He’s so right. I completely agree with Ben Rubenstein as he reflects in his MixTape Confessions Popmatters column on a recent trip to see Wilco’s concert/tour film Ashes of American Flags at the Music Box in Chicago.
Ben says that the crowd in the theatre was surprisingly subdued and that it made the screening of the film that much more of a downer. And I know exactly what he’s taking about. Because the crowd has way more power over a performance than we realize. Though this screening wasn’t actually a live concert I connected with Ben’s insight when he riffs on the feelings of having your expectations come crashing down.
Without going into the show with the right perspective and realistic expectations, watching a concert film of your favorite band (especially if you weren’t at the show featured in the film) can be like eating leftovers expecting them to taste as sweet and succulent as the original meal.
I have yet to see Ashes of American Flags, but I was surprised to learn that it doesn’t feature any Chicago shows but instead is filmed at the 9:30 club in Washington D.C. Probably another reason why Rubenstein and the crowd watched in subdued exhilaration as a hometown Chicago band played infront of a non-Chicago crowd forever captured in time and history on the silver screen and a forthcoming DVD.
Seeing Wilco live holds a special spot in my concertgoers heart on many levels as my experience of having a medical emergency at a 2006 show and last year’s Riveria show were both inspirations for Live Fix posts and personal concert highlights. Like most Wilco fans, I was also bummed when the original plans to release the footage from Wilco’s Chicago Theatre shows for Kicking Television were aborted. Nonetheless I’ll be sure to check out Ashes of American Flags and get back to you should there be any more insights.
Have you seen the Wilco film? What’d you think of it?