We speculated which songs they would play when. I said that sure they would bring out Jody Stevens of Big Star fame. He’s one of our local celebrities, and at every (3) Wilco show I have seen around these parts, he drums for the band for a song or so. I warned someone to listen for the repeats of “Nothing, Nothing, Nothing, Nothing, Nothing at all“, but to keep Nothing-ing on, because you never know where they’ll stop it. And they MUST either begin or end with Wilco (the Song), because everyone needs to know that when ‘times get tough, the roads you travel rough, when you’ve had enough of the old, when you’re tired of being exposed to the cold’ Wilco will love you Baby.

We arrived, and the first order of business was to take care of beverages. If it can be helped, we don’t like getting up and losing sight of the show.  At one point we had a beer sandwich. There was a New Belgium tent set up outside the gates, and it made for some funny moments that New Belgium called it a VIP area. The 24oz beer cans were free compared to the 12oz draft pours of Budweiser ($5). At first, we skipped this area (hence the aforementioned 12oz swill). Not many people were there, and we didn’t “know” anyone there. Surely you had to have a pass for a VIP area. Apparently in New Belgium Brewing-speak, VIP simply means that you have the nerve to walk up and talk to someone you don’t know. The most fun we had was probably standing inside the tented area, sipping from our cold cans of better beer, listening to the opener, and watching people starting to come towards the tent and then reading the VIP sign and walking away. Why aren’t you VIP? Why wasn’t I? I mean, eventually I was, but only after my husband took care of the recon.

Enjoying the breezy sunset and river view from the New Belgium Brewing tent

Pre-concert New Belgium Sipping Mississippi River Sunset

New Belgium putting the squeeze on Bud Light

We love going to these shows because the band is so much fun to watch. This year, something else caught my eye.  I’ve heard since the concert that the rag doll light show is not new, but it’s the first time I remember seeing it. My first thought was – toilet paper lanterns – how DIY! My husband thought they looked like bras hanging out to dry. In any case, this feature of the show was visually addictive for me. I just kept staring at it. In one song, they would be gently illuminated, drifting in the breeze that came over the Mississippi. In another song, they looked like an Andy Warhol piece put to music. And in yet another, they looked like something out of an Indie film with bird wings flapping closer and closer.

Wilco, Memphis, Mud Island, 2012

We took a silly picture wondering where everyone was, as the small-ish amphitheater was not even close to full. But it was Barbecue Fest weekend in Memphis, which means that many of the folks who might ordinarily be moved to purchase tickets to a show like this were literally pigging out, possibly entertaining out-of-town guests, busy with cooking, contesting and starting the process of clearing out. In fact, even being the fairly serious fans that we are, we only bought our tickets the night before due to the possibility of having a house guest for the weekend. While we hate that our friend had to leave us earlier than we thought, we made the best of it – as you can see. 🙂

Wilco, anyone?

They didn’t play every song we hoped they would (and, no, we didn’t specifically request them through their website this time). But they played plenty. It was a great night. Great show.


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