Wilco, in a Nutshell
The crowd at Wilco made me feel like I was on a mushroom trip.
That’s probably the most factual thing I can say about the afternoon Alicia and I had at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass., where we went to see Wilco and Andrew Bird perform on Aug. 12.
I don’t know Wilco’s music at all. I mean, I’ve heard like one song on the radio and maybe one on Alicia’s laptop, but that’s it.
(I tried to listen to Wilco like four times, but I just couldn’t find one song I really liked. Their sound just isn’t distinct. – Alicia)
Notes I took on the band / scene included “alternative gone wrong” “unsure alternative people” “anti-social nerds found a nook.” Keep in mind I wrote all this down hours before Wilco took the stage. Actually I wrote it down in the first five minutes we were there.
(Actually, in the first five minutes we were there, we ate a sack of goldfish, some chickpeas and two sandwiches.)
The age group was so scattered but we finally figured out (with our superior math skills) that the median age was around 35. All of the male-female couples older than 35 were clearly not having sex. Well, not having sex with each other. It seemed like a lot of the men were gay and using wives as cover-ups, and a lot of the women were lesbians or overweight and didn’t mind having a gay husband as a cover-up.
The younger girls were dressed super cute, but the younger boys were just alternative style gone wrong. A usually hot fashion statement was totally lost on the male fans of Wilco.
(Also, there was a super-tall, super-skinny guy strutting around with a big smile on his face. I was like, ‘hmm, what strikes me here as odd .. ?’ Ange and I realized it was like he was an alien hiding in human skin. And when I went to take a pic of him, he swiveled his head around and looked RIGHT AT ME. It’s definitely how we picture Ford Prefect.)
Tanglewood is a pretty nice place located in a pretty nice area. We decided that the common thread between everyone there was money. They definitely all had a decent amount of money. I think it explains the awkward fashion sense in the males and the not-quite-jaded enough attitude that the crowd had. How can you be jaded when you’re rich?
(It’s like, how emo can you be? You don’t know my suffering. You don’t know my pain.)
I, however, am quite jaded.
The next thing we did after judging people was play a drinking game Alicia made up.
“I have a drinking game. It’s a point game. We have to drink every time we see somebody who looks like Mr. Sulu [from Star Trek].”
Sl Sl. Hahaha. That shit cracked me up at the time. Or maybe it was the mushrooms…
(To put this in context, I had just seen a guy that looked like Mr. Sulu.)
All day the 23-48 year olds kept walking around saying stuff like “Oh, let’s check where we’re sitting so we know where to go when Wilco starts.” “Oh, I told my friend I was going to see Wilco.” Wilco this Wilco that. Not only was the weird, wannabe-alternative, upper-middle-class fan base annoying me, but the name of the band was annoying me. The way it sounded when these people were saying it annoyed me. Like, “I just made some organic bean sprout and ate it while I sat on the yacht, all the while Wilcooo was playing in the background.”
Speaking of organic bean sprout, Alicia and I had a good time analyzing the relationship of the two lesbians sitting in front of us. They looked to be in their early 30s and we first noticed them because they had lots of good food. A lot of good veggie looking stuff.
(Uh, these bitches had salad, fruit salad, calamari, steak, a pig on a spit, ice cream sundaes.)
I noticed the one on the left (the more masculine presence in the relationship) (“butch”) was eating very daintily. She was forking each individual potato of her potato salad. Nobody eats like that.
“You can tell they’re not fully comfortable with each other yet because she doesn’t want to eat a lot. Although, I don’t remember ever holding back with Jon,” I said to Alicia. Thinking back, I once ate a mozzarella stick from the floor of his apartment before we were even dating. Fuck it, I was stoned. THIS IS ME, BABY!
(Are you kidding? I once squirted tomatoes innards all over the front of my dress on, like, a second date and was like “Ooops .. well, this is how I eat; get to know it.”)
Alicia guessed that it was their third or fourth date. I think she’s right on the money. The one on the left was like, staring into the other one’s eyes every time she talked like she was super interested. That shit doesn’t last past the fourth date, max.
(Wow, you are jaded.)
The first guy to get onstage was some dude named Andrew Bird, a “multi-instrumentalist.” (Like Bert in Mary Poppins!) He was decent. At that point Alicia and I were just rolling around on our blanket because we ran out of food and not that many people looked like Sulu, so our growlers sat untouched. I really wasn’t paying attention to anything but the inside of my elephant hoody.
(Meanwhile, I had spotted my 10th-grade English teacher, who had left my high school because he refused to be repressed by the bureaucracy of Drury High. I was in LOVE with him. I hadn’t seen him in at least four years. And there he was, only a few yards from me! We locked eyes and I started freaking out, being like, “Oh, god, Angela!?! Is that Duval!?! I can’t go over there; he won’t remember me. Or will he? Oh god o god!” Next thing I know, Mr. Duval sees me! I skipped over like a schoolgirl and we had a big hug .. he kissed me on the cheek! I felt like I was 17 again. We shared a real moment. Ahhh. What were we talking about?)
Wilco took the stage not long after and oh my ass. The singer, Jeff Tweedy, was wearing the most ridiculous shit I have ever seen. It was like, Sgt. Peppers gone wrong only not even close to the level of talent as the Beatles, which would make it okay. What I said at the time was,
“The fact that the singer thinks the band is good enough where he can wear that onstage pisses me off.”
(That’s when she casually mentioned the idea of going to Springfield. “Let’s go to Springfield,” she says. “Dollar drafts tonight. … Oh, no, we can’t.” Obvs she wanted to go, or she wouldn’t have told me, because she knew I would become obsessed with the idea and make her go. Which I did.)
By the end of the first song Alicia and I were on the horn with our Westfield/Springfield connection and our asses were out of there and on our way to Fat Cats for $1 drafts.
(What Angela didn’t mention is that we had no gas, were dressed like grubs, had no money, had no prospects. So I charged some gas. Ange borrowed a couple dolla dollas and two white T-shirts from her bf, and off we went.)
The next day my boss asked me if I had a good time at the show.
“Yeah. My sister and I actually left when Wilco started, but we had fun spending the day at Tanglewood.”
“Oh, really? I heard the sound out on the lawn wasn’t very good. I really enjoyed the concert, but I’m a fan of the band.”
My boss. Mid-to-late thirties, slightly nerdy, upper-middle class. I fuckin’ knew it.