Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Being There

Wilco love you, baby, and wants to give you some tickets

Photo By Austin NelsonAustin NelsonSo y’all know Wilco, right? Chicago-based outfit that rose from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo and survived numerous lineup changes and label drama to release some of the best pop/rock/roots records of the past almost two decades and establish themselves as one of America’s best bands. Yeah, that Wilco.

They’re following up 2009’s Wilco (The Album) with their eight studio album The Whole Love on September 27 – the first to be released on their own label dBpm Records. And, being the road warriors that they are, they’re a-gonna tour it with the first leg of North American dates starting up a good two weeks before the record is even out.

Toronto’s two dates – we’re a bona fide overnight destination for the band now – go early on in the tour, September 16 and 17 at Massey Hall with New wave pop legend (and songwriting royalty beneficiary thanks to the first single from The Whole Love) Nick Lowe supporting. Massey has been their Toronto home away from home starting back in 2004 and since then, the Old Lady Of Shuter Street has hosted many memorable shows (as well as a famous dressing down by Jeff Tweedy for being too courteous – 10MB video clip under the link there); no reason to think these ones will be any less so.

So considering both the fan and Friends of Massey Hall presales went yesterday morning and unsurprisingly sold out in minutes, this Friday’s public onsale at 10AM is almost your last chance to score tickets for the show. Note that I said almost. Courtesy of the band and LiveNation, I’ve got a pair of tickets to give away for the Saturday night show. To enter, I want you to leave a comment on this post with your favourite Wilco in Toronto memory, and that can include Wilco-related anecdotes involving any of but not limited to Uncle Tupelo, Golden Smog, The Autumn Defense, Jeff solo, whatever. And if you’re new to the band and don’t have one, something related to their music and not the shows is fine too. Make sure your email is in there, and don’t worry – it will remain hidden from nasty spambots. The contest will run until midnight, August 26 so if you want to try your hand at the public on-sale and enter if you miss out, do that. But if you score some ducats, don’t water down the odds for those less fortunate – unless you just want to share some reminiscences, then just note that you’re not entering the contest proper. And to get things rolling, mine remains their last-minute post-cancelled-Lollapalooza-tour club show at The Mod Club in August 2004 with their rotating-substitute-drummer set opening for Neil Young at the Air Canada Centre in December 2008 not far behind.

I’m sure there’s someone out there for whom their favourite Hogtown Wilco memory took place the evening of November 20, 1996 circa Being There when Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett performed a super-intimate acoustic set in the back room of C’est What. I wasn’t there, no sir, but someone with a cassette recorder was, and they tapped said recorder into the soundboard and made a fine-sounding recording of the show. I was given a copy of said show on cassette a few years ago but not having anything resembling a working cassette deck, it just sat there like a special prize hidden away behind technological lock and key. I actually borrowed my brother’s cassette deck with the intention of ripping it and sharing it with the world and last night while messing with cables and laptop audio settings that refused to cooperate, it occurred to me to see if maybe – just maybe – someone had already gone to the trouble. And they had. The full recording of the show is available over at Ohmpark and probably sounds a good deal better than I’d have been able to manage. Enjoy a couple samples below, head over there for the rest and share some stories below.

MP3: Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett – “I Got You (At The End Of The Century)” (live at C’est What – 11/20/96)
MP3: Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett – “Dreamer In My Dreams” (live at C’est What – 11/20/96)
MP3: Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett – “Pick Up The Change” (live at C’est What – 11/20/96)

The Toronto Star interviews Fleet Foxes, who are playing Massey Hall tonight.

Interpol have released the animated collaboration with David Lynch originally put together for Coachella as the latest video from Interpol. PhillyBurbs talks to guitarist Daniel Kessler.

Video: Interpol – “Lights”

A second track from Stephen Malkmus’ forthcoming Mirror Traffic is now available to download ahead of the record’s August 23 release. Malkmus and his Jicks play The Phoenix on September 21.

MP3: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Tigers”

The Line Of Best Fit has posted the first part of an interview with Death Cab For Cutie, playing the Molson Amphitheatre on July 29.

Chad VanGaalen has put together a cross-Canada tour in support of his latest record Diaper Island; it brings him to The Mod Club on October 28.

