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Wilco — 12/13/11, Chicago, IL (Riviera Theatre)

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A nice long set tonight (2 hours, 22 minutes, by my clock, with a total of 29 songs)...


The complete setlist, as played:


Less Than You Think>

Art Of Almost

I Might

Black Moon

Bull Black Nova

Side With The Seeds

Red-Eyed And Blue>

I Got You (At The End of the Century)

Born Alone

You Are My Face

Open Mind


I Must Be High

I'm Always In Love

Capitol City>

Handshake Drugs

Can't Stand It

Dawned On Me



Via Chicago

Whole Love

The Late Greats


Just A Kid


Outtasite (Outta Mind)



Spiders (Kidsmoke)

I'm A Wheel

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What if I told you, the Wilco super fan, that you could see the band and they would not play Jesus, Shot, IATTBYH, ITMWLY, Heavy Metal Drummer, or Impossible Germany. Is that something you might be interested in?


Hell yes! Amazing show with almost none of the standards we have seen in just about every show for the past 10 years. Only 2 songs from Yankee, Kamera in the first set, and Reservations in the 2nd encore. Reservations led into Spiders which was unexpected.


Props to the new album. I thought Capitol City, Dawned on Me, and Whole Love sounded especially good tonight.


Less than you think opener. Red eyed and Blue - I Got You was played in the first 7 songs. Via Chicago started the 1st encore. My number one request for the night was I'm Always in Love. Just a Kid was out of left field. You are my Face had been kind of absent lately. And did I mention the lack of regulars? They kept me guessing, which had not happened in years. Truly great show. I am ready for Thursday.

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Just wanted to add that I don't think anyone would accuse the band of being especially "tight" last night—they had to start and restart I Must Be High and I'm Always In Love back-to-back after botched beginnings—but most people I talked to afterward seemed to prefer the Riv show to the Civic Opera gig.


From a personal standpoint, the "vibe" at the Riv was just much better all around—and definitely more conducive to a rock show. And though I missed Nick Lowe as much as anybody and loved seeing Mavis Staples (and Nick and Jeff) sing The Weight, it didn't truly feel like Wilco was back at home until this Riv gig. So here's to a great rest of the week...


Also wanted to say kudos to Eleventh Dream Day for a solid opening set. Rick Rizzo definitely channels Neil Young, and Janet Bean is fun to watch on drums. In his intro for Wilco, I think Marty Lennartz said something about how EDD helped make possible a lot of the Chicago rock scene in the 1980s and 1990s and it was cool to see them on this bill with one of the defining Chicago bands of the past 15 years.


And one last thought for now: Since I've pointed out songs that have been cut from setlists before, I thought it worth noting that I'm A Wheel actually wasn't on the printed list. After Spiders, it looked like Jeff turned to his guitar tech (the estimable Matrix) and told him not to bother bringing out another guitar. But it didn't take too long for Jeff to change his mind.


I've seen Jeff audible out of a song (or songs) on the setlist on more than a few occasions, but it's rarer for him to audible into one. So that was a nice bonus, and I know delighted at least one front-row denizen to no end.

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I wish they would webcast one of these shows!!


I highly doubt a webcast will happen for this run.


Though it might be possible that WXRT is going to surprise us with a broadcast of one of the smaller shows that are left. They broadcast one of the 2008 residency shows.

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A few more thougths:


The Riv felt like home. I loved one of Jeff's opening lines. "Welcome back... to us."


The show had the vibe of a residency show. Which to me is the greatest compliment I can pay it. It definitely felt familiar, with deja vu moments like where I parked, how the line wrapped around the corner, where I sat, and sadly a bunch of people coughing. I got quite sick towards the end of the residency. I ran out pretty quickly after 2nd encore so I missed Peaches. Or at least like to think I missed it.


And by not playing the standards, the band showed what an amazing catalog of songs they have. They can go off the beaten path with great song after great song. Not that this is news, but I did not want to upset anyone in the band by putting too much emphasis on how much I enjoyed skipping the classics.


