• 2.17-21.8 Chicago bound : my Family here

    Cousin's backyard - Mid Winter 2008 Chicago, ILCousin’s backyard – Mid Winter 2008 Chicago, IL

    Strange, unfamiliar, alienated from my norm but yet it was all too easy. This was the overall feelings of the day. I spent a lot of time avoiding the cold by staying inside watching cable TV- catching up on movies that I’d soon forget anything about. I alternated between that and did online communication exchanges of contexts that at the end, were just time fillers.

    Strangest of this whole thing with the family was this odd shaped hole where I fit back in. I was staying with my cousin Tina (P’Pu), one of a handful of cousins I grew up with in the tiny town in Thailand. (That’s the home ran by our maternal grandparents.) She – being a few years older, was always the one looking after me. She was the perfect model child especially for me to take example of. She has always been so proper, sweet, practical, good at all things intricate. She was culturally correct and harmonious with all people of all ages. She left us from Thailand when she was about 12 to her parents living in Chicago with 2 younger brothers – Dean and Danny. I hadn’t seen them in probably 14 years, I think, since her wedding here. 

    I came to realize the dynamic of a family composition. The reason we are who we are is because everyone else around us were a certain way. In my case, I suddenly felt explained – after decades of clouds. And all this without the expense of compromising my identity.

    Introductions and reintroductions… Tina (P’Pu) has now 2 children. Her oldest is about 12, Pan. Pan looks EXACTLY like Tina the way I always thought of her. Tina is stuck at 12 in my memory. It was creepy. And what do you know… Pan was even MORE perfect of a child. How is this possible? Pan keeps up extracurricular activities of swimming, volleyball, violin, piano, art, AND she’s very advance in karate! Yet her manner is outstandingly polite. I suddenly found myself becoming a huge fan of her. 

    Pan’s brother Jay, about 9, on the other hand is strangely quiet. He observes and smiles. I don’t think I heard him made a sentence the whole time I was there. He also looked exactly like Danny, his uncle, at the age I remember of Danny – at about 9. 

    Slightly catching up with Tina’s parents, my aunt Na Tew and her husband Na Chusak was not too bad. I guess at my age, they just gave up on trying to tell me what is wrong with me. (…)

    Tina and her son Jay

    Tina and her son Jay

    Pan

    Pan

    Pan's buddy Taty

    Pan's buddy Taty

    Pan and Taty's day off

    Pan and Taty's day off

    Pan and Taty making a movie

    Pan and Taty making a movie

    At some point I decided that it would be so cool to take Pan to see Wilco. It will be her first concert ever. Pan’s friend Taty has been hanging around, so I’d take her, too. I was excited to see what they would think about the concert scene in general, and how would Wilco translate to them.

    As it turned out, the big excitement was the fact that they were staying up late on a school night.  And it proven difficult with them getting tired. I’ve gotta say though, that they were the greatest kids ever. I asked them to stay out of everyone’s way and stay near me at all time. They did exactly that. I adore them.

    Pan and Taty hiding at Wilco's stage right

    Pan and Taty hiding at Wilco's stage right

    Pan and Taty being bored backstage

    Pan and Taty being bored backstage

    Pan and Jay getting ready to go to school

    Pan and Jay getting ready to go to school

    Tina (P'Pu) in charge

    Tina (P'Pu) in charge

    Pan and Jay on the way to school

    Pan and Jay on the way to school

    Pan is heading to volleyball class

    Pan is heading to volleyball class


  • 2.20.8 Chicago bound : Destination Wilco day 5 Riviera Theatre

    Audience gathered in line waiting for the venue door to open     Audience gathered in line waiting for the venue door to open

    Finally the last night of a this residency at their home town Chicago . This day is as good as any day for me to say something about this band Wilco.

    This is the 2nd run I got to photograph them in an extended period of time. The first time being the West Coast tour in August of 2007. Then, I flew up to get on board with them in Redmond, Washington and rode-along southward covering all the shows in Troutdale, Oregon, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Jay Leno show taping in Burbank. All this was possible because of  their lead guitarist Nels Cline, my top friend. He vouched for me. 

    When I met this band for the first time, I only had vaguely heard of them. The most preparation I got before the trip was to look up wikipedia for the band members’ names. I jumped in and pretty much fell in love with this band before the end of the first show. 

    What makes this band outstanding in my view is first and foremost, the great catalog of music. The more I hear, the more I feel, the more it was right. The quality of the work is the core. Then the personalities around it, the work ethics and structures, the drives, the coordination, were all functioning. The most impressive thing of all was the amazing crew of people who were outrageously nice. All the managers Jason, Abby, Ben, Tony, Nate the drum tech, Steve the monitor guy, Matrix & John the guitar techs, Andy the merchandise manager, .. everyone all the way to the truck drivers were so very friendly and kind. It’s definitely a family.

    Maneuvering around this was then easy. Everyone was so inspiring.

    So here I was – day 5 of a very special event. By this time I was already used to with the cold lifestyle. For no other reasons than watching my cousin pulled together her daily routine without and issues. I was very comfortable in this city. Even the Wilco fans were a lot of the same sweet people I saw over the 5 shows. Dedication, love, and community – What an amazing entity in itself.

    Picture round up :

    Lovely people!

    Lovely and brave people!

    Will Call stationeer

    Will Call stationeer

    Securities in place, about to open the door

    Securities in place, about to open the door

    Mad rush for the best spot

    dashing for the best spot

    Audience anticipation

    Audience anticipation

    Pat and Mikael figuring out the samplers or .. the modules... or the plugins..

