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Wilco@Northrop: Okay alright okay alright!!


UPDATE: Click here for link to cool concert pics!

I am not sure if I can come up with superlatives to describe the Wilco concert Wednesday night at Northrop Memorial Auditorium without sounding like some 9-year old girl describing her first Backstreet Boys concert. Unfortunately grown up descriptors don’t work either: “Kick-Ass? is too commonplace. “Transcendent? is too spiritual. “Entertaining? is too limited. “Sublime? is too understated. Even though all four words adequately describe the show, I eventually just fall back to my 9-year old vocabulary with the word “Awesome? that keeps sticking to my mind (well that and “okay? -- which is an inside joke for those who were there).

If somehow I could only show the look on my friend Jeff L.’s face after the concert, which could be described simply as beatific, then I would be able to adequately express how good Wilco was to those who weren’t there. First, Wilco is rapidly becoming The Beatles of our time, not with their impact on popular culture of course, but by adventuring out musically to places where few bands dare to explore. Second, the venue at Northrop Auditorium was perfect for a Wilco show. The sound was outstanding: One could easily hear each individual instrument; Jeff Tweedy’s voice was top notch; and it was loud enough to be a rock and roll show but not so loud you couldn’t “hear? the music.

The addition of Nels Cline to the band was truly inspired. It’s his guitar work on Wilco’s latest album Sky Blue Sky that you notice but in concert one can see how amazing his guitar playing actually is. Time after time when a song was done I would look over to my 12-year old and the both of us would just be shaking our heads. I think Charlie described it best: “His guitar solos were insane!? Kotche’s drum work and the rest of the band were solid anchors. As mentioned above, Jeff Tweedy was in fine voice, and after not even acknowledging the crowd until the middle of the 4th song, was quite chatty and personable the remainder of the show.

The song list (below) included at least one song from all their albums with a focus on Sky Blue Sky and Yankee Foxtrot Hotel and a Being There-heavy (and long) encore set. A few songs from A Ghost is Born were played too. Gary Louris from the Jayhawks played lead on California Stars, which was really cool. Most songs included extended guitar solos heavy on the distortions and feedback so if you were so inclined, you could easily get your freak on.

It’s hard to say if I’ve ever experienced a better concert. Some shows I’ve seen have rocked out more (Green Day), were crazier (Flaming Lips), were more inspirational (U2), were more surprising (Rock for Change), or were just a big party (Urban Guerrillas circa 1985) but none included all those attributes and then wrapped them up in a nice little box and tied it with music that was in a word “Awesome!?

Did you go to the show?

Set List:
Sunken Treasure
You Are My Face
Side With The Seeds
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Pot, Kettle, Black,
War on War
Handshake Drugs
Impossible Germany
Sky Blue Sky
Too Far Apart
Jesus, etc.
Hate It Here
I'm The Man Who Loves You
Shot In The Arm

Red Eyed and Blue->I Got You
Outtasite (Outta Mind)
Forget The Flowers
California Stars (w/ Gary Louris on lead)
Heavy Metal Drummer



I went. It was awesome. What did you think of Andrew Bird?

Free - I loved the show. For me, the highlights were:

Too Far Apart, Impossible, Germany (of course), and Shot In The Arm. I love those tunes!

Jeff T.

"Awesome" is the only thing that comes to mind today when I think about the show. The encore left me numb. Tweedy was SO great....just being himself.....and that lead guitar player was like animation....I kept thinking,"There's no WAY someone can really play like that!"....the whole thing just left me in awe.....awesome. And you were right about the balcony. We were all pretty much sitting down until the encore....then everybody was on their feet...and it definitely was "swaying" up there!...kinda freaky! Thanks for the review!

The set list looks awesome. I just made a playlist in iTunes for it. Thanks for the recap.

To be honest, Andrew Bird wasn't doing it for me. Some songs toward the end of the show were interesting, however.

Impossible Germany was great, Nels' guitar work blew me away on that song. I really liked Spiders too.

I was happy about the 6 songs from Being There. I do wish they had played the first and last songs from Sky Blue Sky, I love those songs, but little to nothing to really complain about. It was about as close to a perfect concert as one could imagine.

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