After a major overload of Bonnaroo > Telluride Bluegrass> Boston Pops > Ryan Adams> I could not make the Wilco show in Boston last week. However I sent another member of the Sweet Talk Staff, Nick Albury, to the show in my stead. Before Nick found his way back to the office the next morning to submit his review, I received this unsolicited rant from Augustus Dakota Lookner on my blackberry.
Perhaps feeling a bit betrayed due to my urging that he go see the show and my recent glowing review of Wilco's Bonnaroo set, here is what he wrote:
Now, this is the sort of review that is poignant because it is immediate, raw, and impassioned. When Nick walked in the door for work I read him Mr. Lookner's take on the evening and this was his response.
First, I agree with you Gus, the venue and crowd were horrible. Simply horrible. The scene at the pavilion resembled more of a dinner party of frozen nachos and $8 dollar flat beer served piss warm in a bomb shelter than a rock show. This could be due to the concrete stalactites overhead, or a crowd who in general could work their stock portfolios and prescription pads better than their music collections.
Secondly, I must admit that seeing Tommy Iommi repel from the ceiling with a machine gun in one hand and a guitar in the other would certainly get the adrenaline pumping, Wilco provided more than enough pure Rock n Roll moments to keep my heart racing through out the night.
As to the 7 song encore I agree that it was over the top, but the band was merely following the unfortunate trend of turning what was once known as a "set break" into a lavish if somewhat vain ruse to milk more adulation from a cattle call crowd. Can you really blame them though? Nels Cline, as fiery of a guitarist as they come, is now in his fifties, give the guy a chance to take a piss and grab a cold one if it means he?ll play 24 songs laced with some of the best live solos I've heard since Glen Tipton.
After the first few minutes of the opener: "A Shot in The Arm", Wilco proved that they could slide their perfectly yet precariously crafted songs from studio to stage. Moving between bombastic riffs and subtle strumming Wilco shape-shifted into a six-headed Jimmy Page (on an off night of course)
Last night saw Wilco rise above an environment more sterile than wads of gauze pads, and squeeze every ounce of energy possible into the most important part of any concert: the music.
Sorry Gus if you had a bad night, but Wilco in my opinion proved that they were playing for the sake of the music and not for the nachos in their VIP boxes.
Let the Debate Rage on....