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- Posted on Feb 8th 2010 11:00AM by Jason Cohen
"It's so cool to not have to get on a plane or cross a state line to see them," said the Trail 103.3 DJ who introduced the band, and no doubt fans in all those other markets feel the same.
Opening with an explosive and extended 'Bull Black Nova' from 'Wilco (The Album)' the six-piece band played six straight songs before frontman Jeff Tweedy spoke, though he did raise both arms in the air like a referee when he sang "take off your band-aid because I don't believe in touchdowns" from 'I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.'
"[Bassist] John [Stirrat]'s from New Orleans," Tweedy said, still talking football. "I've never been so happy for John. Not even when his baby daughter was born.
"That's not true," he backtracked. "But it is thrilling. This is a very tender ballad, so shut up."
Said ballad was 'Deeper Down,' with Nels Cline holding a mandolin to his chest while also playing lap steel. At 28 songs over two hours and 15 minutes, the show served as a preview of March's 'An Evening With Wilco' tour, which could feature even longer sets.
"Ever since doing those residency shows in Chicago a few years back where we learned the whole catalog, it's like, well, we have all these songs," drummer Glenn Kotche told Spinner before the show. "There's a lot of songs we don't get to play very often, so I think that will be the focus: covering a lot more of the catalog than we're usually able to do."
They covered quite a bit on this night anyway, from a laid-back 'Passenger Side' and twangy 'Handshake Drugs' to a soulful 'Hate It Here,' epic 'Impossible Germany' and audience-sung 'Jesus, Etc.'
"We're gonna keep coming back until you get it right," Tweedy said of the crowd's vocal on the latter, to audible delight. Noting the response, he added, bemusedly, "Every once in a while I stumble onto a great frontman thing to say."
They also dusted off the 'Mermaid Ave Vol. II' Woody Guthrie track 'Remember the Mountain Bed.' "We played that song because of your freaking mountains!" Tweedy said, then kicked off an eight-song encore with a majestic cover of Buffalo Springfield's 'Broken Arrow,' complete with the 'Mr. Soul' intro and 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' calliope sound. It's a version that they first unveiled at the MusiCares tribute to Neil Young. Heard through Wilco's sonic prism, the song sounds even more like it could have been on 'Sgt. Pepper' or 'Pet Sounds.'
"Yeah, you can see the tie-in between Neil Young and Pet Sounds," says Kotche. "Everything that was happening [in 1967], you can see he was kind of in that same head space. Our whole angle with learning that was to do it as exact as possible. The intros, the little interludes, the ending tag -- I'm even doing the same fills. It's fun to play -- and challenging."
The encore also included 'Via Chicago,' with Kotche doing extraordinary drum-solo violence over the quiet melody, 'California Stars,' 'The Late Greats,' 'Heavy Metal Drummer,' 'Casino Queen,' 'Hoodoo Voodoo' and 'I'm a Wheel,' the latter of which found guitarist Pat Sansone making perhaps one more reference to the Super Bowl with a series of Pete Townsend windmills.
Wilco on AOL Music