Wilco — 11/7/11, Basel, Switzerland (Kaserne Basel)
Not much time left on this WiFi access, so I’ll keep it relatively brief for now…
There were some reasons to have lower-than-normal expectations for this show. It was Wilco’s first time in Basel, which sometimes spells doom for a reasonably varied setlist. And the venue, while standing room-only and pretty intimate, didn’t necessarily bode for the greatest sound. Meanwhile, just outside (and I mean, just outside) one of the main sites of Basel’s annual carnival called the Herbstmesse (Autumn Fair) was taking place with a bunch of garish, crazy-looking roller coasters and rides.
So when Jeff announced about halfway through the set — his first time addressing the crowd — that he was “feeling about as bad as I’ve ever felt on stage” and hoped he wouldn’t throw up, it didn’t have the makings of the greatest night. Apparently Jeff and a couple other members of the band’s traveling party had been felled by some bad lentils at a French truck stop en route to Switzerland from Spain. (I’m not sure why you’d ever go near lentils at a French truck stop, but that’s another story.)
Nonetheless, the band soldiered on and Jeff’s condition seemed to improve slightly over the second half of the show. Maybe he just forgot how badly he felt for a little bit or was stubbornly determined to finish the show off strongly, but he managed to turn in a more-than-respectable performance. And whether the setlist was geared toward some easier-going numbers or if it was mere coincidence, it was nice to hear some less-frequently-performed gems as “Radio Cure,” “Country Disappeared” and “Forget The Flowers.”
So all in all, it was a solid set in front of a pretty enthusiastic audience. Sure, we didn’t get the “rocker” encore that I normally prefer, especially in a smallish, packed venue like the Kaserne Basel’s Reithalle, but we did get 25 songs in total and some unexpected sequencing in the setlist. On a purely personal level, that’s as good a way to begin a Wilco run as anything else.
Here was the complete setlist, as played:
Dawned On Me
Bull Black Nova
I’m The Man Who Loves You
One Sunday Morning
Art Of Almost
Forget The Flowers
War On War
A Shot in the Arm
Heavy Metal Drummer