Sunday April 11 2010 at Carnegie Music Hall (Pittsburgh Public Library, Main Branch)
with Robert, Jessie, Lisa
Wow. Wow. Wow. Robert & Jessie had tried to explain how great Wilco are live, but it really didn't do them justice. This is probably the first real “rock concert experience” of my life; indie bands and small venues are not the same as a top-performing and popular band such as this one selling out a large-ish concert hall and playing a 3 hour set from across their catalog. I was quite fortunate to stumble into these tickets; the show originally sold out within 10 minutes of going on sale online (!) and then a few weeks later a second block of tickets was released and R & J managed to get 4 at that time. Originally, a mutual friend Anne had 2 of those tickets but she backed out a week before, giving Lisa and me the chance to go (and since no one else was too interested in dropping $40 for tickets, but that's their loss!). It turns out that Anne had skipped the show for our grad student indoor hockey playoff game and I was skipping the game for the show, heh. Thankfully, we won, and the next week I rejoined the team at the final game, which we also won. Yahoo!
Some other local music blogs have made various postings with Wilco's set list and photos and general reviews, and the national mag Spinner did a nice review, as well. I won't reiterate their comments. Mostly, this was just a wholly impressive performance by a band that's clearly riding a peak. Their timing in everything was great, even with the constant changing of guitars between songs (except for one miscue by the drummer which Jeff Tweedy laughed off with a mockingly snide comment), and each member of the band played their role to perfection. Jeff was charismatic but not too engaging, clearly fitting into his own comfort level despite the occasional aggressive yell from a crowd member trying to speak directly to him. And Nels Cline is a guitar god. I had no idea but now I am totally a fan and am looking into some of his solo albums. Nothing else I can say about that. Our seats were on the far right side of the auditorium which meant I could only see the front of the drumkit and could not see at all the drummer or the back-stage-right keyboardist. That was disappointing, but I'm really just glad I got the chance to see them at all on such short notice and didn't even mind the restricted vantage point. It meant I had a straight-on view of Nels and all his leg-kicking, tall and blonde head-banging, axe-thrashing glory. Rock on!
I feel like I should have more to say about such an impressive show, but it really wouldn't do the performance any justice to try. It's definitely worth seeing them live once if you enjoy their music at all. I don't think I'll be rushing out to spend that much on another ticket (and I can't imagine that they'll be swinging thru Pittsburgh in the next year or two anyway), but maybe in the future . . . In the meantime, if you get a chance, do it!