This weekend? It’s going to be perfect. Here’s a couple reasons why:
1) Wilco. I’ve maintained for a while now that Wilco is the best band on the planet, and I finally get to see them again. I’ve seen them just one time before, at a free show at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in 2004; I was blown away back then, but it took several listens to the CDs that taper generously passed on to me before I really got everything. Since then, schedules (football, usually) and ticketing fuck-ups (mine, mostly) have kept us from another Wilco show. That especially killed me when they toured after the release of Sky Blue Sky, which swerved them back from the cacophony of the previous two releases and back towards something that sounded, occasionally, a little hopeful.
It was a nice switch, but I’m certain we’re going to hear plenty of the haunting old Wilco — like the above “Via Chicago” and its soaring country melodies and tortured lyrics. We’re going to hear a mess of new songs, too, from the record they just finished. And to top it off, Mrs. Crappy and I have killer seats, a fact I might have mentioned before.
2) Athens. We’re seeing the show in Athens, a place that still has the ability to put me at ease as soon as I see the Hocking River as I approach East State Street on the drive into town. Athens is where I spent my, uh, lengthy college career. And it’s where I made some of the best friends I have. It’s where I started my career. It’s where I met, and eventually proposed to, Mrs. Crappy.
I loved the town so much that I tried for a while to figure out how to stay; I know now that probably wouldn’t have been the best move, but it’s still there, and it’ll still feel like home when we arrive. We — the two of us and Fred and Ethel, who spent as much time in Athens as we did — will be able to walk into The Union after the show and see people we know; the breakfast we’ll have at Casa Saturday morning will be as good as it ever was. And we’ll be there on what looks to be one of those priceless spring weekends there, when everyone in town sort of loses their minds. Everyone will be outside, Uptown, at the buggies, in the bars. I had countless weekends like that when I lived in Athens; now, though, it seems like there weren’t enough. I’m thankful to have a shot, however brief, at one more.