red roses for me


As the song reached it's final moments, Jeff Tweedy, a devilish look on his face, shoved his guitar to one side & decided a fitting climax would be to launch himself over the drums & into the lap of one very startled Ken Coomer. The rest of the band, wry grins on their faces decided the best course of action was to keep the song going while Jeff & Ken are untangled, the drum kit rebuilt and they can round everything off in a more accustomed manner.

They'd just played a perfect version of Passenger Side from the AM album when someone in the crowd requests they now play the punk version. "Ok" replies Tweedy as he blasted through the song in about 20 seconds, a blur of shouted vocals and distortion.

Two of the highlights of a night when Wilco showed myself and three hundred other Portsmouth residents how they could make 100 minutes seem like half that and transform songs I've loved on record into something even more wonderful live. To use a dirty word it's down to musicianship and whereas that usually conjures up deadly dull images of long wanky "look at meee!" guitar solos here it was the ability to re-create the Beatles/Beach Boys/Spector wall of sound songs from their Summerteeth album and even add to them. Seeing Tweedy screaming out the mantra of "Your prayers will never be answered again" from "Can't Stand It" looking like he's exorcising personal demons, not just promoting an album.

They played songs from throughout the band's existence and you really gained an understanding of how they've moved on, stretched themselves and yes got better. The alt. country styling of I Must Be High and Casino Queen would be enough for most bands to aspire to but they followed it up with the Stonesy rock of songs from Being There and the contrasting light and shade displayed on Summerteeth including a haunting take on the almost resigned story of domestic violence She's A Jar

Added to this they played a trio of songs from the Woody Guthrie penned lyrics, Wilco and Billy Bragg tunes of Mermaid Avenue many of the crowd's only prior knowledge of the band but from the reaction and the finale of a joyous Hoodoo Voodoo further investigation was high on everyone's minds.


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