Thursday, April 15, 2010

Same old thing we did last week

This entry began as a place holder for a more extensive account of my "Evening with Wilco" weekend finale in Pennsylvania.  Three quarters of the way through a very busy week, I have to acknowledge that a formal narrative just isn't in the cards.  Here, then, are various facts about my weekend in bite-sized chunks.  Bullet points: the lazy blogger's best friend.
  • The weather last weekend was gorgeous.  A bit nippy in the shade in Philly, but that worked itself out by the end of the day.  I love how much further along they are with spring out there.  As you can see from the picture above, cherry blossoms were in full bloom.
  • Heather and Russ took us to Reading Terminal Market in the early afternoon.  So much to see!  Such a long line for the ladies' room!  It reminded me fondly of other indoor markets I've visited over the years.  After gawking at the cake and candy counters after lunch, members of our party bought some amazing cookies for future snacking.  A wise choice.  
  • Tamala and I toured the house where Edgar Allen Poe lived in Philadelphia, which was a short walk from the Electric Factory.  Our guide was very nice, but seemed to believe she knew Poe personally (and called him "Eggert.")  Perhaps she doesn't actually work there at all, but shows up on weekends in a homemade uniform to give tours.  I bought a Poe-stcard on the way out, passing up Poe-sters and books of Poe-try.  (I know.  I had a million of them.  Be grateful you weren't there.)
  • We returned to the Electric Factory just in time to hear (from outside, but very clearly) a soundcheck full of cover songs.  They weren't being checked for any particular purpose, but even hearing the whole band play them through thin walls was good enough for me.  "A Fool Such As I," "The Losing End," "So Much Wine," "Thirteen."  Lap steel.  Sigh.
  • Another crazy long show in Philly.  The band ended with a Mike-laptop "rave" version of "I'm A Wheel," and if you count that, thirty-nine songs.  Hot damn.  I happened to be looking back at a setlist from a few years ago, and they'd played about twenty songs.  Oh yes.  Officially spoiled for all time now.
  • Because I see a lot of Wilco, I'm uncomfortable requesting songs unless specifically asked.  This means I don't make much use of the show-specific "request" feature on the band's website.  I've done it on occasion, but not more than once for a particular show, and then only rarely.  The odds are good I'll someday hear whatever it is I'm looking for, so I figure I shouldn't mess with anyone else's chance to hear a song they want.  That being said, I did request "That's Not the Issue" for the first Montclair show.  It wasn't played that night, but showed up a week later in Hartford.  Luckily for me, they played it one more time in Philly!  Long live the banjo!
  • At some point Saturday night, I tried a sip of Tamala's Wilco Tango Foxtrot (WTF) beer.  Still not a beer fan.  Good to know.  I think Paul also wore a bull mask, but that could be the WTF talking.
  • There was 2:00 a.m. cheesesteak.  
  • Sunday morning, off to Pittsburgh.  We drove right through Amish country.  Almost stopped for shoofly pie, but thought better of it.  (Are you sensing a food theme here?  That's because on our trips, there almost always is a food theme.)
  • I've been to Pittsburgh a couple times before, but never to the Pitt campus area.  I liked it very much.  It had more of an open, big-city feel than even the larger midwestern campuses I'm used to.  Everything seemed more substantial; more "real."  Museums, halls, parks, statues.  Outdoor dim sum/sushi/bubble tea pavilions.  There was also a carnival underway on Bigelow.  We narrowly missed an outdoor show by Jack's Mannequin!  We did see about twenty students wearing Jack's Mannequin shirts, though.
  • Met up with hometown boy Kris and his friend before the show, and learned more about comics than I knew before.  Which was nothing.
  • Carnegie Music Hall was much older and more ornate, and much smaller, than I'd been imagining.  It was beautiful inside, and we had a good view from the seventh row, but the show felt different from the previous general admission blowouts.  People alternated between sitting and standing, and didn't move much even when on their feet.  Happily, the sound quality made up for any weirdness in atmosphere.  Hearing every note clearly made the band playing "More Like the Moon" again that much sweeter.  The harmonies in "When You Wake Up Feeling Old" sounded excellent, too.
  • I'd been planning all week to eat the hell out of a Primanti Brothers sandwich in Pittsburgh on Sunday, but we made the mistake of putting it off until after the show.  When we walked in, they announced they'd just sold their last two sandwiches.  Damn it!  Never fear; I got my quota of late-night crap food anyway: a superdog (with bacon and American cheese) and a mess of fries at The "O."  One of these days, Primanti Brothers.  One of these days.
I won't be seeing any more Wilco shows before August, so it was nice to get my fill of these "Evening With" concerts while I had the chance.  For now, it's on to other things.  I'm currently in the midst of a do-something-downtown-every-night week, which is fun but messes with stuff like laundry and grocery shopping and trying on my bridesmaid dress with various shoe pairings.  And packing ...  this weekend, Chicago.

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