Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Apr 12th 2010 11:00AM by Justin Jacobs
Tweedy's babysitter jab was really a poke at himself: Wilco's long been a hit among the 30-something, young family crowd, many of whom undoubtedly saw the show as a rare opportunity to leave the kids at home. But paying the babysitter extra last night was well worth it -- dubbed "An Evening With Wilco," the night included an intimate acoustic set tucked inside the masterful, blazing 34-song set.
Before launching into a punchy 'Walken,' Tweedy said, "This might be the best show we've ever played," then retorted, "Well, I don't know. I doubt it."
Coming at the end of Wilco's expansive tour behind 'Wilco (The Album),' arguably the record that cemented the band's place in the realm of universal critical acceptance, Sunday's vibe was that of a band in its twilight -- the climb to popularity over, Wilco can bask in the beautiful music and community it's created. While some bands grow lazy and uninspired in similar situations, Wilco continues to play flawlessly to crowds that would sing the band's praise even at a much less engaging show. Luckily, everything was in its right place in Pittsburgh.
Wilco opened with the rousing 'Wilco (The Song),' but it was the lush 'California Stars' that set the show rolling, effectively tearing the giant, marble roof off of Pittsburgh's huge Carnegie Music Hall and exposing the Pennsylvania stars.
Tunes like 'Jesus, Etc.' and 'Theologians' were gorgeous sing-alongs, but when Wilco got quieter the set transcended "great" and headed right for "unforgettable." As 'Poor Places' dissolved into several minutes of pulsing noise, stagehands created a new stage setup in front of the band, complete with antique lamps and acoustic guitars, for a living room effect.
After a moment of silence, Wilco simply stepped forward, picked up the new instruments and broke the raging-on-record 'Spiders (Kidsmoke)' down to a lilting, acoustic haze. The lack of volume gave Tweedy an ear for chatty audience members, and he cracked, "This next song is for the people who don't have $50 to spend on something they won't pay attention to."
Tweedy's commentary was a humorous respite from stretched-out, intense rockers like 'Box Full of Letters' and 'Heavy Metal Drummer,' which dotted the set between more solemnly beautiful jams like 'On and On and On.'
After almost three hours, Wilco had left everything onstage and walked off tired, triumphant. This tour saw a band transitioning from beloved rock band to beloved rock institution. Sunday's show was perfect proof.