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BeShakey

Wilco - 2 April 2013, Sydney (Sydney Opera House)

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A very weird (and disappointing) evening with Wilco. They'd already said they weren't doing the long 'Evening with' shows, but I think most people were still shocked when they only played for 90 minutes. The Opera House doesn't have a curfew, so (unlike Melbourne) that wasn't the problem. A group of us bumped into John after the show who said tomorrow will be 'totally different' but then started to talk about something other than the length of the show. We were all wanting to ask him what happened, but none of us wanted to offend him. Hopefully tomorrow will be totally different in that we get a decent length show featuring a few rarities.

 

One Sunday Morning

Poor Places

Art of Almost

I Might

At Least That's What You Said

Handshake Drugs

One by One

Impossible Germany

Born Alone

Sunken Treasure

Whole Love

Always in Love

Heavy Metal Drummer

I'm the Man Who Loves You

Dawned on Me

A Shot in the Arm

 

Hummingbird was on the setlist as a closer and California Stars as the encore. Jeff asked if the audience wanted the band to pretend to go off and come back or just play the whole set. Everyone yelled out to play the whole set, although they probably didn't realise that menat not bothering to play the song planned for the encore.

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Interesting--I wonder what happened. Was there any memorable between song banter? Did they seem put off by anything in particular? Was the audience seated for most or all of the show?

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Interesting--I wonder what happened. Was there any memorable between song banter? Did they seem put off by anything in particular? Was the audience seated for most or all of the show?

I will defer to a first hand account, but a search on Twitter reveals lots of Instagram photos of everyone standing down front.   And lots of minds blown by Wilco (though I too would be disappointed in a 90 minute show with no opener).

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Not quite "An Evening With Wilco" more like "A Reasonable Amount Of Time With Wilco". 

 

The Opera House do have timing restrictions on the start and finish times of a show, depends what else is on at the venue etc. Has to be the reason, I can't think why Wilco would come all the way to Sydney and play half a set with such a huge fan base here who only get to see them once every 2 years. To me Jeff seemed annoyed with the time limit - it felt like a festival setlist. I mean, they coulda started an hour earlier... I'm just sayin....

 

Other than that, the setlist was great - very much the Niels Cline show if you look at the current arrangements for the songs in that first half.

 

The crowd got up when Jeff requested they do so before Always In Love and stayed there.

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Mostly seated, although thats also an Australian thing - if theres seats people will mainly sit. The band didn't seem to mind too much, until the lights came on they seemed to be enjoying themselves, no one seemed sick or anything. The printed set only had two more songs on it, so the short set seems to have been planned from the start.



The Opera House do have timing restrictions on the start and finish times of a show, depends what else is on at the venue etc. Has to be the reason, I can't think why Wilco would come all the way to Sydney and play half a set with such a huge fan base here who only get to see them once every 2 years. To me Jeff seemed annoyed with the time limit. It was just starting to get going when they had to stop. I mean, they coulda started an hour earlier... I'm just sayin....

 

Someone I met at the show said he'd posted something on the Opera House's facebook page asking about a curfew and they said there wasn't one and the band could play as long as they wanted to.

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Mostly seated, although thats also an Australian thing - if theres seats people will mainly sit. The band didn't seem to mind too much, until the lights came on they seemed to be enjoying themselves, no one seemed sick or anything. The printed set only had two more songs on it, so the short set seems to have been planned from the start.

 

 

Someone I met at the show said he'd posted something on the Opera House's facebook page asking about a curfew and they said there wasn't one and the band could play as long as they wanted to.

 

That someone is me :) To quote the Sydney Opera House facebook page, someone wrote "Can I please ask a favour of the Opera House...? Wilco normally put together a fabulous setlist which certainly, in Melbourne at least, was tragically cut short due to certain unenlightened venues imposing ridiculously early curfew times... Hopefully the Opera House will extend Wilco the courtesy of letting them play a FULL and COMPLETE set...? Many thanks in advance for webcasting this! Hopefully we'll get to hear the songs Wilco wanted to play us in Melbourne but weren't allowed to... 'I'm a Wheel' and 'Via Chicago' anyone?"

 

And the official reply was "Don't worry Harry, we have no reason to cut any of our events short. We also can't remember the last time we have ever had a noise complaint, so you'll get to hear the full setlist planned by Wilco. We hope you enjoy it!"

 

Now if you consider 90 minutes a full and complete set then sure we got what we came to see. This is Wilco though, they don't play 90 minute sets at non festival shows. I'm seeing a lot of confused and angry posts start to appear on their facebook page too. Very confused. 

 

On the positive side, I got to meet a lot of great people who travelled from Melbourne for this. Fingers crossed for something better tonight, but I'm not holding my breath

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This was definitely some sort of imposed time restriction on the band.  I believe it is something to do with Opera Australia's open-air performance of Carmen taking place near the venue.  Opera Australia are based at the Opera House and I believe they are using the concert hall for rehersals/preparation before (and possibly after) each performance.  

 

When I phoned the Opera House to get the show times earlier in the day the recorded message said the band would be playing without support,  coming on at 9.30pm and finishing at 11pm.  I've seen lots of shows at the Opera House and never been to one that starts this late.   So these are clearly unusual circumstances.

 

Having said all that I thought Jeff and the boys did a great job. They were clearly mindful of the time restrictions and from the start Jeff said they would limit the 'chit chat'.   So they did try and cram as much music as possible into the 90 minutes.   The audience were on their feet for the last five songs.  Personal highlight for me was a blistering performance of 'At Least Thats What You Said'.

