Good show by Wilco at The Wang Theatre this past Tuesday night. Certainly not the best show I’ve seen them play1 but one of the better performances I’ve seen from them in recent years.

It helped that it was at the beautiful Wang Theatre in downtown Boston.  It helped that it was a standing show. Past few Wilco shows I’ve seen have been at The Greek Theatre in Berkeley.  Which itself is at a great venue, but less great when everyone decides to sit on their ass. 

It helped that the album Wilco is releasing next week is a bit more up tempo and exploratory2 than the most recent releases, especially the boring to tears Sky Blue Sky album.  The new album – The Whole Love – certainly isn’t Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but then again Wilco will never make another album that great again. If you haven’t accepted that yet, you should.  Give it a listen if you haven’t yet.

One thing of importance I noticed during Tuesday’s performance was less reliance on Nels Cline.  He’s still great and ever present and I certainly can’t imagine Wilco without him.  But in past years, he was more at the forefront and the band would, at times, just get out of his wand let him explore his sonic space.  There was much less of that on Tuesday. He was more integrated with the rest of the band. The power drill he sometimes brings out was nowhere to be found.

Some final ruminations:

  • “Art of Almost” is a great song.  Nice direction the band is heading in with this one.  Actually, it reminded me of LCD Soundsystem and makes me think of what an entire album of that sound would be like from Wilco. In the future, I bet we see this take the role previously occupied by “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” during their live performances.
  • Speaking of “Spiders (Kidsmoke)”…first time I’ve seen them3 perform without that as part of the set list
  • “I’m the Man Who Loves You” really needs those horns.

 

2011/09/20 Set list.  Wilco at the Wang Theatre.  Boston, MA. 

  1. Art Of Almost

  2. I Might

  3. Black Moon

  4. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

  5. One Wing

  6. Bull Black Nova

  7. At Least That’s What You Said

  8. One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)

  9. Shouldn’t Be Ashamed

  10. Whole Love

  11. War On War

  12. Born Alone

  13. Handshake Drugs

  14. Impossible Germany

  15. Dawned On Me

  16. A Shot in the Arm 

    Encore –

  17. The Late Greats

  18. I‘m The Man Who Loves You

  19. Monday

  20. Outtasite (Outta Mind)


  1. Best show I’ve seen from them was at the Fillmore in San Francisco after they released A Ghost is Born. Among other things that night, they closed with a cover of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” 

  2. My friend Jeff refers to that as Wilco’s krautrock-y stuff 

  3. If my memory is correct, this was Wilco show #5 for me