Saturday, April 11, 2009


I couldn't imagine having woken up to better news this morning - Wilco is coming to Tucson for a June 18 show at the UA's Centennial Hall. Hell yeah!

America's best band will make its first appearance here since a 1996 show at The Rock. Though it wasn't my biggest heart break of 2004, the band canceling its April 29 scheduled show that year at the Rialto was close.

This only makes me more jazzed up about the "Ashes of American Flags" concert DVD, which is out next Saturday at independent record stores as part of Record Store Day.

Despite have a far looser tendency to rank favorite bands these days, I've pretty much cemented in forever this top three: Dylan, Springsteen, Wilco. Like Dylan and Springsteen, Wilco has never stood still, never stopped seeing their music as the shifting and swirling world of possibility that it is.

Thanks to Adam Becker's tape of Anodyne, Uncle Tupelo was one of the first out-of-the-mainstream bands I ever got into, and at the time, I looked on the subequent Wilco-Son Volt split as simply two more good records instead of just one. And, just before graduating high school (about my fourth concert experience) Adam and I drove down to Phoenix to see Wilco on the Being There tour, at the long-defunct Electric Ballroom. I couldn't have been more hooked.

I grabbed every successive album immediately, and the feeling never went away. From country to pop to folk to experimental noise rock, there wasn't a thing Wilco didn't do well - at least as well as anybody else out there.

But after that 1997 show, it would be a long seven and a half years before I'd see the band again - and I'd have to fly to Denver to make it happen. Well worth it, in every way.

Then two weeks later after the Wilco show in Tempe, I got to meet Jeff Tweedy backstage. He was the anti-rock star, polite, relaxed, and more interested in talking politics with his sister than anything else.

I saw the band next in Flagstaff, rescheduled about a year after the original date was canceled (though no show was rescheduled for Tucson). Since that six-month stretch of the Ghost is Born tour, I've caught Wilco and Jeff Tweedy solo, both in Golden Gate Park.

And this time around, Wilco will have a fresh new album for the tour (the band has announced a June release, but hasn't set an actual date or announced an album title). I've written plenty about the band's last two records - Sky Blue Sky and A Ghost Is Born - and I gotta say, my anticipation for this one is probably even higher. The Nels Cline-era has been Wilco's best musicially, and Tweedy's songwriting approach is that of a constant searcher, never stagnating on any approach or subject. What I've heard of the songs that are to be on the record has also been promising.

And because all music is personal, here's another reason I'm excited about this band's new record and their coming show:

In a year after my best friend proposed at a Wilco show, and my wedding dee-jaying promintently featured Wilco, the world will welcome a new Wilco album, and the couple will welcome their first child. That's how I see symmetry.

Wilco - Instrumental 1 (YHF demo)
Wilco - The Wilco Song (live on Colbert)
Jeff Tweedy - I'm The Man Who Loves You (live)

My Wilco shows:
1997-05-14 Tempe
2004-11-06 Denver
2004-11-20 Tempe
2005-04-27 Flagstaff
2007-10-05 San Francisco (Tweedy solo)
2008-08-24 San Francisco

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