After the Santa Barbara show, we skipped San Diego in favor of resting up, catching Superbad, fetching B from the airport, and (in my case) working. Welcome, once again, to the rock tourist's life.
Wilco, Greek Theatre (Los Angeles), August 29, 2007: Last time we were here, we had no idea how great the pit is, but it made enough of an impression that I've been raving about it for the past two years. Tonight, the promoter had erected a barrier so that the photographers could get in, but aside from that small detail, the stage was just as accessible as I recall.
One thing that hadn't changed was the typical Los Angeles crowd, who mostly stayed away for Richard Swift's opening set and had not yet fully taken their seats even after Wilco came on. Down in the pit, we were accompanied by some friendly faces old and new, such as my pals Dean and Paul, who I had met so many years ago at the El Rey. And once more, the Quick Turnaround Award goes to Maudie and Trish, who managed to find the most reckless--and effective--cab driver at the Burbank Airport to arrive at the Greek shortly after the opening set. Otherwise, though, there were quite a few dubious bodies around us. I believe I was spared the worst of it, other than the girl directly behind me who spilled beer on my (gold!) shoes and screamed ridiculous exclamations ("Chicago!" "Michigan!" "I love you, Jeff!") throughout the show. Ugh.
Nonetheless, you can't be any sort of dedicated concert-goer and let those people get to you. It also helped that the music drowned out the majority of their inanities, so I could pretty much tune her and the others out as soon as the band kicked in. We also got brief respites when (a) the band played a song that predated Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and, thus, she didn't know, or (b) her boyfriend or whatever made out with her and shut her up.
In a departure from the other gigs on the tour (and maybe with a nod to the Hollywood crowd), the band took the stage to the theme from The Bob Newhart Show, as they had back in June. The song selection didn't hold too many surprises, other than the recent additions of "Too Far Apart," "Pot Kettle Black," and "Outtasite." On the bantering front, Jeff reminded Los Angeles how lucky they are to claim Nels Cline as a native son, and he marveled over the Greek's camera effects. After requesting a fade between Glenn's face and his own, Jeff claimed that it mirrored a dream he once had--moving Glenn to visibly groan.
But much as with the show in 2005, the family became a focus for at least a couple of the band members, what with spouses and children hanging out at the side of the stage. In this sequel, Sammy once again joined his father onstage, this time for "Spiders" instead of "Hummingbird," and fully awake instead of still groggy. There seemed to be more premeditation this time, but at the last minute, Sammy's clapping contributions didn't exactly pan out. I trust that he succeeded, however, in melting the 6,000-plus hearts in the audience, among them his dad, who beamed like a solar flare for this guest appearance.
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