Reliving WILCO

On October 9, 2006 the band WILCO played in Huntsville.  I started listening to them about six months prior to the show.  I am a WILCO late-bloomer – I started with Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, A Ghost is Born, and the live Kicking Television CDs.  I didn’t follow them during the Uncle Tupelo days and at the time of the show was not familiar with their previous CDs.  I was shocked that they were coming to town, and even more shocked that they were playing in the concert hall instead of the arena.  The concert hall is a 2000 seat venue with incredible acoustics.  All the ingredients were there for a great show.   I was excited!

My brother and I got tickets to the show.  It’s always a treat to go to a show with my brother.  For a while he was into recording live shows as a hobby.  (He only records bands that allowed live taping).  He had all the gear – high end microphones, microphone stands, cables, a four-channel digital audio recorder, and a lithium-ion battery power supply that he created from instructions on the internet.  In the days after a show he would mix the digitized channels together, and, after a little editing, created a digital reproduction of the show.  The recording he produced were great quality – and the WILCO show was no different.

Kevin was able to pre-order tickets before pubic release, and he got perfect tickets for recording – center stage about 10 rows up.  He set up the gear before the show started.  WILCO played 22 songs that evening.  I was familiar with most of the songs, and enjoyed hearing some of their old stuff for the first time.  The show was great, but the music was not what made the event memorable.  During the first intermission I bought the limited print posters for this show (see image below).   Very cool print showing the back end of the Saturn-V rocket with WILCO coming out of one of the nozzles.  These posters play a part later in the evening.  After the show, we were one of the last ones to leave after breaking down the recording gear.  We exited the concert hall and passed by the guarded entry way to the holy grail of any concert – BACK STAGE.  We decided to try to dupe the guard and get back stage.  I walked through first.  The guard asked for my back stage pass.  I told him I lost it.  He told me to get lost.  Strike out.  Kevin walked through next – holding all of his recording gear.  The guard asked him where his pass was.  Kevin said he is working with the band archiving their shows.  The recording gear he was holding made this seem legit, so the guard let him go through.  I passed him the concert prints and away he went.

He emerged an hour later with the entire bands signature on the prints – along with other random articles from back stage.  The poster is framed and hung above my desk at home.  I love looking at the print – there were only 100 prints created and Kevin is sure that we have the only ones with all signatures (He was the only person backstage that went out to the tour bus to get Tweedy’s signature).  On top of that the recording of the show turned out great.  They actually played new songs that later turned up on their Sky Blue Sky CD (Great recording of Impossible Germany).  It is really cool to listen to the show that you were out.  I listen and remember Tweedy’s banter with the crowd.  I can hear myself yelling during a couple of the songs (Kingpin).  I have the show in my ipod and occasionally listen to it in entirety.  These are two personal treasures to me, and I don’t know if I ever thanked my brother for the experience and the gifts.


Kevin, Thanks for being an incredible “little” brother.  I hope that I contribute as much to your life as you have contributed to mine!



Here is the set-list for any fans:

1.       Poor Places

2.       Muzzle of Bees

3.       Shot in the Arm

4.       Impossible Germany

5.       Break Your Arm

6.       Kamera

7.       Handshake Drug

8.       Jesus Etc

9.       At Least

10.   Airline to Heaven

11.   Walken

12.   Theologians

13.   I’m the Man

14.   Via Chicago

15.   Hummingbird

16.   Late Greats

17.   Always in Love

18.   How to Fight Loneliness

19.   Heavy Metal Drummer

20.   Let’s Not Get Carried Away

21.   Kingpin

22.   Misunderstood


1 Comment

Filed under Family

One response to “Reliving WILCO

  1. Thanks for a great post. You’ve really captured with a personal touch the positive effects of taping — this kind of appreciation makes all the work worthwhile. It also helps that your brother is one of the best tapers out there!

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