Wilco, the Wiltern, January 25, 2012: I've seen great shows at the Wiltern, dating back to 2004 and more recently in 2009, and I've raved about the venue to anyone who'll listen. It reminds me of a nicer version of the Warfield in San Francisco, and only the Fox in Oakland rivals the beautiful restoration job inside the Wiltern. I especially appreciate the fact that they limit the number of bodies allowed inside the pit.
Alas, those memories are shot to hell, thanks to one of the greedier moves I've seen at a venue. I shouldn't be surprised that LiveNation would find a new way to screw music fans out of more money, but the so-called VIP Upgrade -- i.e., pay $20 for early access to the venue, ahead of everyone who waited in line ahead of you or, in our case, in front of us -- was pretty much legal extortion. I had no interest in paying, for a variety of reasons, but more than a dozen ponied up the fee. You broke my heart, Wiltern, and I'm afraid I may never see a show on the premises ever again.
I couldn't shake that bad taste in my mouth, but I have to admit it wasn't a horrible show. For starters, the sound was great, so it's probably a good thing we went to the Palladium first. That way, I couldn't compare the acoustics the other way around. The art-piece opening made a strong impression, and it was my first chance to hear the epic "One Sunday Morning." Wilco also rolled out a couple more Whole Love tracks that didn't make the cut at the Palladium, so the album representation was almost complete.
The rarer tracks can make or break a show, and at the Wiltern, they helped salvage a night that might've otherwise been doomed (through no fault of the band, I should add). Top of that list was "Laminated Cat," which can't be played enough, as far as I'm concerned. To the young guy at the front and to my left who tried to call out several songs to his parents standing a few spaces over to my right: Have you considered texting? You may also want to hit the MP3 stack. Despite your initial claim, the band didn't play "At Least That's What You Said," nor was the unmistakable opening riff of the Loose Fur tune turn out to be a B-side, as you first guessed. Otherwise, bless your heart!
Next time I think of the Wiltern, I'll try to concentrate on the good memories of years past, including a "Spiders" solo by a surprise guest, a goofy pic that still adorns my fridge, a lovely chat with my favorite club owner/fanboy, and great celeb sightings. It was nice knowing you, the Wiltern.
» it's become so obvious
» so flattered by fate