Crush of Veils and Starlight

comments: 54


I woke up this morning thinking about Wilco, and thinking about how the encore at their show last week was really long, and was actually the best part of the show, after that teaser where you think they're gone and they make you feel that they're gone, you have to cheer them back on and I really did feel that we needed to cheer for them to come back or they wouldn't come back, how some of the songs that I know only from the CDs made so much more sense live (the ones with lots of distortion, like "Via Chicago" — when the booming and the flashing lights started each time I was overwhelmed — I felt just like that, as if I might explode — a great moment at 3:12 [from a show the day before, not ours, but it was just like that] — the saddest moment in the world somehow). As soon as Jeff Tweedy came on stage I started worrying about him, about whether he was having a good time, whether he liked us all (because I wanted him to love us all), if he felt alright that day, and I always worry about this when I see bands — I really want them to have a good time, want it to be the best show ever, but for them, not us. I'm told this is a really bizarre thing to worry about but it happens every time. With Tweedy you just feel like you want to knit him a sweater or make him chicken and biscuits, anything warm. It occurs to me that I could be happy being a Wilco groupie, just following them around the world, sitting out in the crowd at every show, feeling anxious and hopeful, letting him weave up the sadnesses and shoot them out in a rush of light and sound. "This is the highest crowd in the world," he said, softspoken, and the laughter just bubbled out of me, it felt so good to laugh. The moon rose over the trees at Edgefield, that strange, melancholy place and I just wanted to stay there, and sleep in the chair, under the pine trees on the lawn, and think about home, and summer's end.


We did wind up spending the night but in the hotel and not on the lawn. It was almost the same, with the big windows open in our room on the first floor of the manor house, that John Irving–like behemoth that used to shelter the residents of the Multnomah County Poor Farm. After the show, we wandered around all the little outbuildings — at night all the little drinking spots are lit up with millions of little lights. I didn't take pictures, just walked, but they have a slide show that really captures what it feels like there. After we went to bed, drunk people wandered past our window until 2 a.m., laughing and shouting to each other at the top of their lungs, lost in the maze of Edgefield and alcohol. This is the little pub and distillery by the golf course. It used to be a potato shed and a horse barn.


The McMenamin brothers are well-known in the Northwest for renovating historic properties and turning them into rather amazing pubs and hotels. I tend to feel the history too heavily when I'm at their places, but I'm weird about that. The history at Edgefield feels very close, especially in the morning when it's quiet, in the gardens where the poor farm residents grew kale and onions, picked apples.



I feel lucky to have gotten to see Wilco. I hardly ever see live music anymore. I forgot how it works. You have to be there to remember, maybe. I don't know if it always works, either. But it did this time so that's enough for me. Thank you thank you.


On the way home, a quick side-trip to see the view. I hope the boys in the band stopped here and saw this, you know? I worry about those boys.


On the way home, $2.50 a bu.


I simply LOVE spending time at Edgefield! I was able to go and enjoy the gardens a few weeks ago but sadly Wilco sold out before I was able to get tickets :( What a wonderful break-away you guys were able to have and I'm sure the boys in the band felt your love and care for them on this lovely summer evening ;)

Beautiful. What a great way to spend the day. I saw Wilco in Sioux Falls, South Dakota once and they rocked - well, rocked in the subdued Wilco way. But I love them. So I'm glad you had such a great time. You were past due regardless of what you might have done the day before.

Beautiful writing. And that view... wow.

I worry for Jeff Tweedy in other ways, the red of his eyes fixed in a trance at times, sometimes slurred speech. I do wish for him to be well. I hope he was well the other night. It makes me hurt so much that I can't listen to their music anymore. This is how I am overly attuned to the painful parts. Relief! That magenta door frame is plenty relief for me. Thanks Alicia.

Amy in Tillamook says: August 29, 2007 at 12:01 PM

you and my husband with the Wilco. I tried way too late to get tickets for that show for him. I haven't been to a concert since moving to OR so hubbie is trying to get me to pick something out of the Arts section for birthday.

Great, amazing weather, doncha know?
Tillamook has been in the 80s for the past 3 days and I'm tellin' ya that just doesn't happen. I digress.

we saw jeff tweedy (solo) at the crystal ballroom last year, and he really *did* hate us (or all the people in the crowd talking non-stop anyway). i hated them too.

so glad you got to enjoy that show!

I worry that if I confess that I've never "gotten" Wilco, you would not want to be my friend. (Assuming you would, anyhow!) This post, though, makes me feel like I need to give them a serious listen and re-try.

I do like Son Volt. That sort of counts, almost. Maybe? That inn looks amazing.