MP3: Chad VanGaalen – “Sara”

Rebekah Higg’s second full-length Odd Fellowship will finally see the light of day on August 23. Exclaim has album details and a bunch of eastern Canadian dates – nothing in Toronto yet, but there’s a week between London and Wakefield, I can’t imagine those won’t get filled out before long.

MP3: Rebekah Higgs – “Gosh, Darn, Damn”

Room 205 has a video session with Austra; just one song for now but these tend to get padded out over time – expect more to be added. The Times-Colonist and BrookylynVegan talk to Katie Stelmanis, who also shows/tells The Guardian how she wrote “Lose It”.

Beatroute, The Star-Phoenix and Uptown interview Handsome Furs, in town at The Horseshoe on August 1 and 2.

By : Frank Yang at 8:30 am
Category: Contests

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

RSS Feed for this post29 Responses.
  1. Rick says:

    I saw Wilco at the Another Roadside Attraction festival put on by The Tragically Hip back in 1996. A combination of 30+ degree weather, overpriced water and underpriced french fries lead to a bit of dehydration and I passed right out during their set. I was escorted backstage to the First Aid tent and rejuvenated. Unfortunately, I missed the rest of the set, but we did go to the HMV tent my friend got their autographs on his copy of Being There…which I couldn’t afford….come to think of it, these are all painful memories – thanks a lot!

  2. John says:

    I have seen Wilco many times throughout the years in Toronto, but I think my favourite show was Jeff Tweedy solo and acoustic at Trinity-St. Paul in 2001. Certainly the most enjoyable time ever spent in a church.

  3. John Teeter says:

    While not in Toronto, I do have a Wilco moment two hours down the road, in London, ON that I think counts.

    About five years ago, Wilco played London at The Centennial Hall. It was my first time seeing them, despite being a big fan of them since discovering their album Being There at the end of university.

    There are so many reasons this show was as close to a religious experience as I will get – the least of which was the amazing performance by the band.

    You see, at the time my wife was pregnant and was unable to attend the show. We were on our third pregnancy in just two years. The first two ended in miscarriages and were literally the most gut wrenching moments my wife and I shared in our marriage. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone.

    In this third pregnancy, we were walking on pins and needles, certain that this pregnancy would end the same way the first two had…

    Little hope.

    But, there I stood at the merch table looking at a Wilco onesie and I decided, “Fuck it, this pregnancy is going to stick, and my baby will wear this” and I bought it. I held it tight all though that show and was amazed by the sheer talent and craft of the band, all the while thinking ‘I hope I am right about that onesie’.

    A year later, there I was, waiting for a beautiful baby girl to grow into that onesie knowing that while there is no actual science to support me on this, nor would buying a t-shirt at a merch table while wishing I was right is actually why it came true would be accepted as the reason the third time was the charm. But in my heart, I always link that show to my now almost 5 year old beautiful, music loving daughter, and part of the how and why she happened.

    And a year after that, my wife and I got to go see them together, in the same venue. It was our first night out together while someone watched our baby. My wife finally got to see them, and I got to see them again, revisiting that hope they inspired in me all through the concert. My wife and I held hands extra tight that night.

    Oh, and that Massey show, the Saturday, is the weekend of our 12th wedding anniversary, so it would seem very fitting that I were to win tickets to that show… to add a proverbial log on the fire of my favour in this contest.

    That show, that band, and that onesie, I will always associate as the most monumental moment in my life when I allowed hope and desire to consume me.

    I blame Tweedy.

  4. Chris says:

    Sadly, my only memory of Wilco in Toronto is them opening for Neil Young a few years back. I was about 6 miles away from the stage and the lights were pretty bright in the ACC, but Nels Cline still blew me away with his domination over his guitar that night. I would love to see what they look like close up!

  5. Travis C. says:

    So, for the sake of this contest, I’ll go with something a little more personal: Meeting Jeff Tweedy at the Sky Blue Sky Sandiwch Company Ltd. restaurant here in Toronto.

