Live at the Maine State Pier, July 18, 2009
My first car was a big green Buick LeSabre, and my only options then for music were Extendo-Ride, who were awesome, and a mix tape my older sister had made, full of Wilco songs off Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002, Nonesuch). That was how I got to know Wilco, and also at the same time into the local music scene. When Wilco played at the Maine State Pier on Saturday, their set — which spanned three encores — covered every song I hoped to hear. The set was remarkably tight, and fun to watch.
The high point for me was "California Stars" off Mermaid Avenue, their 1997 collaboration with Billy Bragg (sans Billy, sadly). When the noisy intro to "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" began, I flashed back to my old Buick. I thought about how much the local music scene has changed over the course of Wilco's career. So many bands have come and gone, and few have ever been on the same professional level as Wilco.
There is no reason why Portland cannot generate its own such band. Fifteen years on the road, playing many of the same songs, and still with an energy and professionalism rare to our city, Wilco must have offered Portland's local musicians a lesson in having a band and making it work out, on stage and off.
: New England Music News
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