Before talking about the actual record, I feel like I have to make some sort of introduction:
I’m a total Wilco fan, I own all of their records and of the side projects, some of them even twice (CD and Vinyl), I have the Wilco books and I own the Wilco DVD, which is one of only 3 DVD is have. On the tour which is documented by this live album I have seen them twice live in Paris and, of course, I own and wear a Wilco t-shirt.
But does the world really need double live albums? And in particular a Wilco double live album? Wilco has a very open live taping policy and if you go to viachicago or etree.org (or you just search on Google) you can find plenty of Wilco live recordings. Also, live albums aren’t really always worth your time, as on the whole the studio albums are just plain better and also you usually know all the songs already. As for double albums, they are almost always too long for my taste (and attention span).
The first comment goes to the sound quality, which is, of course, far superior to all of the recordings circulating on the Internet so far. In the case of Wilco’s kind of music this does make a difference worth mentioning. In terms of the length of the album, I guess the choice was to have the full length of a show with the full set list. It’s almost 2 hours, but, to be honest, I don’t find it too long.
The selection of songs covers all of the Wilco albums, excluding A.M., but including the Mermaid Avenue records. I find that the songs are really revisited, the arrangements are pretty close to the originals, but played with good live feel. Handshake Drugs swings much more than in the studio and Via Chicago gets some serious bursts of noise.
So, surprise, surprise, I really like the album, and I have been pretty much listening to it all the (available) time. Is it a landmark recording? No, it contains ths songs from the studio albums that (maybe) are. Is it teh only Wilco album people should have? No, get YHF. Is it a great live album, that Wilco fans will like? Absolutely.