    Here’s the story…

    It was a chance meeting. I had wanted to check out the shop for a long time and figured that before Mr. Tweedy’s solo show was as an appropriate time as any. I walk in the door and there he is sitting there. Now, I’m not one to gush over celebrities; I’ve only asked for one autograph in my life and that was the Dunkeroo Kangaroo at a Harlem Globetrotters game when I was a kid, but the ironical situation of meeting one of my musical heroes in a sandwich shop named after his band was a little too much for me to handle.

    Still, I was respectful. No one else seemed to really be bothering him (it wasn’t that busy), and I think he was amused that my buddy had no idea who he was. We ordered are food and then I politely asked him if he could spare a few minutes when he was finished his meal.

    He initially said that he’d be happy to sign something right then, which made me stammer over my words. I really just wanted to tell him how great I thought his music was and so I refused the autograph, which he again found amusing. He then proceeded to ask me which sandwich I ordered (the One Wing) and remarked: “You didn’t want to eat something off Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? They made a documentary about the making of that sandwich, ya know.”

    Though brief, Jeff took the time out of his day to joke around with a fan and talk a bit of music. He allowed me to pick his brain for a couple minutes and ask some questions songwriter-to-songwriter. It’s certainly something I will never forget and is, by default, my favourite Wilco moment.

  6. Michael T says:

    I’d have to say my highlight was October 2007 at Massey Hall, final song of the encore – the dualing guitars of Nels and Pat on Hoodoo Voodoo.

  7. Paul says:

    My favourite Wilco memory is definitely their Massey Hall debut in 2004. I had seen the band twice before that, but was so excited to see them at this particular venue. I had been lucky enough to secure front row centre on the balcony tickets for my wife and I. The show was such an incredible experience, and I remember thinking that Wilco needs to play at Massey Hall from here in out – there’s just no other venue in the city that could possibly work as well for this band. And here we are seven years later and they are, thankfully, still doing Massey Hall. This is just the way it should be.

  8. Eric says:

    My favourite Wilco memory is seeing them in the summer of 2003 at the Kool Haus where for a few brief moments their performance made me forget about how shitty of a venue the Kool Haus actually is. Talk about a Herculean undertaking…I can’t imagine how good they must sound at Massey Hall.

  9. Sash says:

    I’ve seen Wilco a few times, but this spring I finally saw Tweedy solo, at the QE Theater show. As fate would have it, I lucked into 1st row center tix (the first time in my 25+ years of concert going that I had seats like that…you have to understand, that NEVER happens to me).
    Great show, all is amazing, then when he does his no mike/no PA encore, he stands two feet in front of me and plays Dreamer In MyDreams….the song that solidified Wilco as one of my favorite bands many years ago. Blew me away, and was a transcendant moment!

    Another fun one was talking about sailing boats with Jon S at the Imperial pub an hour after Wilco’s 2006 show at Massey Hall. Really nice guy and totally approachable. Seemed like a funny place to run into him and Pat S. heh heh

    Really hope to see them again at Massey Hall…best venue in Toronto!

  10. lisa says:

    My favorite Wilco memory would be the last time they came to massey hall in october 2009. It was an incredible set and they played every song I wanted to hear. Jeff was wearing a crazy suit (as per usual) and they sounded fantastic. I managed to get good floor seats so that made it even better as well.

  11. steve says:

    Don’t live in Toronto, haven’t seen Wilco in Toronto, but have car and will travel. Please consider this as an eligible entry into the contest. Saw them in Ottawa and overheard someone in the crowd say “The singer looks weird with a hat on”, Tweedy had a cowboy/fedora on.

  12. Terry says:

    My favourite Toronto Wilco moment is seeing Jeff Tweedy at Trinity St. Paul’s Church. It was the most religious experience I have ever had in a church. When he stepped away from the mic and invited the crowd to sing along with him on California Stars, it became transcendant.

  13. Travis B (not C) says:

    So here’s my problem – I don’t have a good Wilco memory – YET! This concert needs to be my memory-making night! Now, I could go on about how great the band is, but that wouldn’t distinguish my entry from any of the others here. Let’s face it – we all LOVE Wilco. My wife is crazy about the band, and probably made me appreciate them even more back many years ago. So, OK – there’s a nice memory…she may have introduced Uncle Tupelo to me, and we played and sang along to Anodyne, in the car til the CD near wore out!


