Wilco brought their traveling fun show to the Roy Wilkins Auditorium on Friday with the expressed intent of letting the 4,500 people in attendance know that although times are tough, winter's coming to the northland, politicians/parents/spouses/bosses don't listen to you - or whatever your beef -- it doesn't matter because Wilco loves you and for 2-1/2 hours what else do you need?
I saw Wilco a couple of years ago and described it is almost a perfect concert, transcendent even. While the Friday show didn't reach those emotional heights, as a pure fun rock and roll, it would be hard to top Friday's show. The show started a little slow, even with the obvious opening of Wilco (the song). Bull Black Nova was great and a nice showcase for Nels Cline's jazzy fret work. However it wasn't until about the eighth song, Handshake Drugs, where Wilco really hit its stride and then really never let go.
The band was extremely loose and Jeff Tweedy was in fine form, they were definitely having a blast onstage and Wilco's enthusiasm for the songs soon washed over the audience. By the end the crowd was swept up into the moment, not wanting to let go. Nels Cline was amazing once again (see video above) and I think his guitar playing is starting to rub off on Jeff Tweedy who showed some serious licks himself. Spiders (Kidsmoke) was particularly intense and made me think that for a song that is pretty avant-garde, it is highly accessible and a blast in concert.
Wilco went through their entire catalog with most of the songs from Wilco (the Album), Sky Blue Sky, and A Ghost is Born. However they ended their 2nd encore and the show with Woody Guthrie penned Hoody Voodoo off of Mermaid Avenue II. There was an extended guitar-off between Nels Cline and Pat Sansone that was quite muscular, with each trying to top the other. With that the show ended and Wilco had shown us they indeed did love us. In fact the crowd was so spent, they hardly put up a fuss when the lights came on. A satisfying night of rock and roll that thrilled young and old alike.
One negative note on Roy Wilkins. While a decent place to see a show, it is a lousy place to hear a show. The acoustics are lousy and depending where you sit, you literally can't hear some of what is being played on stage. Also for a song like California Stars, where the vocals are 90 percent of the song, it would be nice to have a mix where the vocals are crystal clear. But hey no worries, Wilco loves you (baby).
Did you see the show, what did you think?
1. Wilco (The Song)
2. A Shot In The Arm
3. Bull Black Nova
4. You Are My Face
5. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
6. One Wing
7. At Least That's What You Said
8. Handshake Drugs
9. Deeper Down
10. Impossible Germany
11. It's Just That Simple
12. Sonny Feeling
13. Can't Stand It
14. Jesus, Etc.
15. Via Chicago
16. Spiders (Kidsmoke)
18. The Late Greats
19. You Never Know (w/ Liam Finn)
20. California Stars (w/ with Liam Finn and Gary Louris)
21. Heavy Metal Drummer
23. Hate It Here
25. I'm The Man Who Loves You
27. Hoodoo Voodoo