A splendid bit of orchestration by everybody’s favorite alt-rock sextet, giving a view of performances in the City with Big Shoulders from backstage and the cheap seats alike.
The Rolling Stones are from London, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it to listen to their songs post-1966. Foo Fighters are global, from everywhere and nowhere. Gnarls Barkley live inside our heads. But Wilco, headed by a benevolent, latter-day Woody Guthrie–ish dictator named Jeff Tweedy (see the 2002 documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart for more on all that), is resolutely a Chicago band, at home in many of the city’s clubs—but also in places like the Civic Opera, where, in the opening tune in this package, “One Sunday Morning,” the walls ring in joy. (The song is subtitled “Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend,” hinting at Tweedy’s bookishness.) It’s also the opening tune in that performance of December 12, as readers learn from the set list. A gallery of razor-sharp photographs of the band in action accompanies the show, with a professorial-looking Nick Lowe and Mavis Staples joining the proceedings for a revelatory reading of The Band’s song “The Weight.” The “incredible shrinking tour” moves from downtown only as far out as Lincoln Park’s Lincoln Hall, which just goes to show how rich in musical venues Chicago is. The app opens with a video sequence of the city as an El train zips along the Blue Line, with a convenient stop not far from that venue.
Chicagoans in exile will feel all the more homesick, while Wilco fans, already well-served with music, concert footage and photographs from various sources, will absolutely want to have this in their collections. The price is right, too.