By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
By Chaz Kangas
By Allison Babka
By Bob McMahon
By Allison Babka
By Tef Poe
By Mabel Suen
Change it to:
'Cause I would play everyday, even on the MetroLink
I woulda got a summons but they forgot to mail it
I'm the leader of the show, keepin' you on the go
But I can't live without my t. ravs and Imo's
"1-900-L.L. Cool J"
I'm full of flair, savoir faire, debonair
There's no competition, for this here
So don't waste your time and breath
I'm givin you all a big F
This can stay basically the same, but because this is Missouri, be sure to pronounce the French words as incorrectly as possible -- perhaps as "savoir fairy" and "debonairry."
"The Bristol Hotel"I seen her standin' there, slutty as could be
Offering the putty for an itty-bitty fee
Every red light she'll come over to your ride
Or she's standin' in the doorway tellin' you to come inside
The Bristol Hotel, 'cause it ain't no thing
And her meat tastes better than Burger King
Uh...you can probably keep this one just the way it is. -- Ben Westhoff
Homegrown Sounds: Wilco
Wilco made its transcendent, shocking return to St. Louis last week, a decade after its first-ever show on November 17, 1994. That debut was at Cicero's Basement Bar in the Loop, and the question on many skeptics' minds was what Jeff Tweedy was going to do for a living after Wilco sputtered. Maybe he could tour and play old Doug Sahm songs, or simply build a little following based on the one great song that he had contributed to the Uncle Tupelo oeuvre, "New Madrid." If worse came to worse, maybe Euclid Records would rehire him.
"This is bizarre," mumbled Tweedy, all growed up and wearing a sophisticated sport coat, between opening songs at the Fox Theatre, where Wilco performed to a giddy crowd on Wednesday night. He clarified the statement a few songs later: "I'm not trying to make a big deal out of it, but who would have thought we'd be playing here?"
But for us, it is a big deal. We were proven so far off-base in our early estimations of Tweedy's abilities that we deny that initial skepticism. "Casino Queen," which Tweedy dedicated to his father during the show, with its deliberate rhyme scheme and chord progression, was what Tweedy used to be. But Wilco 2004 is another beast altogether, as far removed from its inception as an egg is from an eagle. Tweedy now knows how to write great songs, songs that breathe; he knows how to build a band (the addition of guitarist Nels Cline is an epiphany) and understands a little bit about wonder and the joy of creation. You could see it on the huge screen behind him, which throughout the Fox show projected images from nature and art: Butterflies, birds, spiders, sea creatures, all doing what they were put on this crazy world to do -- spin webs, fly, swim. Simply, live. And watching Wilco, it became clear very quickly, from the opening fingerpicks of "Muzzle of Bees," that these six (!) dudes were in the middle of their own web. They are where they're supposed to be.
You can see the set list online. But the highlights from one stunned admirer's perspective were "Poor Places," from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which moved from order to chaos as an agoraphobic singer moaned, "I'm not going outside"; "Spiders (Kidsmoke)," from the recent A Ghost Is Born, in which the lock-step rhythm-fest descended into tantrum; and "Handshake Drugs," the high-water mark (so far) of Tweedy's graceful, glorious ascent. Congratulations, and welcome home. -- Randall Roberts