Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wilco, August 29 at the Greek

Wilco were at the Greek the night after the Crowded House show. I got into the show a good 30 minutes late since Dave was late -- we didn't realize they would start so punctually. I never thought about it but there's probably a curfew up there, being near a ritzy neighborhood so most of the shows there start very much on time so they can get done before it's too late. But I got to hear all of it and they played for almost two hours so I don't feel like I missed anything. I always expect them to be more of a loose jam-band but at this show they played their songs tight and there wasn't much messing around. They played all the stuff you'd expect them to (especially if you only know them from the last few albums), including a lot off Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, "Impossible Germany" (one of the best and prettiest songs of the year), and what seemed like a 30 minute long version of "Spiders (Kidsmoke)". Nels Cline is insane, almost a better guitarist than the music needs. Our seats were on the terrace -- not great but, well, the band isn't much to look at but the music of their live show just about can't be beat.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Crowded House/Pete Yorn, August 28 at the Greek

Crowded House playing the Greek on perhaps the most beautiful night of the summer and you might think that it was the best show they'd ever done. They're a band that by now should probably wait until the very end to play their biggest song, "Don't Dream It's Over", but they played it halfway through without making a big deal about it and knew that they had enough other songs that were just as good and they knew the audience didn't need the same trick that could be played by a one-hit-wonder band. They did some off their first album and didn't play anything off their second album until the very end. Other than that, they mostly stuck to stuff off the new album, which sounded better live, and their best songs, not necessarily their singles, including a version of "Whispers and Moans" that sounded better live than on the album (but sadly, no "Chocolate Cake"). There was a moment during "Fall At Your Feet" that Finn repeated the last verse and could have played it off but after the song was over he jokingly made note of it and how the audience sang along anyway and he repeated the lines, more with the audience again than the rest of the band and it turned out to be one of the show's loveliest moments. The guys in the band also bantered easily with each other, like the band had never broken up before. Pete Yorn opened the show, wisely sticking to his first album and the few good cuts on his third, then-current album (though no "Undercover"). However, something odd really happened at the end of his set that made me rethink any live performance by any band: he said that people at Bonnaroo asked him to play his cover of Peter, Bjorn & John's "Young Folks" so he played it again, closing with it. Now, I've seen enough shows and I've seen a lot of bands do a lot of covers but this one seemed really odd. Most new bands that are headlining off their first album will often play a cover or two to fill out their set. Yorn has three albums out, along with a number of non-album tracks. And most bands that play covers of old songs, stuff that's often universally recognized. "Young Folks" just got big a few months ago. And PB&J are still touring now off of that song (as a matter of fact, they were in L.A. just two weeks later). Though that song by them is bigger than any of Yorn's stuff. And ending the set with it? It was a fine version but the fact that he played it just seemed very... bizarre. Lots of housewives there. Paul was supposed to go with me but he couldn't make it so he sent Nancy instead and we had just as good a time.

Crowded House's set-list:
"Something So Strong"
"Say That Again"
"Don't Stop Now"
"Fall At Your Feet"
"English Trees"
"Message Boy" (Split Enz cover)
"Walked Her Way Down"
"Whispers and Moans"
"Silent House"
"Private Universe"
"To Paris"
"Don't Dream It's Over"
"Happy Together" (The Turtles cover)
"Pineapple Head"
"Holy Smoke" (Split Enz cover)
"Pour Le Monde"
"Locked Out"
"Distant Sun"

"Weather With You"
"World Where You Live"
"Mean To Me"
"Better Be Home Soon"