Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Concert Review- WILCO

Band: WILCO
When: March 15, 2006
Where: Hamasa Temple Theatre, Meridian, Mississippi
Price: $27
Drive: 4 hours to Meridian from BR, 3 hours from Meridian to Mandeville
Seat: Row 10

Set List:
1. Hell is Chrome
2. Handshake Drugs
3. Hummingbird
4. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
5. Maybe the Sun Will Shine Today
6. Muzzle of Bees
7. Spiders (Kidsmoke)
8. Airline to Heaven
9. Walken
10. Jesus, etc.
11. Ashes of American Flags
12. Theologians
13. Heavy Metal Drummer
14. The Late Greats
15. I'm the Man Who Loves You
16. A Shot In the Arm
BREAK
First Encore:
1. War On War
2. Kingpin
3. Hoodoo Voodoo
BREAK
Second Encore:
1. I'm a Wheel
2. Passenger Side
3. Is That the Thanks I Get?

Well what can I say? I had been excited about the show for weeks and I was shaking with excitement when I left my History test on Wednesday morning to head home to get ready to leave, and I was shaking with excitement when I walked into the beautiful Temple Theatre, and I was shaking through the whole show probably.

I had raised some questions as to why they were playing in Meridian of all places. Well apparently one of the members of the band (Pat Sansone) is from Meridian and his father was the guy who had booked all the shows for the Temple Theatre for years and years. Between the full set and the first encore Pat went on stage and read a "love letter" to the theatre. He talked about seeing The Four Tops, Ray Charles, The Commodores, and many more. The whole letter to the theatre and his dad was very touching.

As for the show itself... well I started off feeling very average. I mean everything up to "Spiders" was played efficiently like you would expect from a band as technically brilliant as WILCO but I don't think they had really connected with me yet. But after "Spiders" everything really started to pick up.

The highlights of the first set were "Spiders", "Theologians", and "Heavy Metal Drummer". But as I said- everything was pretty amazing after "Spiders". With "Spiders" I really felt connected.

The first encore was fantastic- better than the second half of the first set I might add. "War On War" and "Kingpin" were two of my favorites for the show actually. "Kingpin" may have been the best of the night.

The second encore featured a variety. "I'm a Wheel" is an energetic rocker and it really got the crowd going. "Passenger Side" goes back to Wilco's infancy and evokes images of a bar on the rough side of town and whatnot. I was surprised to see them play this actually. It was very cool to see them do this song. I got really into the "Passenger si-ide I-i don't like ridin on the passenger si-ide..."

The last song made me feel the best. Apparently its a new song called "Is That the Thanks I Get". Now that I listen to it it really is a very catchy song. At the time I was surprised they were playing this last as it was a song we hadn't heard before. But they really made it work with a call-and-response of the chorus between Tweedy and the crowd. Tweedy would yell "We can make it better!" and we all yelled "We can make it better!". It was exciting and beautiful at the same time. It was a great way to end the show contrary to my thoughts at the beginning of the show. I was still humming the song and singing "we can make it better" hours later.

Grade:
Was it worth the ticket price and drive? ABSOLUTELY
How does it compare to the other shows I had seen so far this year? The BEST of the year.
How does it rank in terms of ever attended? This was the best non-Jazz Fest show I'd ever been to.
Do I want ya'll to check WILCO out? You better believe it. Seriously, if you have the chance to see this band- the "best group in the country" as the Mayor of Meridian" put it, GO TO THE SHOW.

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