Hudson's Fall Minneapolis Tour, Part 3: Wilco and a Pleasant Surprise Bonus Show

After finally catching up on my sleep after the Rock For Karl show, it's once again time to hit the road. This time, it's Wilco's second show in Minneapolis.

I hit the road around 10:30, and made it to my hotel by 2:30. With my concert companion busy until 6:30, I walked over to Let it Be Records and bought a couple of things, and then headed to Brit's for lunch and drinks.

We walked into the Orpheum (2nd row tickets!) midway through the opening act, Deerhoof. They were quite the band - a Chinese vocalist accompanied by some of Nels Cline's buddies. While a bit jarring at first, I found myself enjoying this band, especially the wild antics of drummer Greg Saunier.

Wilco started off their set with a handful of their quieter tunes. Well, quieter is probably not the best description. Let's just say these songs all started quiet, before evolving into the noisy interludes they've become known for. Most of their set consisted of songs from their last three numbers, and the A Ghost in You tunes really came to life. Kidsmoke, in particular, was absolutely stunning. The transitions from the long Can-ish drone to the more traditional hard rocking sections brought me close to tears. Tweedy also noted that they were earlier infomred that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot had gone gold, and also had an interesting political rant at the end of the show that surely infuriated a few audience members.

Oh, and Nels Cline is a guitar God!!!

Before the last encore, Tweedy announced that anybody with Wilco tickets could get into First Avenue for five bucks to see Camper Van Beethoven. Hell yeah! I've loved Camper ever since my buddy Don Holmstrom rescued their debut album, Telephone Free Landslide Victory, from KAUR's garbage can in 1985 (somebody up there had no taste). I saw them at the 7th Street Entry a few weeks after this discovery, and had travelled to see them a few other times over the course of their original incarnation. They even played an in-store at the original Ernie November's in '86 or '87.

A few days before the show, Camper had all of their gear stolen in Montreal while sleeping in their hotel room. Because of this, they were forced to borrow equipment from friends in various other bands, including Songs:Ohia. While there were some moments that you could tell that band members weren't completely comfortable with these instruments, they absolutely rocked. We had raced over from the Orpheum, and was able to find a spot right in front. They ran through a few songs from their great new album, New Roman Times, along with most of their 80's classics. Midway through the show came one of the best four song sequences I've ever witnessed. Starting with "Take the Skinheads Bowling" and moving through covers of the Clash's "White Riot", Black Flag's "Wasted" and "Shut Us Down", I felt like it was 1985 once again.

My companion had to leave shortly before the encores, so I stuck around for awhile. As the crowd cleared out, I noticed Jayhawks bassist Marc Perlman hanging out with Wilco bassist John Stirrat. Once Perlman (and his entourage) left, I chatted with Stirrat for a few minutes. He said the band really did just find out about the album turning gold, but admitted that Ghost has a long way to go before reaching that stage. We talked a bit about how great Camper played, and when asked about Nels Cline he laughed and said "it's great to play with a real guitarist". At that point, I let him enjoy his night, and made the long walk back to my hotel.

It was a perfect night - probably the first time in five years that I can honestly say I had a great time with absolutely no worries. It's going to be hard for Paul Westerberg to top this next weekend...but I'm sure he will.


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