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Wilco says Cougars stadium crowd outdoes all the others

Wilco performs Fifth Third Bank Ballpark GenevSunday July 8 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

Wilco performs at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva on Sunday, July 8, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 7, 2012 1:15AM

Center stage replaced home plate at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva during Sunday’s sold-out Wilco show. The best news, according to the band’s website, is that the concert was the band’s biggest headlining show to date since its 1990s inception.

“Thanks to you this is officially the biggest Wilco headline show ever. Bravo,” the band said.

More than 15,000 people packed the Kane County Cougars’ stadium seats, and more filtered onto the field, grabbing any patch of open green grass they could find.

Two of those people were fans Samuel Goodwin, 23, of Frankfort, and Eric Anderson, 23, of Orland Park.

The friends drove more than an hour to the stadium where they patiently waited through two opening bands ­— Congregation and the Andrew Bird Band — for Wilco to take the stage.

Goodwin’s girlfriend purchased him the $50 ticket for his birthday. Willco, he said, is his number one band. What better place to see the band then at a ball park?

“It’s a really cool festival atmosphere,” at the ballpark, Goodwin said. “Last time I saw them was at UIC Pavillion and it was a lot of college kids. But, this is a much older crowd.”

Sure, there were college kids enjoying the show, but there were also families who came in droves to embrace the show so close to home. Newborns were witnessing their first live show while mom and dad cuddled each other in the moonlight.

“It’s mostly dads and little kids dancing around,” Anderson said, sipping on a Two Brothers beer. “But it’s a sold out show. That’s crazy. When was the last time the cougars sold out a stadium.”

Wilco took the stage around 8 p.m., broadcasting live on WXRT for the fourth time in three decades.

They were expected to play until around 10 p.m. when a fireworks show would cap off the evening.

“We had such a great time at our shows in December, but not everyone was able to get tickets,” Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy said earlier this year.

“So this time, we’ve made sure that there will be plenty of room for everyone, so anyone who wants to can come out and have a great time with us.”

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