If you've been paying attention, you've probably picked up a hint, here or there (or here) that my favorite (currently active*) music group is Wilco.
I have heard them perform live in four states (multiple times in Illinois, once each in Wisconsin and Washington, and now twice in California), which won't sound that impressive if you're into Phish or the Dead, but I can say with certainty that it's a personal best - and, thankfully that's three more than the number of states in which I've seen Huey Lewis and the News perform. (Landover, Md., 1986! Whoooee!)
I'm enough of a fan that I bought their newest album, which is cleverly titled "Wilco (the album)," despite the fact that before purchasing it, I had listened all the way through about four times and don't really like it. But, eh. It's Wilco - I'll like it eventually. Besides, the CD cover is a picture of a camel. That sort of hooked me. And, further evidence of my fan-hood (fan-ness?): In flagrant disregard of my already-overflowing T-shirt drawer, I now own three Wilco t-shirts.
The point is that I was fortunate enough to grab a seat - well, not a seat, actually, but a very small piece of standing room in between the chests, butts and elbows of fellow fans - for one of Wilco's three sold-out concerts at the Wiltern in Los Angeles a few weeks ago.
See, it says Sold Out right there on the marquee.
The performance was just fantastic - among the best shows I've seen them play. (Unless Laura is reading this. In which case: Laura, don't worry, it was terrible.) The songs from the new disc even sounded good - including a surprise Leslie Feist appearance for the duet "You and I" - and the band played several of my favorites, including California Stars, Pot Kettle Black, Passenger Side and A Shot in the Arm.
If I were feeling more enterprising, I'd post a video clip for you (I might add one later), but for now, I thought I'd share one of the only photos I took that actually came out alright. Here are Mikael Jorgensen, Jeff Tweedy, Glenn Kotche and John Stirratt in action. (Not pictured are Nels Cline and Pat Sansone, in case you're keeping track.)
I'm sorry you couldn't catch the concert with me. I'd suggest you make up for it with 3 minutes, 51 seconds of muscial excellence - my favorite Wilco song, Jesus Etc.
* To distinguish them from the Beatles, my favorite group in the half-of-the-band-is-now-dead category.