For most of the 90s, and probably much of the late 80s (once I actually got into music in a bigger way), U2 was my band. I might mention that the first time I bought a CD player (7th grade) my favorite band was Huey Lewis and the News. Had lots of his stuff on tape. Then I think my first CD was either Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or maybe some jazz trumpeter (Maynard Ferguson).
Ok, but when I really started getting into music, it was U2. I can remember holing up in the back of the school bus on 8th and 9th grade outings listening to U2 Boy really, really loud. I'd still happily listen to that album any day.
But somehow, maybe after Zooropa came out, I started to shift allegiances. For quite some time, I don't think I had a band that was "the" band for me the way U2 had been. Things got a little more ecumenical. Sometimes R.E.M. was it, then other times Radiohead. For a time it was The Samples, then maybe Greg Brown. I also went through a Seattle grunge period where Pearl Jam was high on the list.
But some time in this last decade (probably beginning with the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot), I became comfortable with the idea that Wilco was my new favorite band. I don't worship them quite the way I worshipped the Edge and Bono in the 90s. But I do follow Jeff Tweedy's career very closely, and I think I have all their DVDs in addition to their CDs, something I rarely acquire with other bands (in fact, the only other musician I have on DVD is Neko Case, on and a Bob Dylan documentary).
Wilco represents pretty much everything I like about alt country, one of my favorite movements in indie rock. I love being able to go back into their back catalog (and especially back to the the previous bands like Uncle Tupelo) to get that kind of twangy cross-over from country to rock. Some of their early stuff is actually recordings with Billy Bragg of unrecorded Woody Guthrie tunes.
I like his side projects, like Loose Fur and Golden Smog. Loose Fur really rocks the house, and my son and I love to rock out to that album. So does my brother. Finally, in concert on the stage he is really quite funny. Try the DVD of his solo tour, for example.
This past summer I finally had the chance to see Wilco live in concert, and it just so happened that we were in Colorado and saw him at Red Rock. This felt like the final shift from U2 over to Wilco, because one of my favorite albums of all time, and the reason I was psyched to see Wilco at Red Rock, is Live at Red Rock by U2.
I realize this is a nerdy, fan-like music review, and it may be the only kind of music reviews I can write. I geek out over music. So be it.