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Wilco in Boston

Good show by Wilco at The Wang Theatre this past Tuesday night. Certainly not the best show I’ve seen them play1 but one of the better performances I’ve seen from them in recent years.

It helped that it was at the beautiful Wang Theatre in downtown Boston.  It helped that it was a standing show. Past few Wilco shows I’ve seen have been at The Greek Theatre in Berkeley.  Which itself is at a great venue, but less great when everyone decides to sit on their ass. 

It helped that the album Wilco is releasing next week is a bit more up tempo and exploratory2 than the most recent releases, especially the boring to tears Sky Blue Sky album.  The new album – The Whole Love – certainly isn’t Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but then again Wilco will never make another album that great again. If you haven’t accepted that yet, you should.  Give it a listen if you haven’t yet.

One thing of importance I noticed during Tuesday’s performance was less reliance on Nels Cline.  He’s still great and ever present and I certainly can’t imagine Wilco without him.  But in past years, he was more at the forefront and the band would, at times, just get out of his wand let him explore his sonic space.  There was much less of that on Tuesday. He was more integrated with the rest of the band. The power drill he sometimes brings out was nowhere to be found.

Some final ruminations:

  • “Art of Almost” is a great song.  Nice direction the band is heading in with this one.  Actually, it reminded me of LCD Soundsystem and makes me think of what an entire album of that sound would be like from Wilco. In the future, I bet we see this take the role previously occupied by “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” during their live performances.
  • Speaking of “Spiders (Kidsmoke)”…first time I’ve seen them3 perform without that as part of the set list
  • “I’m the Man Who Loves You” really needs those horns.


2011/09/20 Set list.  Wilco at the Wang Theatre.  Boston, MA. 

  1. Art Of Almost

  2. I Might

  3. Black Moon

  4. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

  5. One Wing

  6. Bull Black Nova

  7. At Least That’s What You Said

  8. One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)

  9. Shouldn’t Be Ashamed

  10. Whole Love

  11. War On War

  12. Born Alone

  13. Handshake Drugs

  14. Impossible Germany

  15. Dawned On Me

  16. A Shot in the Arm 

    Encore –

  17. The Late Greats

  18. I‘m The Man Who Loves You

  19. Monday

  20. Outtasite (Outta Mind)

  1. Best show I’ve seen from them was at the Fillmore in San Francisco after they released A Ghost is Born. Among other things that night, they closed with a cover of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” 

  2. My friend Jeff refers to that as Wilco’s krautrock-y stuff 

  3. If my memory is correct, this was Wilco show #5 for me 

On returning to New England

It’s done. Despite the fact that I haven’t changed my mailing address or gotten a new driver’s license or even found a permanent place to live, it’s time for me to admit that I am once again a full time New Englander.

The family and I are all on the east coast and currently staying at my mother’s house in Glastonbury, Connecticut while we house hunt in the suburbs west of Boston.  We’ve emptied our house in Half Moon Bay and everything we care about is either with us or has been packed by the moving company into storage.  Both of our vehicles have safely arrived on the east coast.

Glastonbury is about 90 minutes from Boston.  Yes, we’re in the house I spent much of my childhood growing up in.  Yes, Keturah and I are sleeping in my old bedroom.  And yes, it feels a little odd to be back.

But it also feels good.  Keturah has a friend who is also moving back to Boston from San Francisco and on one of her recent Facebook status threads was the statement “we came for the lifestyle out west and we’re moving back for the lifestyle back east.”  That pretty much encapsulates how I feel about all this.  I loved living in the SF Bay Area.  But my love for it began to wane as soon as Keturah and I had children.  San Francisco is a great city.  A great city to be a young professional.  But it’s not the most kid-friendly area I’ve ever been to.  One of the reasons we moved back to New England was to live in strong family oriented communities.  I’m not saying those don’t exist in the Bay Area.  They do.  But for whatever reason, they don’t seem like the communities I grew up in.  Those of you who have experienced living in both areas probably know what I mean.

