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Wilco — 23 February 2017, Chicago, IL (Chicago Theatre) [Night 2 of 4]


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How to best sum up the second night of Wilco's four-night Winterlude residency at the Chicago Theatre? I guess "good, old-fashioned rock show" would be as apt a description as any. Maybe not the kind of life-affirming show where you walk out totally drenched in sweat with aching legs from having pogoed so furiously and an ear-to-ear smile from making a connection with the band and those around you, but certainly one that reinforced Wilco's ability to deliver an intense, powerful, musical experience no matter what the pastoral set design of the current Schmilco tour and the relative maturity of the band might otherwise suggest.

 

Changing up the setlist a respectable amount from Night 1 — I counted 13 songs played on Night 2 that weren't the previous evening — Jeff and Co. seemed to put a premium on the old "less talk, more rock" mantra, particularly in the encores. When the band launched into War On War to start the first encore with Nels playing his usual Jazzmaster and John sticking to electric bass, I turned to my friend and said, "The hootenanny is dead." And it was, at least for tonight (with the exception of Misunderstood early in the set, which continued to be performed with an acoustic arrangement) as the fuzzy garage bomb of Pickled Ginger and the tried and true "rock songs, etc." triad of Red-Eyed>I Got You>Outtasite closed out the show.

 

Or so we thought, until Wilco emerged once more to speed through a frenetic double-time version of Spiders complete with a reprise of the South American "singing riff" ending that seems to have caught on very quickly. In fact, this performance of Spiders featured a rare, seemingly spontaneous double outro in which the band finished the song and put down their instruments but Jeff continued to lead the crowd in singing the riff so successfully that he actually ended up strapping his guitar back on with the other band members following suit and then together playing the song's denouement one more time. That doesn't happen very often and it gave the show a signature moment — or at least put the proverbial cherry on top of a memorable evening.

 

Interestingly enough, no songs from A.M., Summerteeth or any of the Mermaid Avenues were played — probably the first headlining show in a while when so many records went completely unrepresented. On the plus side, a few mid-level rarities such as At Least That's What You Said, Radio Cure and Company In My Back made appearances. I do wonder if we'll see any more songs from Schmilco performed on this run. It seems as if that record has already been divided into the songs the band likes to and is comfortable playing and album tracks that probably won't surface too often, if at all. Hopefully I'm wrong.

 

On Banter Corner, as previously mentioned, it was definitely less busy than on Wednesday night. Jeff mostly refrained from political talk, though he did dedicate We Aren't The World "to all the globalists out there" and then added, as I understood it, a mocking of the notion that someone could be anything other than a globalist: "We're not gonna be a globe anymore. Fuck the globe." (It should be noted that Jeff was wearing a T-shirt that, I believe, bore the phrase, "We're all in this together.") At any rate, before finally starting WATW, Jeff finished the thought by saying, "We're facing down an autocrat, people. Sing along...while you can." Jeff also gave a (half?) joking rebuke of the Wednesday night audience for a lackluster singalong on Jesus, etc., that I won't attempt to reconstruct here in any detail but that involved notions of what an audience on a given night of the week should be — i.e. "You guys are a real Thursday night crowd; I was building last night's crowd up for (the singalong), but they sucked. ... Aim for early Saturday, or at least Friday afternoon." Other comments by Jeff concerned the proper pronunciation of Schmilco ("work up as much disdain as possible"), Forget The Flowers ("this is a fun song...we have the funnest songs.") and sad songs ("we're here to bum you out.")

 

Bummer jams notwithstanding, I would say that this show was about as successfully rocking as could be hoped for given the venue and that the band isn't even necessarily set up, gear-wise, to play a full-on rock concert. Here's hoping that a few more surprises are in store for the next two shows, the energy in the room stays positive and that, even though Wilco might be aging gracefully (as I heard someone remark recently), there continue to be plenty of signs of vitality like there were tonight.

 

Here was the complete setlist — as played — for Winterlude 2017 Night 2 (once again, I didn't get a look at a printed setlist so can't say whether there were any changes/omissions):

 

Normal American Kids^

If I Ever Was A Child

Cry All Day

Radio Cure

Company In My Back

The Joke Explained

Misunderstood (hootenanny arrangement — Jeff on acoustic, Nels on lap steel, Pat on banjitar and John on 12-string acoustic)

Someone To Lose

At Least That's What You Said

Reservations

Impossible Germany

Either Way

We Aren't The World (Safety Girl)

Forget The Flowers

Jesus, etc.