And finally, the 2nd encore was a surprise to me. I know they had been coming back with Nick Lowe, but with him off the tour coupled with the Monday>OuttaSite encore, I really thought they were done. The fact that reservations>Spiders was played in a show where One Sunday morning was skipped was the final surprise in a night that kept me totally off balance.

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Night 2. Impressed with Wilco changing the set up so dramatically from the prior night and playing songs they haven’t done in a while. It was a fan’s setlist. Not uber bside, but deep cuts. Bravo to Wilco for that. It was casual up on stage with the restarts and it looked like they weren’t really letting loose on some of the songs – pure speculation, but I would guess since they weren’t second nature they needed to focus more on the music than the performance (Seeds, Kamera, High).


Highlights: Can’t Stand It, I Got You, Reservations


Loved the I’m a Wheel set addition. Loved Just a Kid. Felt like SRMT got picked on tonight between the hat and the texting (although there was a lot of texting going on). Poster looked great. I was hoping they’d have a Chicago 2011 tshirt, but I don’t really need a 6th Wilco shirt.

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Just wanted to drop in and say hello here and also comment on how great of a set it was tonight. Met a lot of great folks from Via this evening. You are all a great group of people and I look forward to getting to know everyone better!


It was great meeting you too, Brendan! Lots of friendly folks up at the front last night...which always makes a show that much more enjoyable :)


Had a great time but the pacing did seem a little off...I don't think I've ever seen I Got You come in that early in the set. There just didn't seem to be the steady climb in energy we usually see...had some weird ups and downs. I absolutely loved the set but I think it would've been even better with some rearranging here and there.


That being said, Reservations and Can't Stand It were definitely the highlights. I'm with nelafej, obviously they gotta promote the new album but it was nice to have so much older stuff in there. Looking forward to Thursday!



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Amazing amazing show last night. Probably the 2nd best (or maybe tied for the best) Wilco show I've seen, after night 2 of the residency.


Felt like they decided to put together a "loud" setlist for the Riv with a show stacked with most of their balls-out rock songs. I expect Thursday's show at the Vic to be quieter and more intimate w/ the smaller room (She's a Jar, Lonely 1, etc).

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Great show. I totally agree with Bbop about EDD. It was nice that they turned up the heat and Wilco matched it. They were a great opener. Lots of folks are unfamiliar with them and while they don't generate either the excitment or variety of Wilco, they are still a great band.


it is nights like this that are worth the hassle of waiting in line and being totally exhausted the next day. I can live with that.


Gotta work so no more now.



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I don't think srmt was actually texting during Spiders. ;) But I really enjoyed the loose vibe from the band and the crowd.


I also felt some residency deja vu last night, but it also seemed like the Riv felt much smaller - and the stage lower - than I remember from the residency. I guess it's like going back to your old elementary school and noticing everything looks so different from what you remember? I must have seen other shows at the Riv since 2008, though.


It was really surprising to hear Red Eyed/I Got You so early in the set, but for me, that just made it all the better. I love being totally caught off guard, and that certainly did the job. I'd also been missing You Are My Face, so I was pleased to see it show up last night.

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So that was a nice bonus, and I know delighted at least one front-row denizen to no end.


:rock You are so right, P! So great! Perhaps one day I'll tire of it, but that is by far my favorite closer for a Wilco show. (I'd be willing to hear Kicking TV close a show to truly decide, though. ;) )


That plus I'm Always in Love (twice in four days!) and Just A Kid, Side With The Seeds, You Are My Face... Great. F*cking. Setlist! I loved the variety and the somewhat casual/comfortable approach, too. All around, it was a great night.


And I agree-the Riv felt so much smaller last night than back in '08. Much smaller! And the photographers taller.

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Oh, I am just drooling over here--so envious of you Chicagoans. Reading your comments and reactions makes me feel both more connected and more jealous, but I can't stop myself. I think I'm going to explode before this 5-night run is over.


I hope it goes without saying that some one MUST be making crystalline pure recordings of every night, right?

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