Impossible Germany
- Forget The Flowers
- Jesus Etc.
- Sunny Feeling
- I'm The Man That Loves You
- Spiders (Kidsmoke)
- ----------Encore #1------------
- Hate It Here
- Heavy Metal Drummer
- Shot In The Arm
- Casino Queen
- Hoodoo Voodoo
- ---------Encore #2-----------
- Outtasite (Outta Mind)
* Cool venue - this was my 1st trip to the Lawn, Indianapolis' downtown concert venue. Picture any outdoor amphitheater stuck in the middle of nowhere, shrink it to a 1/3 of its size, stick in the heart of downtown, and give everyone a folding chair! You've got the Lawn!
* Air Guitar guy - the dude next to us played air guitar for the entire show (well, not the entire show, for some reason, he didn't play the encores). He never stopped. He would mouth words, but not the words of the song. He didn't know those (he probably just repeated "watermelon cantaloupe"). And he even air clapped. At first, we thought this was due to his commitment to the art of air musicianship. Then we noticed that the dude next to him was recording a bootleg, and he probably didn't want to ruin it. A true professional.
*Indianapolis clapping - Tweedy fed us an obviously-patronizing but still excitedly-accepted compliment on our clapping during "Spiders (Kidsmoke)." He said we were better than his hometown Chicago. Take that, Kanye!
* Bugs - I guess when you put a concert venue next to a dirty river, on a humid summer day in the Midwest, you're bound to get bugs. I wasn't so much annoyed by the biting as I was by its effect on Jeff Tweedy. Between each song, he would make some bug joke. "Gnat King Cole." "I've eaten about 50 bugs. I'm full." Stuff like that.
* The dads - lots of dads in the audience. They must read Pitchfork. And while I love me some Sky Blue Sky, I was in the mood to rock and/or roll, not rock and/or sway.