    Pat and Mikael figuring out the samplers or .. the modules... or the plugins..

     

    Sheet Music for the "Total Pros"

    Sheet Music for the "Total Pros"

     

     

    mic'd amp

    mic'd amp

    Mikael

    Mikael

    Nels Cline's petals and effects

    Nels Cline's petals and effects

    Pat

    Pat

    Mikael

    Mikael

    Ken streaming live music and stills

    Ken streaming live music and stills

    John

    John

    Zoran Orlic, the Wilco photographer

    Zoran Orlic, the Wilco photographer

    Nels

    Nels

    Mikael

    Mikael

    Jeff

    Jeff signing some posters

    Ben Levin and the Total Pros

    Ben Levin and some people

    Glenn and Ben

    Glenn and Ben

    Jeff

    Jeff

    John

    John

    Wilco last night , last song ending the 5 show residency

    Wilco last night , last song ending the 5 show residency


  • 2.19.8 Chicago bound : Destination Wilco day 4 Riviera Theatre

    Yes. I was there. But … I can’t find the negatives from this whole night. 
    They – will – turn – up —-


  • 2.18.8 Chicago bound : Destination Wilco day 3 Riviera Theatre

    Day 3 of the show : I was so excited to bring with me my 12 year old second cousin, (or niece in Thai term), with me to the show. This was crazy amazing mainly because it will be her first concert ever. Her best friend also coming along with her. Manager Jason was super cool that he gave them “working passes” so they can run around with me freely.

     

    John with acoustic bass guitar and Glenn

    John with acoustic bass guitar and Glenn

    Mikael and Pat keys moment

    Mikael and Pat keys moment

    Andrew Bird and Glenn Kotche

    Andrew Bird and Glenn Kotche

    Pat, Jeff, and Glenn before show

    Pat, Jeff, and Glenn before show

    Nels during the show

    Nels during the show

    Pat during the show

    Pat during the show

    John and Glenn during the show

    John and Glenn during the show

    Glenn

    Glenn

    Guest - Andrew Bird

    Guest - Andrew Bird

    Jeff

    Jeff

    Wilco on stage day 3

    Wilco on stage day 3


  • 2.16.8 Chicago bound : Destination Wilco day 2 Riviera Theatre

    Day 2 of so many things :
    Day 2 of Chicago winter.
    Day 2 of reconnection with family
    Day 2 of  Wilco-centric photography

    Wilco the snacks

    snacks

    Nels and Glenn discussed yet another music related item

    Nels and Glenn discussed yet another music related item

    Mikael Jorgensen and Manager Extraordinaire Jason Tobias

    Mikael Jorgensen and Manager Extraordinaire Jason Tobias

    Jeff T going through some songs

    Jeff going through some songs

    Mikael going through songs

    Mikael

    Glenn.. also going through songs

    Glenn

    Andrew Bird sits in with Wilco

    Andrew Bird sits in with Wilco

    Pat does his thing

    Pat does his thing

    Jeff during the show

    Jeff during the show

    Nels during the show

    Nels during the show

    Glenn during the show

    Glenn during the show

    Wilco on stage

    Wilco on stage


  • 2.15.8 Chicago bound : Destination Wilco day 1 Riviera Theatre

    A short flight from New York over to Chicago was simple. I arrived early in the morning to situate myself for the next five days of my stay in the city. The first concert was happening later the same day. The midwestern dead winter cold had been a challenge to me. It was the first time I experienced the temperature under … 30º! It snowed a tiny bit. It was the first snowing action I’d seen, ever. It was like powder…., yes, a profound observation here. I think it was 8º or some silliness. I don’t get how humans can live in such dramatic weather conditions? Looking at the buried drive ways and vehicles, it made me want to rebuild everyone’s houses to be underground with a heat pad roof top. But I speak purely out of humor at the expense of my own ignorance. Here I was looking forward to Wilco’s 5 day residency at the Riviera Theatre in Uptown Chicago. By the time the plane landed, I was  more queasy about meeting up with my family who I hadn’t seen in over a decade. I’ll be staying with them.

    I’ll skip the family part for a different blog.

    Later in that afternoon, I took the train from 10 miles northwest of the venue to arrive around 4pm to catch the soundcheck. The theater was a good size holding about 2500 people. All of the the 5 nights were sold out. What was most impressive to me was to see a line of people in freezing cold outside waiting to get in so they can get the best spots. The door opens at 6, but people arrive as early as 9 or 10 am! (I photographed some of that in later days. It took me more than a day to get used to being out in the element, and finally I got the guts to go take pictures of people huddling outside.) This band is so loved, and rightfully so, I think.

    tampered

    tampered

    Rehearsal/SoundcheckJohn – Soundcheck
    Jeff Tweedy

    Jeff Tweedy

    residency day 1 The Riviera Theatre, Chicago

    Jeff - residency day 1 The Riviera Theatre, Chicago

    residency day 1 The Riviera Theatre, Chicago

    Pat's side of stage - residency day 1 The Riviera Theatre, Chicago

    residency day 1 The Riviera Theatre, Chicago

    Nels - residency day 1 The Riviera Theatre, Chicago

    residency day 1 The Riviera Theatre, Chicago

    Glenn - residency day 1 The Riviera Theatre, Chicago

    Glenn

    Glenn