Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wilco Thoughts

So it's official -- I'm back on the Wilco bandwagon.

I guess I technically never really left it, but the truth is that I was starting to get worried over the last couple of years that the band was becoming much less of the rock band that I originally fell in love with. They have a ton of great musicians, and their live show is excellent, but it had been a long time since I got the type of thrill from seeing them that I did back in the '90s. And the fact that they were playing the same 25-35 songs over and over again for most of 2006 and 2007 didn't help either.

However, the band's decision to start digging into its older catalog seems to have done the trick for me. I love everything the band has done, but the fact remains that there are few songs they've written that I love as much as those on the first few albums. Knowing that I have just as much of a shot of hearing "Pieholden Suite" as I do "Heavy Metal Drummer" is a very, very good thing. (For those playing along at home, the former hasn't been played much in the past few years, while the latter has been played just about every time I've seen them since 2001.)

Notably, I thought the show started out a little slow last night -- neither the band nor the crowd seemed to have a ton of energy in the first hour of the show. So even while I was happy to hear "Pot Kettle Black" and "Nothingsevergonnastandinmyway(again)", both seemed a little subdued for my tastes. However, someone seemed to flip a switch right around 10pm, and the show became an absolute stunner. "Pieholden Suite" was utterly spectacular, and as I mentioned to some friends, the band's version of "Box Full of Letters" (first time I've seen that live in close to a decade) was as good as I've ever seen it. In fact, I thought BFOL was so good, and the band seemed to be so into it, that I simply can't understand why they haven't been playing it over the last few years. This lineup seems built for this tune.

Anyway, on a Wilco-adjusted scale [where a 3 is still a 6 or 7 for most other bands], I'd probably give the show a 6.5 or 7 out of 10. The first hour registered at about a 5, whereas the rest of the show came in at 8 or 8.5. I liked the show I saw in Chicago last week more, but only because it seemed like the energy was there from start to finish.

You can hear the show for yourself over at NPR. And here's the setlist via Via Chicago:
sunken treasure
remember the mountain bed
company in my back
you are my face
side with the seeds
she's a jar
shot in the arm (fixed)
handshake drugs
pot kettle black
roses bloom again
impossible germany
it's just that simple (fixed)
someday soon
box full of letters
i'm always in love
pieholden suite
jesus etc
hate it here
i'm the man who loves you
on and on

encore 1
via chicago
california stars

encore 2
casino queen
i'm a wheel


At 12:05 PM, Blogger JetAgeEric said...

Another buddy of mine shared your opinon on the first hour, but I found it bewitching. -E

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I agree. The Sunken Treasure / Remember the Mountain Bed double opener was absolutely stunning.


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