Wilco played to a sold out crowd on Tokyo's Odaiba Island last night.
We first saw Wilco four years ago at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, when we were just young whipper snappers living in different European countries. Maybe it was the last minute meeting in Holland for 2 people tired of living thousands of miles apart, the bicycles flanking the streets or the romantic light coming in the stained glass windows of the converted church, but I think that may have been the best show we've seen.
Fast forward to last night, and we found ourselves on a man-made island (built on top of a landfill) at Palette Town's concert venue Zepp Tokyo. The scene of concert goers changed from flannel shirted-pot smoking-bike riders to young hipsters in suits just getting off work and the train. At concerts in Japan, the audience is ever so respectful---no one crowds to the front and sumimasens pepper the air as people politely jostle for a spot. Dancers quietly knee bob in their individual square foot of space. It's an audience that I'm sure must phase musicians at their first show. What, no hecklers? No fights? No moshing?
This particular crowd was probably made up of 15% foreigners. A good hour into the show, between songs, someone yelled out "Say something!" to which Jeff Tweedy replied, "shut-up." After a few songs he apologized to the Japanese crowd saying that "shut-up" wasn't for them, but for all the Americans in the crowd. Apparently, Americans at his shows want to make a connection from the audience and seem to think he is speaking directly to them. Charming.
The show was incredible. The music sounded even better than on the records and we loved all 2 hours of it. They are great musicians. It's a little bit disheartnening to watch your favorite band start to show the slow and eventual spread of the bellies and loosening of the hair. Rock stars aren't supposed to be mere aging mortals like us, but comparing the band member's physiques to that of 4 years ago makes me realize we are all growing up (and/or out).
The flannel shirts, shaggy hair and acoustic guitars made me homesick for Oregon. I know where my roots are and they seem to be calling me back home more and more these days.