  14. jnuh says:

    This is the setlist from my one and only Wilco show that took place at TasteFest on July 2nd/2003 in Detroit:

    The Late Greats
    I’m Always In Love
    Muzzle of Bees
    I’m the Man Who Loves You
    Poor Places
    I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
    War On War
    At Least That’s What You Said
    How To Fight Loneliness
    Heavy Metal Drummer
    Jesus, Etc.
    Red-Eyed and Blue
    I Got You (At The End Of The Century)
    We’ve Been Had
    (Uncle Tupelo cover)
    Casino Queen
    When You Wake Up Feeling Old
    When The Roses Bloom Again
    Forget The Flowers
    New Madrid
    (Uncle Tupelo cover)
    California Stars
    Outta Mind (Outta Sight)

    The only thing that could make this better would if it took place at Massey Hall on September 16th or 17th.

  15. Marius says:

    My favourite Wilco memory was seeing them play an in- store at the HMV superstore on Yonge St. during their Toronto stop way back when.

    At the time I was working up in Don Mills and I knew there was no way in hell I could get down to see them without skipping off work early, as it was a late afternoon set time. I didn’t want to lie to my boss Carol, so I decided to creatively stretch the truth a bit. Carol was definitely not a music hipster chick by any measure and I knew even then she wouldn’t know Wilco from a sandwich. So I went into her office the day before and told her I had a medical appointment with “Dr. Wilco” next day and asked if I could leave early to go to my appointment. I must have been convincing as she started enquiring about my health and gave me her blessing to see Dr. Wilco.

    After the set, as the boys signed my copy of Being There I relayed my Dr. Wilco story to them and they got a real kick out of it . I remember yelling out to them ” Dr. Wilco,they’ll cure whatever ails you baby” !!! What I do recall about the actual set was they played about 4 or 5 different versions within one song from Being There, which was cool to hear.

    So thanks Carol, where ever you are.

  16. J. Mitchell says:

    I saw Wilco at Convocation Hall in 2002 … but does it really matter? I mean, Frank, you can’t possibly give these tickets to anyone but John Teeter, can you? As good of as some of these stories are, how can you top that? Hell, if I won, *I’d* give John the tickets.

    In 1992, I saw Uncle Tupelo at the Opera House as the opener for Teenage Fanclub. In that pre-Interwebs era of darkness, it was not uncommon for an opening band to play their set without introducing themselves and leave the stage without most people having a clue who they were. I recall Uncle Tupelo as being loud, sort of cow-punky, but I recognized nothing they played, save a cover of Gang of Four’s “I Found That Essence Rare”. It wasn’t until a few years later, after I got interested in Son Volt, that I stepped back and discovered Uncle Tupelo, and wished I’d heard them before I saw them. No Depression and Still Feel Gone are still favourites, and I like both more than any Wilco album.

  17. Kuma says:

    I don’t have a Wilco memory but it would be nice to make one. Perhaps a stop at Sky Blue Sky Sandwich Co. first. I think I’ll get the “Wishful Thinking” sandwich.

  18. Dawn says:

    I have SO many memories. The first time I heard California Stars. The time I got friends-of-the-band seats that had opened for sale minutes before (first row blacony). But my favourite might be the year I was super bummed to have missed them coming through town. A few months later, they played in London where my then-new internet friend and music-soul-mate (ha) lives. Not only did I get to see Wilco put on a great show but they provided us an excuse to finally meet face-to-face. We’re still seeing bands together 2 years later.. when we can be in the same town.

  19. thomaus says:

    Not having a great memory, this is somewhat challenging. For instance, this reminded me that I never seem to remember to play Wilco (The Album) so I put it on for inspiration.

    Way back when I used to live in St. Louis I got to see Uncle Tupelo a couple times at Cicero’s basement bar and at Mississippi Nights. My memories of those shows were gritty and sweaty. And packed. I was a the very back of Cicero’s, but then again it’s about as big as the Rivoli, except the ceiling is almost dangerously low.

    Turning forward the clock, I’ve only been to two Wilco shows. Kool Haus in 2003 and Massey Hall in 2007. Kool Haus was great because they did a lot of songs off Being There – probably my favourite album. But Massey Hall tends to make everything extra special so it holds the best memories. Having tickets in the third row helped out a lot too.

