The big question going into tonight’s final slot was what Wilco would do with their hour and a half. They could easily just play the usual hits and leave the audience with a smile on their face. Or, they could change it up and play their entire new album straight through. Thankfully they chose to do the latter.
Star Wars sounds way better live that it does on your computer. The guitars are all fuzzed out and loud. Aggression hasn’t been Wilco’s forte over the last decade, but this music is as in your face as they’ve ever been. With the opening sounds of “EKG,” my mind started racing. Maybe they’ll play it and Tweedy won’t say a word to the audience about it. Just go on as if nothing had happened. That dream was broken four songs in when he announced “These are all songs off our new album Star Wars. It has a cat on the cover.” They ripped through the entire 11 tracks in just about half an hour.
Then they started hitting hard with fan favorites: “Kamera,” “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,” “Art Of Almost.” With 90 minutes it’s easy to leave stuff out, which sadly they had to after filling a third with all new material. Still, it’s hard to complain about not hearing a song that you HAVE heard at every other Wilco show.
I’m glad this new album came out after my trip to see them play in Des Moines last week, so I got a new experience both times instead of a repeat. They’re still the best live band in America, and they prove it over and over again.