O Canada, I hardly knew ye, but it was back over the border and on to Microsoft-land (also, coincidentally, the self-proclaimed bicycling capital of the West) for my second show of this tour.
Wilco, Marymoor Park, August 21, 2007: I've never been farther north on the West Coast than Portland, and though I had clocked in about 7 hours on the road in the past two days, my actual Seattle appreciation would have to wait. Officially, we were in Redmond, the suburb that Microsoft built. In the midst of this wired zone was Lake Sammamish and Marymoor Park, the site of Wilco's gig for the night.
Joining us and the Canadian contigent were a couple of surprise guests: Wafer and Walrus (i.e., Mike and Jeff), who were independently in town for business purposes. It's always great seeing these guys, neither of whom had caught the band since the new album came out.
One of the funnier asides in the show started with an audience member who shouted out that he had just gotten married. I doubt that he was a ringer, but as if on cue, the band broke out "Hate It Here," with Jeff singing the entire song to the newlyweds.
Overall, Vancouver had a better setlist, but the band's energy was noticeably building, and we got a surprise guest on the other side of the stage: Bill Frisell, who picked up the guitar for a couple of Woody Guthrie numbers. Bill stayed close to Nels, grinning and showing off the mutual respect and admiration the two have crafted over the years. Truth be told, Bill's contribution was surprisingly modest, even on "California Stars," which has an openness and simplicity that's crying to be embellished. The bigger treat was watching him enjoy himself and the Wilco guys basking in his presence.
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