Concert Review: Wilco, October 8, Budweiser Stage

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Before I get to the meat of this review, let me just preface things by saying that, unless the answer to “what should I wear to the show?” is always “just a light jacket”, outdoor shows in early October are generally not a good idea. That said, I’ve been a fan of Wilco long enough for me to overlook any sort of concerns over the temperature and head out to the Budweiser Stage on Tuesday night to see the band play a set in support of their newly released 11th album Ode To Joy.

I’ve seen Wilco live a few times now, and it’s always an impressive show, from Nels Cline’s incredible guitar work to Jeff Tweedy, John Stirrat, and Pat Sansone’s harmonies to Tweedy’s dryly humorous stage banter, which he kept to a minimum on this occasion since the band had a limited amount of time onstage. There was still time for a few gems though, such as when when he introduced “Everyone Hides,” the latest single off the new album, as “a song we made a video for. There aren’t many …and there will be very few more.” Of the new stuff, that song was among the highlights, as were “White Wooden Cross” and “One and A Half Stars.”

Closing off their set with a stellar version of “Misunderstood”, the band returned to the stage with an encore of “California Stars” and “The Late Greats”, thus ending off a show that was absolutely worth coming out for on a chilly October night. And though the temperature didn’t end up being a big concern, I did end up having some issues with the overall tempo (and pacing) of the set.

While I can’t fault the band’s sound in any way, the majority of the songs played did tend towards more of the slower, mid-paced numbers in the band’s repertoire. This is not necessarily a complaint, since the band sounded great all night and it’s practically impossible to complain about a set that includes such classics as “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”, “Handshake Drugs”, “Heavy Metal Drummer” and “Impossible Germany”, but I couldn’t help but feel that the show might have benefited from, to borrow a phrase from the band itself, “a shot in the arm” from time to time. Granted, Ode To Joy is something of a mellow Wilco album, and the band played no less than eight numbers off of it, so an overall more mellow vibe was to be expected, but one or two more uptempo numbers would have been welcome, if only to make “Random Name Generator” seem like less of an outlier in the set.

Still, those are relatively minor complaints, and setting all that aside, Wilco proved once again that they are always a joy to watch live.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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