    Seeing both bands highlights the progression Tweedy has made. Where Uncle Tuplelo had talent, they even more displayed raw energy. Flipping between punky bits, followed by country twang it was a rowdy and rough experience. Decades later, Wilco has become an incredibly tight and talented band. And refined. But the dynamics of the old days still come through, and wring powerful emotions out of the songs. I’m so glad to have seen them both.

  20. David Oliver says:

    Never seen Wilco, but my favorite Wilco related memory would probably be the Static Zine launch at Sky Blue Sky.

  21. Jon says:

    A few years ago at Massey Hall, I took a girl out for a first date — amazing night. It must have been the music that set the pace for things – we’re still together :)

    Best moment of the show was definitely the crowd singing along to ‘I am Trying to Break Your Heart’. I’m hoping to see them again – amazing way to start the fall!

  22. Marc says:

    When I used to go to camp, whenever we’d go on long over-night trips I would always jam out on an acoustic guitar. One of my favourite songs to play was “Heavy Metal Drummer”, which fit in perfectly well with the setting – “I sincerely miss those heavy metal bands/I used to go see on the landing in the summer…”

  23. Tom MacCammon says:

    Two of my favourite Wilco moments are:
    Seeing them back in 2004 with my guitar teacher, and listening to I Am Trying to Break your Heart in Massey Hall. It was beautiful!
    Seeing them with my friend Ben in 2009 at Massey, and listening to their beautiful harmonies. i appreciated this show more because I had listened to the band for a longer time, and they kept growing on me.
    Thanks! -Tom

  24. Matt says:

    Long story short (mainly because I accidentally deleted my story 10 sec. ago) working at a bar, pretty girl notices i’m playing wilco, conversation ensues, I ask her out, she accepts. Wilco love stories

  25. John Teeter says:

    And the winner is…

  26. can_eh_d_n girl says:

    Introduced to the band she first was by a boy from whom butterflies she got.
    And when she first heard ‘Via Chicago’, more songs and albums she then sought.

    Her affinity for the band blossomed as she and the boy became more than just friends.
    Her happiness made her appreciate each day and really see the lovely way the sunshine bends.

    So into the live show dimension on a winter night she first did foray,
    And catch Jeff’s solo act at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto did they.

    Seeing the live performance highlighted what an artist he is – so truly gifted,
    Especially when singing ‘You and I’ with Feist while the snow outside gently drifted.

    The girl had seen videos a plenty but never truly knew,
    His ability to play, sing and a happy thriving crowd accrue.

    So now with the whole band coming to T.O., she thinks seeing WILCO live would be neat.
    And she and the boy would (kindly) like to be two of many to pay homage, whilst visiting the old lady on Shuter Street.

  27. Doug S says:

    John Teeter can have my tickets too. Clinging to that much hope in the midst of such sadness is what some of Wilco’s best music is about.

    I’ve seen them a number of times both in T.O and across the pond in London – where Tweedy’s confrontations with the audience are even more legendary than the Massey Hall incident. They never disappoint and each show leaves lasting memories – from the first time I heard Spiders and At least that’s what you said live shortly after GIB was released and the 2 songs immediately skyrocketed up the list of my favourites, to the Massey rant, to the duelling guitars on Hoodoo Voodoo last time around. We’re blessed they come as often as they do!

  28. Sean P says:

    I’ve seen Wilco a bunch of times over the years, including their 1995 Toronto debut at the Horseshoe Tavern where they played all night long, with something like 4 encores, but my absolute favourite show was their Phoenix show just before the official release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (with support from Elf Power no less!). I think it was in September 2001 (can’t find the ticket).

    Anyway, Jay Bennett had just quit/been fired (you decide) and the band played the show as a four piece, with Jeff Tweedy singing and playing lead guitar. YHF had of course leaked onto the internet and the band was absolutely blown away to have the crowd singing along with new songs off the unreleased album. It really pushed their energy upwards and made the show 100% better than the Summerteeth tour gig that happened at the same venue. The shirt I bought on that tour is still one of my favourite shirts to wear, despite it being close to threadbare now.

  29. Frank Yang says:

    thanks for entering, everyone. contest has closed and the tickets have gone to John (entry #3). They couldn’t not.