Day 104: Wilco – Kicking Television: Live in Chicago

12 Jun


Live rock albums are tough to pull off.   Rock concerts are such unique experiences; recreating them in the album format is impossible.  Bands always try, though, probably because they know people will buy anything.  That’s not to say that live recordings can’t be enjoyable—they just can’t replace great rock shows.

Kicking Television was recorded over the course of four back-to-back Wilco shows at The Vic Theater in Chicago.  Having seen multiple shows at The Vic, I understand why Wilco would want to play there four days in a row.  It’s a great, historic Chicago venue, but more importantly, it’s fairly intimate—at least compared to the much larger venues that Wilco usually fills.

As far as live records go, Kicking Television isn’t anything special.  It does give me a reason to listen to some of my favorite Wilco tracks (Via Chicago from Summerteeth and Heavy Metal Drummer from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) that I haven’t gotten to listen to this Wilco Week, but, as expected, this record doesn’t come close to beating an actual concert for me.  And if that’s the case, there isn’t too much of a reason to listen to it, is there?  Might as well just listen to the higher quality recordings found on the studio albums.

And yet, that’s not how I actually feel.  I know, it’s illogical, but there’s just something about live recordings.  They’re fun to listen to every now and then.  They serve as a memento to what I’m sure was an awesome experience for the couple of thousand who actually witnessed these live shows, and while they don’t recreate the experience, it lets me hear how fun these concerts must have been.  It’s been too long since I’ve been to a show.


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