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Shortish concert reviews (and setlists, whenever possible)

Archive for May 2011

Wilco — 5/8/11, Tulsa, OK (Cain’s Ballroom)

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A show at Cain’s Ballroom is always a fun way to wrap up a tour, and this was no exception. Great to see so many familiar faces, which helped make the time spent waiting in line go by much faster despite some sizzling temperatures.

The band seemed happy to be playing in their “home away from home,” judging by the many smiles exchanged throughout the show. And as it always seems when Wilco plays Cain’s, the sound was excellent. I said to a couple of people afterward that I almost felt sorry for anyone who saw the show in Houston and didn’t get to see the one in Tulsa because, to cite just one thing, you could actually hear Nels play at the latter.

More comments to come, including Jeff’s banter about some “indignities” the band had suffered on this mini-tour and Jeff goading Glenn into doing his Todd Trainer tribute on “I’m The Man Who Loves You” with a verbal low blow of sorts.

Here was the complete setlist, as played:

Ashes Of American Flags
Bull Black Nova
Company In My Back
IATTBYH>
Kamera
Handshake Drugs>
One Wing
A Shot in the Arm
I’ll Fight
Via Chicago
Impossible Germany
Jesus, etc. (crowd singalong)
Box Full Of Letters
Airline To Heaven (started and restarted)
Theologians
Walken
I’m The Man Who Loves You
—————————-
Passenger Side
Misunderstood
Heavy Metal Drummer
Red-Eyed And Blue>
I Got You (At The End of the Century)>
Hoodoo Voodoo (w/bass-guitar-keyboard tech Josh on cowbell)

Written by bbop

May 9, 2011 at 12:51 am

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Wilco — 5/7/11, Denton, TX (University of North Texas Auditorium)

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A freewheeling, Saturday night show that sort of felt like a college’s annual “spring weekend” concert, especially considering it was held in a big lecture hall.

The show was sold with reserved seating, but Wilco even began playing, more than a few audience members began to congregate at the barricade set up about three feet in front of the stage. Security guards ultimately shooed them away and did so for a while, but the crowd continued to gradually creep forward until Jeff basically opened the floodgates by saying the audience seemed “so far away,” and questioning the barricade setup. That all but ensured a flood of people flocking toward the stage and the rest of the show played out that way.

Jeff later asked if everybody was “all cozy now” and said he was “probably going to get arrested…for inciting fun.” Wilco wound up playing an hour and 54 minutes in all, apparently nixing a planned first encore of Poor Places>Reservations>Spiders (Kidsmoke) and doing just one encore with the always-rocking “Red-Eyed and Blue>I Got You (At The End of the Century)” combination and a bonus Hoodoos Voodoo, albeit without the usual cowbell exploits of bass-guitar-keyboard tech Josh on this night.

Here was the complete setlist, as played:

Ashes Of American Flags
Bull Black Nova
IATTBYH
Pot Kettle Black
I’ll Fight
Handshake Drugs
One Wing
War On War
A Shot in the Arm
At Least That’s What You Said
Via Chicago
Jesus, etc.
Impossible Germany
Airline To Heaven
Hate It Here
Walken
I’m The Man Who Loves You
——————————-
Wilco (the song)
Red-Eyed and Blue>
I Got You (At The End of the Century)>
Hoodoo Voodoo
Heavy Metal Drummer

Written by bbop

May 8, 2011 at 1:26 am

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Wilco — 5/6/11, Houston, TX (Verizon Wireless Theater)

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Comments to come.

Here was the complete setlist, as played:

Ashes Of American Flags
Bull Black Nova
IATTBYH>
Kamera
Handshake Drugs
One Wing
War On War
A Shot in the Arm
At Least That’s What You Said
Via Chicago
Impossible Germany
Airline To Heaven
Jesus, etc.
Theologians
Hummingbird
Walken
I’m The Man Who Loves You
—————————–
The Late Greats
Misunderstood>
Spiders (Kidsmoke)
Heavy Metal Drummer
I’m A Wheel
—————————–
Hoodoo Voodoo (w/bass-guitar-keyboard tech Josh on cowbell)

*Opening act: Smith Westerns

Written by bbop

May 6, 2011 at 11:54 pm

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Jon Spencer Blues Explosion — 5/5/11, Houston, TX (Warehouse Live [Studio])

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Sorry no setlist for this one.

Written by bbop

May 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

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Arcade Fire — 5/4/11, The Woodlands, TX (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion)

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Setlist as follows:

Written by bbop

May 4, 2011 at 11:29 am

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Wilco — 5/3/11, Mobile, AL (Saenger Theatre)

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A relatively subdued crowd the first half of the show turned into a raucous one by the end, helping make this one an especially fun show.

More comments to come.

