Kicking Television: Live in Chicago

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
They're not a "jam band" -- far from it, really -- but Wilco have established themselves as one of the most dynamic live acts on the planet, a reputation that's cemented by this razor-sharp two-disc set. Recorded over a four-day stand in the band's de facto hometown of Chicago, Kicking Television documents the gelling of what leader Jeff Tweedy has called the band's best lineup ever, and it suggests that further highs are yet to come. Wilco set the tone early on with a precise, pounding version of "Misunderstood" that gains extra tension from Tweedy's hyperextension of the "nothing" chant at the song's core. From there, the sextet explode in all sorts of directions, ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
They're not a "jam band" -- far from it, really -- but Wilco have established themselves as one of the most dynamic live acts on the planet, a reputation that's cemented by this razor-sharp two-disc set. Recorded over a four-day stand in the band's de facto hometown of Chicago, Kicking Television documents the gelling of what leader Jeff Tweedy has called the band's best lineup ever, and it suggests that further highs are yet to come. Wilco set the tone early on with a precise, pounding version of "Misunderstood" that gains extra tension from Tweedy's hyperextension of the "nothing" chant at the song's core. From there, the sextet explode in all sorts of directions, with much of the adventurousness coming from guitarist Nels Cline, who uses "Spiders Kidsmoke" as a launching pad for his gripping free-jazz excursions. His presence has clearly altered Wilco's general makeup, but Tweedy remains at the helm of the ship, what with the subtle and not-so-subtle changes he puts his compositions through here. Radical reworkings include "The Late Greats," which sheds its skronk-dappled skin to reveal a high-lonesome honky-tonk core, and "Jesus, Etc.," on which the studio version's cerebral musings are lightened with a late-night looseness redolent of the brandy snifter. On songs like "Heavy Metal Drummer" probably the closest thing Wilco has to an instant gratification anthem, Tweedy lets his inner pop purveyor take charge -- a state of affairs that keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen is particularly important in shoring up. More than anything else, Kicking Television is a document of a group of musicians so comfortable in their own collective skin that they play as if the audience wasn't even there -- a method that proves far, far more crowd-pleasing than it sounds.
All Music Guide - Mark Deming
While Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born established Wilco's reputation as one of America's most interesting and imaginative rock bands, both albums were the product of a band in flux, and this was particularly evident to those who saw the group on-stage after the release of YHF. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot may have blazed new sonic trails for Wilco, but the departure of Jay Bennett in the latter stages of its production left the band with an audible hole when they played the new material on-stage, and while multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach may have been a technically skilled player, he looked and sounded like a cold fish in concert, unwittingly emphasizing the cooler surfaces of Wilco's new music and negating much of the passion of Jeff Tweedy's songs. However, by the time Wilco hit the road following the release of A Ghost Is Born, the group's latest round of personnel shakeups had the unexpected but welcome effect of spawning one of the group's best lineups to date; after Bach amicably left Wilco, the addition of keyboard and guitar man Pat Sansone and especially visionary guitarist Nels Cline gave the band players whose energy and passion matched their technical skill, and suddenly the band was playing its challenging new material with the same sweaty force Tweedy and company conjured up in the band's earlier days. Thankfully, Tweedy had the good sense to document the prowess of Wilco's latest incarnation on-stage, and Kicking Television: Live in Chicago, recorded during four shows at the Windy City's Vic Theater, offers a welcome second perspective on the band's more recent work. With the exception of two numbers from Wilco's collaborative albums with Billy Bragg in which they set Woody Guthrie's poems to music, Kicking Television focuses exclusively on their "post-alt-country" work, but while many of the songs featured here sounded cool and mannered in the studio, here they gain new muscle and force, not to mention a great deal of enthusiasm, and while tunes like "Ashes of American Flags" and "Handshake Drugs" are never going to be crowd-pleasers in the manner of "Casino Queen," the élan of this band in full flight shows that the fun has been put back in Wilco, albeit in a different and more angular form. Nels Cline's guitar is especially bracing in this context, and his marriage of melodic weight and joyous dissonance fits these songs while expanding on their strengths at the same time. And the title cut thankfully proves that Wilco still can and still does rock on out. Kicking Television is the best sort of live album -- a recording that doesn't merely retread a band's back catalog, but puts their songs in a new perspective, and in this case these performances reveal that one great band has actually been getting better.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Daniel Durchholz
There is a celebratory mood to the two-disc set.... They may be at their creative zenith.

There is a celebratory mood to the two-disc set.... They may be at their creative zenith.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/15/2005
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597990324
  • Catalog Number: 79903
  • Sales rank: 11,747

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Wilco Primary Artist
Nels Cline Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar, Group Member
John Stirratt Bass, Vocals, Group Member
Jeff Tweedy Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Glenn Kotche Percussion, Drums, Group Member
Rich Parenti Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Baritone (Vocal)
Mike Jorgensen Piano, Keyboards
Pat Sansone Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Group Member
Nick Broste Trombone
Patrick Newbery Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Technical Credits
Woody Guthrie Composer
Jay Bennett Composer
John Stirratt Composer
Jeff Tweedy Composer
Nick Webb Mastering
Wilco Audio Production
Mycle Konopka Engineer
Glenn Kotche Composer
Timothy Powell Engineer
Nathan Baker Cover Photo, Technical Crew
Zoran Orlic Cover Photo, Inlay Photography
Stan Doty Live Mixing
Frankie Montuoro Technical Crew
Matt Zivich Technical Crew
Chris Hoffman Technical Crew
Mikael Jorgensen Composer
Deborah Miles-Johnson Technical Crew
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Customer Reviews

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