The roots-rock band Wilco stopped in Providence, RI as part of a sold-out tour in the US. My friend REL, a drummer who I have been playing awesome music with over the last year, hooked me up with a ticket and I said “yeah! I’ll go!” REL had an eclectic iPod so I was able to learn about bands such as Estradasphere. I’m a fan. Hear the sounds of our car ride in the short vid below.
We arrived in Downtown Providence with pub grub on our mind, but we wanted to get to the theater in time for the first chord. There was a group of people outside a bar and I asked “Are you from around here? Where is there some fast chinese food?” They weren’t sure if it’s open, but there was a sketchy chinese place down the street. We weren’t sold on it, and all of the sudden a panhandler came out and said “They were laughing back there because you were about to go into this restaurant. You want pizza? There’s a pizza place right at that corner over there, and it’s okay. But two doors down on the left is Saki’s, you gotta go to Saki’s. Great friggin’ pizza. Now I get the last laugh, haha!” I took a second to process the situation, and I figured he knows the area and I’ll take his advice, so I gave him a dollar.
The pizza was tasty! The bottom crust was oily and crunchy, but the middle was doughy, and the light amounts of sauce and cheese were just right. We headed down Washington St to the theater, now called Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel. The short vid below gives you a feel for the line going into the place and what downtown Providence looks like at night. Nice cityscape.
There was a nice cozy set with U-shaped nooks of electronic equipment for the two keyboard players, with the drummer in between. In front and below were guitarist Nels Cline, Guitarist/Vocalist Jeff Tweedy, and Bassist/Backup Vocalist John Stirratt. The set and lighting looked sweet with an “electronic age” theme like it was a 60’s living room. The drumming was tight, the riffs from Cline were awe-inspiring. Then, all of the sudden, the crew built a second stage. Cline and Tweedy picked up beautiful acoustic guitars and had a seat in a circle of what looked like a small, intimate den. There was also a mini drum kit and a no-frills digital piano. Here’s a recording of “Heavy Metal Drummer” from that part, where they take a song that a fan requests before the show, a policy they follow in every performance. They said it would be a challenge because they usually play this with a lot of effects.
I hope you get to see Wilco live. There is a great vibe. Their music is simple but compelling, and interesting from the twangy guitar solos, sometimes taken up a notch with the lap steel guitar.