We were there over Memorial Day weekend. I love the place.

I'm pretty sure without three children, I'd be following Jeff Tweedy anywhere. So glad you went out and heard some live music - so good for you to laugh and be moved like that. xoxo

the quick side-trip,
was it the vista house
at crown point?

i am asking
although i live in florida,
i was in oregon 2 weeks ago
this looks like what i saw.


amazing view!
so amazing i kept taking photos
of the same view over and over again.
what a treasure!

Wow! What great pictures. Have you ever heard Jeff Tweedy's cover of Dreamin' (Blondie)? I love that song and he does a very haunting version.

I finally went to Chicago last week and thought of you! Oh my gosh!!! I LOVE that town. Can't wait to go back. We had sushi at Sai Cafe in Lincoln Park. Yummy!!! Try the volcano roll. You have to love a place where the main hobbys are drinking beer and eating hot dogs and pizza.

I've been there, we always laugh because we enunciate "Poor House" as a friend's husband misheard and gleefully thought he was staying in a former house of disrepute.

A bu, eh?

Beautiful pics as always. What in the world is this so called "Wilco". No, I don't live under a rock either!!!

Wilco will be performing at the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago. Sadly I don't have tickets to the show. However I will be taking a seat outside the Pavilion. Who says I can't listen. :)

You're so sweet to worry about the band. That's the cutest thing I've ever heard. When Aaron's band plays, I usually just try to make sure Aaron eats something first and stays far away from the tequila. And if no one is dancing, I'll dance. Other than that they're on their own. You must be a much better bandwife than me!!!

I know what you mean about live music. There's something really compelling, energetic, that give and take between performers and audience. I really, truly do think that I always love the albums whose songs I have seen performed live the best. Those never seem to grow old. I hear the opening strains of Alexi Murdoch's "Just Breathe," and I'm transported to an oppressively hot summer night in Seattle, sweat rolling in drips down the bodies of the hundred people packed breathless in a tiny venue to see this man - crushed together toward the stage to be close to him, and how those moments seemed to spin out into hours. It's magical.

I've never been to Edgefield, but have been longing to for some years now. Hopefully soon. I know what you mean about the history of Place. It comes through in your photos, too - which are beautiful. As ever. I particularly like that one of the pub, because that powerful light casting white-blue over the red is utterly fantastic. I think I'll go look at that for a while longer now...

There is nothing worse (in concert terms) that hearing a band/ singer hates playing where you live. That happened a couple years ago with my favorite singer- terrible audience- and I noticed we are not one the recently announced tour schedule this time around.
Luckily it wasn't Wilco, who have played 2 *free* shows where I live.

Oh god, I do the worrying about the band, too. It's sick.

I saw Wilco in Berkeley on Friday and Jeff told us we were the highest audience they'd played for...except for Portland. Shout out!

lecochonrouge says: August 29, 2007 at 01:22 PM

I live in a relatively sleepy place when it comes to live music, but we were lucky enough to have Wilco come and play last November. I felt the way you did - I kept hoping he liked us and realized that we were a Wilco worthy town. It ended up being one of the best Wilco shows I've seen and possibly the best show I've seen period. They put out great studio albums, but you can't beat seeing them in the flesh. Simply awesome.

we did one night at edgefield about three years is a whimsical magical place. i remember our mason jars of good beer and that door, i took a picture of it in the field. i took a another picture of a honeybee with so much pollen on it's legs it looked like a bear....your post just brought back such good memories. thank you.

I love Wilco too. I've never been lucky enough to see them live, but I did get to see Jeff Tweedy at LoungeAxe in Chicago before it closed. He is truly amazing & worthy of Chicken & Biscuits!

I have been to a McMenamin brothers pub and I too feel that same eery, slightly crushing feeling of history in them. They're fascinating but they give me a feeling in my tummy. I'm glad someone else feels the same way.

oh i love edgefield & all of the others too...i just think it is such a wonderful restore these places...last summer my husband & i stayed at the old saint frances school in was so great...highly recommended...& ps one of my friends is going to a concert on friday at edgefield...stevie wonder...yes, stevie wonder!...i didn't even know that he could be on a list of concerts to attend, it's like asking for bowls full of chocolate covered clouds or something...i am so excited for her...

you are making me miss portland and all the good summer shows...

Ahhh I'm just altogether too far away here in Australia...but having been resident of the Pacific North West (Vancouver, BC), I do so miss my time travelling along the Oregon coast, especially Portland (love those bridges)...

Anyway Wilco...sigh...listening to them lots at the moment...happy/sad music isn't it...

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at