I haven’t spent significant time in Glastonbury since….I don’t know when. The town has exploded. There’s a second middle school. Downtown Glastonbury has tons of new restaurants and cafes. There’s a Whole Foods. The library has tripled in size.

But some things remain. It’s odd what I’m noticing. The car wash on Main Street is still there. I totally forgot about drive up bank tellers. Most of the banks have those.  And it’s still ridiculously confusing to figure out how to get from point A to point B. On day 2, we realized we had to go out and buy a top notch GPS in order to navigate the back roads of New England.1

But in the long run, this won’t be about returning to Glastonbury.  It will be about relocating to metro Boston.  For all the time I previously lived in New England2, I’ve never been a resident of Massachusetts.  And I think the longest consecutive string of nights I’ve spent in Boston is probably 4 nights.  So there’s a newness to this adventure that is very exciting to me.  One that I’ll be even more excited to embark upon as soon as we deal with the next thing in the relocation critical path – finding a house to live in.3

  1. We got a Garmin Nuvi 1450 LMT 

  2. 23 years 

  3. Mason starts kindergarten this fall.  So figuring out what town we want to live in is priority #1 

23 Hours in Boston

After WordCamp SF ends today, I’m taking the red eye flight tonight from San Francisco to Boston.  My flight lands at Logan around 7 am.  My friend Dennis is picking me up so that I can get some rest before gathering with friends in preparation for Phish at Fenway park tomorrow evening. 

Yes, that’s correct.  I’m travelling to Boston to see Phish at Fenway.


After the show, there will be more hijinks, then I’m jumping on a plane back to San Francisco at 6 am Monday morning. 

If all goes to plan, I will be in Boston for 23 hours.  Keep track of what’s going on by following me on Twitter

Am I crazy?  Obsessed?  Or inspired?

Upcoming Travel

Yes, this post is about travel plans I have after the summer and in the early part of 2009.  Life with a one year old – and soon to be a life with two kids – means you plan trips way in advance.  It’s the ultimate example of how life with little children can so very calculated.

Nevertheless, my enthusiasm and anticipation for these trips is hardly muted.  I definitely could use a long vacation. 

Boston – September 26 to 30

First up is a 4 day trip to Boston for a family wedding in late September.  This is the hardest trip we’ve got planned.  Not only are Keturah and I taking the redeye from San Francisco to Boston, we’ll be doing it with 2 kids.  Jude will be 8 weeks then and Mason will have turned two.  To say that our hands will be full is completely understating it.  But we’re determined.  If we can fly with Mason from San Francisco to Italy, then anything is possible.

We’ll be out there primarily for a wedding, but also hoping to catch up with some of the UVM crew

New York City – December 4 to 7

Another weekend trip east for a wedding.  Really excited to tear it up in Manhattan. The big difference being Keturah and I won’t have our kids in tow.  As I’ve been telling my friends in NYC, That means I’ll be drinking tons of bourbon, I’ll want a cigar after dinner, and Keturah will bust out her loud “I’m kinda drunk and I can’t keep my voice down” tonal range.

Costa Rica – January 30 to February 9, 2009

OMG…yet another trip centered around a friends wedding.  Amazing how these types of events always come in waves.  This is the big enchilada for us.  For two years now, Keturah and I have been pointing ourselves at milestones centered around our children. Before that, our milestones were always the big trip that we had on the horizon.  Costa Rica early next year is a return to that line of thinking.  Incredibly excited to be getting out of the country again and doubly excited that it’s not to Europe – where the crummy dollar exchange rate means a cappuccino costs you $10.

The Costa Rica trip will be our first extended vacation that’s just for the two of us since before Mason was born.  Since we traveled to Kauai in October 2005.  Looking forward to exploring a new country with minimal itinerary, a jeep, and not much more than a good pair of sandals.

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