Guess who’s back? I’m going to try to get the back catalog up, but I’ve been extremely busy with my new job (sort of the reason I hastily deleted the old blog), so later rather than sooner. But what better way to return than with a Wilco Take Away Show made right here in Montreal? I was even present for the recording of this. I had amazing geek moment when I got to finally meet one of my heroes and instead of charming Jeff Tweedy and becoming best friends with him as I dreamed about in my journal, I just sort of eeped out “I love you. Um, I love your work! Yeah…”. Still was one of the best moments of my life.
Shit Yeah It’s Cool is back on the Internet where it belongs, telling stories about Jeff Tweedy! Now follow the hell out of it.
For the past couple years, Wilco has generously accepted song requests through their Web site, and today I learned that the offer extends to Jeff Tweedy’s solo shows. I had a ticket to Tweedy’s sold-out show tonight at the Orpheum in downtown Phoenix, and figured I might as well request a track.
It was harder to pick a song than I would have guessed. I’ve seen Wilco five times, from the smallest of venues to the largest, and had also caught a Tweedy solo show in Chicago during the storied Yankee Hotel Foxtrot era. As a result, I’ve heard the band play live just about everything they’ve recorded — and if I haven’t heard them play it live, chances are that even they don’t like the song. So who was I to beg something of them? If Tweedy was going to play a single request, why should my choice take precedence over the 18-year-old who has never heard the crowd sing along with “Jesus Etc.,” or scream “Nothing!” at the climax of “Misunderstood”?
But it is in the nature of the die-hard music fan to be greedy, and in that spirit this afternoon I began scrolling through the band’s catalog. I very nearly asked for “Cars Can’t Escape,” an eerie YHF-era rarity, but for some reason my mind drifted to “Passenger Side.” It’s an old song, from Wilco’s first record, and on the surface it can seem slight: a broke-ass kid, who has no car to speak of, begs a ride off a girl. But “Passenger Side” is studded with charming little details: the speaker reveals that he has a “court date coming this June,” has $5 they “can put in the tank,” and, above all, that he hates riding on the passenger side. Rock songs have long associated a set of wheels with freedom, but rarely has one seemed this vulnerable.