Last night Wilco capped off their two night stint at the UIC Pavillionwith a highly energetic30-song show that concluded their US run of tour dates for 2009. Having sold out the place out the previous night, Wilco performed to a crowd far from capacity though you never would've been able to tell the difference based on the set list and reception the band received from their fans. Being admittedly skeptical of the venue going in, Wilco (The Band) won me over in a big way in what ended up being one of the best shows I've ever seen them play.
In place of a standard review, we're offering our 10 favorite moments from last night's show put together by myself, Daniel Brielmaier and Jon Stone. There were no doubt many moments that didn't crack our list that and we encourage you to drop a comment with your favorite moments from last night.
Here's our favorites in no particular order:
1. New material. Wilco played 6 songs from Wilco (The Album), including: "Bull Black Nova", "One WIng", "I'll Fight", "Country Disappeared", "You Never Know", and "Sonny Feeling". I struggled to place "Country Disappeared's album of origin. That speaks to the "The Album"'s strengths, as most of the new songs feel like classics already, and it's only been a few months. I really liked the new stuff. Some of it seems a little sparse at this point, but I'm sure WIlco will fill in the blanks. "Bull Black Nova" is already exceptional.
2. Nels Cline. (can he count as a moment all on his own?) Nels was even more animated than I remember him last April at the Pabst. I heard him described recently as "like an out of control vacuum hose." That sounds about right. He's gotta have some aches that would be more akin to Brett Favre than a guitarist. That said, his playing ruled, especially on "Impossible Germany."
3. Being There. Jeff remarked that this was the first Chicago show that anyone who wanted to go to the show,could go. In other words, the show at the UIC Pavilion didn't sell out (as it had the night before), not to mention selling out every other show they've ever played in Chicago. This show was also the last show of the year for North America. They obviously gave it everything they had. You can't ask for more than that.
4. "You Are My Face" - A 5000-member chorus singing "I have no idea how this happens!" in unison.
5. "Jesus, Etc." - Speaking of sing-a-longs, the crowd sang almost the entire song word for word until Jeff brought it all back home on the last chorus. I had chills during the show and again just writing that out. (listen here)
6. "Passenger Side" - It seemed like it had been a long time since I've heard them play this tune. A big smile ear to ear, a perfect song that is still resonating in my head today.
7. Tweedy swinging the microphone Morrissey style during Hummingbird.
8. The encore. This was the best part of the show for me. After what I considered an already surprisingly excellent concert, I was expecting a pop-favorites encore. Four or five songs deep into the encore I knew this was not to be. After a great version of "Poor Places", they broke into "Spiders (Kidsmoke)." This had epic written all over it (a 10-plus minute song this deep into the encore!!) From there they rolled into "A.M.'s" "Passenger Side" & "Casino Queen". What a treat. They capped the night with "Outtasite (Outta Mind)" from the "Being There" album. This show gets my vote for best encore in recent memory.
9. "I'm the Man Who Loves You" featured a double intro. Part one: Glenn on Gong; Part two; King Kotche conquers with arms and voice raised high.
10. Never mailing it in - Looking out in a fraction of what the crowd was the night before, Wilco dug deeper into their catalog playing 15 minutes longer than the previous night including two addition songs.
____________________Set: Via Chicago / Bull Black Nova / A Shot in the Arm / Side with the Seeds / You Are My Face / One Wing / I am Trying to Break Your Heart / Kamera / I'll Fight / Impossible Germany / Country Disappeared / Handshake Drugs / Far, Far Away / Sonny Feeling / Box Full of Letters / Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway(again) / Jesus, Etc. / Can't Stand It / I'm the Man Who Loves You / Hummingbird
Encore: The Late Greats / You Never Know / Hate it Here / Walken / Heavy Metal Drummer / Poor Places / Spiders (Kidsmoke) / Passenger Side / Casino Queen / Outtasite (Outta Mind)