It seems fitting that while we celebrate Wilco’s 20th anniversary they choose to skip the hits and pay tribute to some of their biggest influences. Broadcasting live on 93.1 WXRT, the band hit like a strategic boxer working the deep cuts all night. Instead of a crowd pleasing jaunt through the band’s hits, we were treated to a musical education featuring Woody Guthrie, Daniel Johnston and Bill Fay.
The band seemed about as locked in as they could get, making their way through slower more complex songs at the top of the show. Tweedy didn’t address the audience until an hour in, blaming his silence on his need to concentrate to play the songs correctly. He mentioned that he and bassist John Stirrat have been playing as Wilco for 20 years now, while everyone else in the band has been involved a minimum of ten years. Tweedy then stated that means he and John deserve twice as much applause (which the crowd was happy to give).
As always I was impressed by how well these guys play together. Regardless of how long they’ve been together, their chemistry is undeniable. Unlike a lot of bands who you can tell get tired of playing the same material for years and years, Wilco seem thrilled to play with their tunes-make tiny variations that only those listening carefully will really notice.
This was night 2 of 6 for Wilco at The Riviera in uptown. Keeping in line with their past residency shows, almost nothing was repeated from the night before. Only two songs, “Art Of Almost” and “I’m The Man Who Loves You,” were played again. The band has sold out shows Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of next week. We’ll be at the final show Friday and I’m hoping for a 10-hour blowout where they just play every song they’ve recorded. I’ll let you know if it happens.
Less Than You Think
Ashes Of American Flags
Bull Black Nova
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Blue Eyed Soul
Art Of Almost
At My Window Sad And Lonely
Secret Of The Sea
Box Full Of Letters
A Shot in the Arm
Red-Eyed and Blue
I Got You (At the End of the Century)
Encore 2 (all acoustic)
True Love Will Find You in the End
Give Back the Key to My Heart
Be Not So Fearful
I’m the Man Who Loves You
*Alpha Mike Foxtrot track-first time played live