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The organisation for this tour has been pretty awful. Surely whoever books the venues should have a rough idea of how long the band plays and what time limits the venue has. I guess the attraction of playing at the Opera House may have overcome all that, but I know a lot of fans would much rather a decent length set at a different venue, rather than a short hits set at a nice venue.

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The only other thing I can think of is Love Police booked the Opera House for the shortest possible time due to the cost of hiring the venue. Hamer Hall could be a similar story - Counting Crows played there on the weekend and started their show at 8:30pm (with a support act too starting at 7:30pm). If that's the case, then I'm really annoyed. If it's because of Carmen, I'm really annoyed. Despite the iconic nature of playing the Opera House, it seems it's proved to be a terrible choice. I wonder if given the amount of Bluesfest sideshows happening that other venues where they could have played were already booked?

 

Regardless, very annoyed that I've flown to Sydney for these shows to see shortened shows. Love Police have some explaining to do.

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I didn't want last night to end. My husband and I had a great evening ( even though I was front row, Nels side, and he was 10 rows back! ). I had to keep reminding myself it was one night only for us to see Wilco at the opera house. WILCO AT SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE!!

The walk to the venue along the harbour was gorgeous and the opera house looked beautiful all lit up. I was so excited, I'll never forget it.

Wilco we're amazing, as ever,and I loved "One by One".

Waiting in airport for flight back to Melbourne. Hope everyone has a great night tonight ( Be Wise, Ecythump . . .) I'm travelling to Wellington to see a good friend for a few days tomorrow, so I have one more show to go. I can't wait to bring my boys to see wilco, wish we were solid sounding . . .

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Hope you enjoy the Wellington show, its a nice venue. Make sure to look up before you go into the venue to check out the ferns scuplture suspended above Civic Square.

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Hope you enjoy the Wellington show, its a nice venue. Make sure to look up before you go into the venue to check out the ferns scuplture suspended above Civic Square.

Thank you, BeShakey, I will do that.

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The Opera House confirmed on their facebook page that the short show wasn't because of any venue curfew. I guess that means there might be some possibilty of a normal show tonight?

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Ok if it there's definitely no curfew, then why the rush to get off stage and not even play the full setlist planned. The only explanation I can make is that the venue has only been paid for them to play till 11pm. If they want to play beyond that it must cost more money. Or, Wilco just didn't feel like playing longer (which I find a little hard to believe). 

 

We can debate this in a few hours time :)

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I didn't want last night to end. My husband and I had a great evening ( even though I was front row, Nels side, and he was 10 rows back! ). I had to keep reminding myself it was one night only for us to see Wilco at the opera house. WILCO AT SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE!! The walk to the venue along the harbour was gorgeous and the opera house looked beautiful all lit up. I was so excited, I'll never forget it. Wilco we're amazing, as ever,and I loved "One by One". Waiting in airport for flight back to Melbourne. Hope everyone has a great night tonight ( Be Wise, Ecythump . . .) I'm travelling to Wellington to see a good friend for a few days tomorrow, so I have one more show to go. I can't wait to bring my boys to see wilco, wish we were solid sounding . . .

 

One By One was quite beautiful.

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I've never been to or worked (old soundman here) in Australia, but I will point out that here in the States it's very common for a Venue to state they have no curfews because technically they don't, but the reality usually is that the Municipality or the Union do.  So while the Venue won't stop a performance the promoter gets slapped with heavy fines by the City or ends up having to pay the Union double time or something.  While I don't know this to be the case here I'm just pointing it out.

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I was at the Tuesday show with some friends and we all felt let down by the abrupt ending. The entire crowd was on their feet calling for more, and it felt like the band would come back for another encore. Then the lights went up and it was just ... over. Wilco was great, as usual, but the dynamic of the whole show felt off. The slow build of the first 5-6 song suddenly shifted to the high-energy ending of a longer set, with no back-and-forth between quieter and more upbeat songs (other than One by One, which was as gorgeous as ever).

 

Afterward, we concluded that there must have been time restrictions imposed by the Opera House. It was very aggravating to see that they played a full-length set on Wednesday. Jeff apparently said that they didn't play long enough on Tuesday, but that isn't much comfort to those of us who didn't attend the Wednesday show.

 

My guess is that things were mishandled somewhere along the line. Maybe the band thought there were time restrictions where none existed. It would be nice if Jeff (or someone from the organisation) acknowledged what happened, and maybe apologised. I still love Wilco and will see them whenever they return to Sydney, but this show left a bitter taste.

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That's pretty much what happened at the second show - Jeff apologised for the short set the previous night and said it was due to a 'miscommunication'. Said the only thing they thought they could do to make up for it was to play a longer set the second night (although in the end they played the same length as Melbourne and cut some songs from the setlist).

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That's pretty much what happened at the second show - Jeff apologised for the short set the previous night and said it was due to a 'miscommunication'. Said the only thing they thought they could do to make up for it was to play a longer set the second night (although in the end they played the same length as Melbourne and cut some songs from the setlist).

 

Thanks, I'm glad to hear it. I need to keep in mind the great Wilco concerts I've attended over the years -- in the scheme of things their batting average is still very good!

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I spoke to Jeff at Wellington airport today, and discussed this brief for Wilco standards show. It turns out the band thought there was an 11pm curfew and had to get off, no one had told them otherwise. He felt quite bad about it, and said to make up for it, everyone who bought tickets will receive an email with a link to some free downloads of Wilco songs. That's a pretty cool thing to do. So those of you were there, check your inboxes over the coming while.

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Exciting news. Suspect it'll be free downloads from the Roadcase, maybe even of one of the shows from the tour. Some outtakes/demos etc would be exciting, but I can't imagine that happening.

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