Here was the complete setlist, as played:

Ashes Of American Flags
Bull Black Nova
IATTBYH>
Kamera
At Least That’s What You Said
Handshake Drugs
One Wing
A Shot in the Arm
Country Disappeared
Impossible Germany
When You Wake Up Feeling Old
Airline To Heaven
Jesus, etc.
Misunderstood>
Spiders (Kidsmoke)
——————————
The Late Greats
Red-Eyed and Blue>
I Got You (At The End of the Century)
Hate It Here
Walken
I’m The Man Who Loves You
Hoodoo Voodoo (w/bass-guitar-keyboard tech Josh on cowbell)

*Opening act: Smith Westerns

Written by bbop

May 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm

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Wilco — 5/2/11, Montgomery, AL (Montgomery Performing Arts Center [Theater])

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I realize I’ve been seriously slacking on the commentary portion of this blog, and I intend to catch up recapping what turned out to be a busy April at some point, but for now, what better way to get back in the proverbial saddle than the first headlining Wilco show in a good long while.

Hard to believe it had been just over seven months since the last Wilco show and a little longer even since the band’s last performance on American soil. So naturally, the capital of Alabama — a place Jeff said the band had never played before — was as good a place as any for the first true show of the year. The theater of the Montgomery Performing Arts Center is, like many venues Wilco has played, in recent years, not necessarily designed for rock and roll. But as rooms of its type go, it was not a bad place. It had a balcony, but didn’t feel too cavernous. And inasmuch as I know about acoustics, it seemed pretty well balanced. (Of course, my seat left a little something to be desired, evidence that a front-row seat isn’t always the best. It was all the way over at stage left and offered only a partial view of the stage, but hey, at least I could stand without blocking anybody!)

Of course, the old standing-versus-sitting debate wouldn’t be a question on this night as most of the crowd on the floor level got up as soon as the band hit the stage and stayed standing most of the night. It was nice, from my vantage point, to even be able to see a lot of the crowd and watch their reactions. And it was also slightly amusing to watch an usher/security guard try to maintain a clear walkway between the stage and the front row as people kept inching closer and closer as the show went on.

One big question about this odd little week-long Southern tour was whether the band would play any new songs for the first time, and it remains to be seen because they haven’t yet. I imagine it’s a difficult decision in the age of YouTube for a band to debut new material because all it takes is one clip — quality or not — and suddenly people all over the world are passing judgement. I tend to agree with a friend who said she thought next month’s Solid Sound Festival would be a more likely setting for a full-band performance of a new song. Yet given a few more soundchecks on this run, which often function as mini-rehearsals for Wilco, who knows what might get played before it’s over? At the very least, my thought is they could probably try “I Might,” which has already been announced as the A-side to the 7″ single they will begin selling at Solid Sound, since it will be available for all to hear soon enough anyway.

As for what they did play in Montgomery, there wasn’t anything terribly out of the ordinary in the one-hour, 52-minute show. (It was on the shorter side for a Wilco gig, though I couldn’t tell if there was an 11 p.m. curfew or not and it certainly seemed possible that the band might play at least one more song.) I got the sense of still shaking off some rust from not playing together in a long time, like when Jeff looked over at John with an expression of ‘whew’ after nearly flubbing a lyric in “Handshake Drugs.”

There were a couple of odd quirks that I should point out, despite the fact that almost no one else would probably notice (or care). But Jeff played an acoustic guitar on “Pot Kettle Black,” which I hadn’t seen before, or at least for a long time. I think he usually plays a white Telecaster on that one, so the song lacked some of its usual oomph. And on the show-closing “Heavy Metal Drummer,” Pat remained at his front-line microphone with an electric guitar, which I don’t remember him usually doing for some reason. For guitar nerds, Jeff also played a sleek-looking white guitar (though I couldn’t make out the make or model) on “Spiders” that I haven’t seen him use before.

Speaking of “Spiders,” that was a definite highlight for me. I actually forgot some of the parts (the clapping before the final breakdown, etc.) after not hearing the full-band version in so long. The performance of the song surprised me with its power and hypnotic rhythm and, coming right out of “Misunderstood,” definitely ratcheted up the intensity of the show in a positive way.

Jeff didn’t say too much, other than to point out a gentleman in the front row who he said bore an uncanny resemblance to one of his cousins; I think he said Rusty, but I couldn’t hear clearly from where I was. Anyway, the older man — who I spotted before the show and thought to myself was definitely going to be called out by Jeff — had a fairly thick white beard and, forgive the stereotype, was dressed sort of like a biker. (It should also be said that I think the man was attending the show with his teenage son.) When Jeff pointed him out, the man got up from his seat and extended his hand and Jeff obliged by coming over and shaking it and thanking him for coming to the show. They exchanged a few more words and then the show continued. Wilco will love you, baby…I guess?

Here was the complete setlist, as played:

Ashes Of American Flags
Bull Black Nova
IATTBYH>
One Wing
A Shot in the Arm
Radio Cure
I’ll Fight
Handshake Drugs
Pot Kettle Black
Via Chicago
Impossible Germany
Airline To Heaven
Jesus, etc.
Theologians
Walken
I’m The Man Who Loves You
————————
Misunderstood>
Spiders (Kidsmoke)
————————
The Late Greats (started and restarted)
Heavy Metal Drummer

*Opening act: Smith Westerns

Written by bbop

May 2, 2011 at 11:39 pm

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