Beginning its 36th season, Austin City Limits is now the longest running music series in American television history. The KLRU studio on the UT Campus, has hosted numerous musical legends. It's prominence is such that the venue was inducted into the Roll and Rock Hall of Fame.
The beauty of this show is that unlike the tripe you find on network TV, it is taped live. There's no lip-syncing, overdubs or auto-tune. If there's a problem they may do an extra take, but you're never going to witness a debacle like Ashlee Simpson. This show has the intimacy of a small night club, and really succeeds in capturing what I call the
You would think that after moving to Austin in 1993, that I would have already attended multiple tapings. I am ashamed to admit however, that this show was my first. It turns out, that the process for securing tickets to a show is a closely held secret, by those in the know. Donors to KLRU get preferential treatment, but everyone has to wait in line. With a capacity of 350, the seats are at a premium.
This season is particularly significant, because it will be the last one filmed at the present location. ACL will be occupying the new hall downtown in December. I can't wait to see the finished space, since it will have a much larger capacity. Since ACL only uses 47-50 dates per year, Live Nation will be booking it as a venue the remaining days. (I guess this means the Austin Music Hall is done now). Rumor has it that the very first ACL performer, Willie Nelson, will also christen the new stage.
Due to my involvement with the Austin Music Foundation, I have gotten to know several people that work for the show. To date however, this had not helped me secure tickets. So, when I saw the ACL tickets in silent auction at an AMF fundraiser, I didn't even think twice. Begging my friends hadn't worked, so I bought my way in ;)
Even though I had VIP passes, I was still required to wait in the same line as everyone else. I was about 20th in line, and although it was a little warm outside, the hour and half wait went quickly. Kudos to the KLRU staff for having bottled water outside, and the professional way everything was handled. Chit chatting in line, most of those around me were veterans, having been to multiple shows. All claimed, that I was in for a treat, and that it might be the best listening space in town for live music. (Honestly, I don't think it's any better or worse than Bass or the One World).
Right before 7PM when the doors opened, I could see that the line had grown, and it would be a full house. A later tweet confirmed this, with one of the ACL staff indicating that approximately 30 people were turned away.
Upon entering the studio with the first wave of people, I made sure to grab one of the vaunted front row, seats, just off the stage left corner. I took a couple quick cell phone pictures while the studio was still relatively empty.
Spoon took the stage at around 8:05PM and played for at least 90 minutes. There were several special guests, including Charlie Sexton. I am not intimately familiar with their material, but they seemed tight and well rehearsed. I did manage to find this picture of their setlist for those keeping score at home.
Although I didn't get a chance to corner him later, my friend Wayne Myers (who often plays with Graham Reynolds) was playing trombone in the horn section, which Spoon had hired for the night. The entire horn section seemed to all be local guys from Austin.
I included this last picture so that you can contrast it with the shot of the same space above.
I really enjoyed this evening, change my opinion on Spoon a bit (meaning I may actually buy a CD), and have promised myself to try and capture another ACL taping. Band of Horses perhaps?
One last note: This show is presently set to be aired on October 9 of this year, coincident with the ACL Festival.