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Sixteen Years: Thank You

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Through happenstance, I noticed that today marks 16 years since I joined this forum as an unbridled enthusiast for all things Wilco.


Today I remain deeply devoted to Wilco. They are still my favorite band.


I respond deeply to their music, of course, but that's only a starting point and not the main reason why they top my list; after all, I can think of another dozen bands with records that I love equally, maybe more. But a “band” is more than just a collection of songs. The reason Wilco tops my list is because of the total package and all of the ancillary details: The music, yes, but also all of the other important facts that have made a major imprint on my life—the history; the shows, including one living room show; the impact the music made on me when I most needed it; the people that I've met, including Jeff; the relationships cultivated as a direct result of Wilco; the Tweedy Show; the bottomless memories, meanings, and stacks of T-shirts. (Seriously, my collection is embarrassing.)


No other band has carved out such an important, long-lasting space in my life. Even when the music fades, or even when new Wilco music might leave me cold, that imprint remains and always will. The affection I feel for this band transcends their music.


Perhaps the most significant bonus feature of my Wilco journey has been Via Chicago. I’m an admin now, but I started as just a fan after longtime lurking, a little intimidated at first, and once I chose to dive in as a newbie and engage (and sometimes spar) with the veterans, I grew to love this place. I remember with deep fondness all of the old inside jokes (too many), scandals (remember the VW ads?), and perhaps the Internet’s greatest ongoing gag (list the albums in chronological order).


But it’s always been about the people. Many of my closest Facebook relationships started first at VC, and many evolved into real-life friendships. And I'll never forget the outpouring of love, support, and gifts that VC gave me and my family after a few members learned that my 18-year-old brother had been killed in a car crash in 2005. That was the most moving and breathtaking online experience of my life.


It's been a great 16 years.

Thank you, Wilco. Thank you, Via Chicago.



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We love you dearly, Eric, and Via Chicago is so lucky to have you on our administrative staff! You have written such a beautiful tribute to the whole experience of being a Wilco fan and a part of the VC community.
This community has always been a treasure trove of entertainment, excitement, support, and looniness. I think we do it well.:flirt :cheers

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How did everyone get so old so quick!? Nice to keep up with you over the decades at least virtually! Sorry about your loss. This community has been great to share all aspects of life in general with and it really is a nice community. I had lots of positive encouragement when I lost my job a few years back and it was very touching.  Met some great folks over the years here. I am pushing 20 years on here. Was on the board prior to the reboot in 2003. Crazy how much time has went by!

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3 hours ago, Beltmann said:

I had a full head of hair when this thing started! It's been great keeping up with you, too.


2 hours ago, remphish1 said:

Ha ha I had a full head of hair too back then 😎. Nice that music can bring all of us here together for so many years! 


Well if it's any comfort, guys, so did Jeff Tweedy. Clearly, rock 'n roll kills hair follicles. :P

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On 11/18/2020 at 12:21 PM, gogo said:

Put me down for the "really want to meet you in person someday!" list. :cheekkiss 


I had a dream about you this weekend, Mr. Beltmann (and it wasn't creepy!). We were having a big barbecue in our backyard, and you were there.  It made me nostalgic for seeing people in general, and for seeing Wilco friends in particular.  I've heard of words that describe homesickness for a place you've never been, or nostalgia for a time you've never known, but I don't know if there's a particular word for missing friends you've never met. :heartbroken

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On 11/24/2020 at 11:56 AM, gogo said:


I had a dream about you this weekend, Mr. Beltmann (and it wasn't creepy!). We were having a big barbecue in our backyard, and you were there.


Of course I was there. I'm always hungry!

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18 hours ago, Albert Tatlock said:


Maybe can appropriate the Welsh word 'hiraeth' which sort of sums up similar feelings.


I could use this lovely word but I'm afraid nobody would have a clue what I was talking about. But then, they do that already so maybe I WILL sprinkle it into conversation. :spider

I'm sure the way I'll pronounce it, even the Welsh will be baffled when I say it.


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