Locator

Dawned On Me

Theologians

I'm The Man Who Loves You

Hummingbird

The Late Greats

----------------------------------

War On War

Pickled Ginger

Red-Eyed and Blue>

I Got You (At The End of the Century)>

Outtasite (Outta Mind)

----------------------------------

Spiders (Kidsmoke) (electric arrangement)

 

^ — Jeff Tweedy and Nels Cline only

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I wasn't there but from some pictures I saw I believe Jeff's t-shirt actually said, in large white letters on a black shirt, We're all in this together. And then just under that, in smaller white letters: except trump. he's a dick.

 

Jeff's wife had posted a link on Facebook to a friend who was selling these shirts and I bought one. Wasn't expecting to see it on Jeff, but I like wearing it!

 

Thanks for the great recap, Paul.

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Good show, nice to see forget the flowers, radio cure, ALTWYS, and company in my back pop up. Was a little disappointed in the amount of repeats from Wednesday, especially with most of them coming in the same spot in the set. Hopefully they vary it up a little more this weekend or at least play some of the other Scmilco songs.

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Awesome show!  Not a huge Schmilco fan, so I was glad they got a lot of those out of the way early...  My only regret was making a bathroom run during Reservations and missing the first half of Impossible Germany.  Spiders was epic.   I don't have tickets for this weekend, but I might have to change that!

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6 from AGIB, 6 from Schmilco, 5 from Being There, 5 from YHF, 2 from SBS, 2 from SW, 1 from Whole Love, 0 from Summerteeth, AM, W(TA), and Mermaid albums (if my count is right). Summerteeth no-show a surprise.

 

Would have loved to have been there - 11 from AGIB/Being There is a treat!

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Thanks Paul. Definitely a superior played performance tonight. The ending, as always, had me elated and happy. The opening to Red-Eyed still gets me going after all these years... I counted 14 repeats from the night before:
If I ever was a Child

Cry All Day

Misunderstood

Someone to Lose

Reservations 

Impossible Germany

We Aren't the World

Jesus Etc

Locator

I'm the Man Who Loves You

Hummingbird

Late Greats

Pickled Ginger

Spiders

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Clarification on Jeff's shirt. Underneath "we're all in this together " it said in finer print "except trump, he's a dick."

 

His vocal delivery on Reservations and ALTWYS was so focused and intense and the guitar solo on the latter was so emotionally raw. These two songs were high points in last night's show for me.

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Great show, nice to be in the pit. However I think sound was a bit better on the right hand side night 1, also easier seats to stand for 2 hrs at than the portable chairs in the pit.

 

I love all the Schmilco songs (pronounced with utmost disdain). I wondered if they hadn't worked out an ending for Locator on the record when it faded so suddenly, Nels seems to be finding one now. Also loved the Being There encore.

 

Watched Glenn closely last night,just an absolutely sensational drummer! Wondered why Pat looks so miserable, nice beard though ...

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First post on this board. I was curious and don't take this to be overly critical, but do they typically repeat so many songs from night to night. The last time I saw Wilco was in 2013 before seeing them on Wednesday's Winterlude show (which was so effin awesome).When I was looking over last night's setlist I was really surprised to see so many of the same songs but also in the same set position. Encoring Spiders two nights in a row?

I'm very big into the jam band scene where repeating songs doesn't happen in a 3 night run even. I don't mind it but I was curious if this is commonplace. They have such a huge catalog that it seems kinda strange. 

 

Sorry to come off strongly if I do. Hope I'm not so misunderstood.

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Great sounding show, and my 11 year old son loved it, which in the scheme of things is all that mattered to me.

 

But if I could be critical...

 

There were just too many repeaters from Wednesday night. Couple that with the fact that said repeaters were also pretty much in similar spots in the setlist, it was a letdown. I guess I'm getting too old. Maybe I just miss the old days of the Wilco diverse setlists. I've seen them many times and will be at the show tomorrow night as well. On the fence for Sunday, but if tomorrow is similar to the previous 2, guess I'll be staying home. (which means Sunday will be full of rarities, just you watch).

 

Either way, the show was great, son loved it, just wished for more variety.

 

-Chicago G

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Hey guys, this is my first post here and these last two shows were my third and fourth Wilco shows ever (the first two were on that tour they did with Bob Dylan and My Morning Jacket and Pitchfork Fest 2015, so these were my first proper Wilco headlining shows). I'm just curious if it's common to see Summerteeth so under-represented. That's my favorite album of theirs and it seems like it's been pretty much abandoned. Don't get me wrong, I loved both of these shows (Radio Cure and Company in my Back have been at the top of the list of songs I wanted to hear every time I've seen them, so to get both back to back was especially awesome) it's just a little frustrating that after 4 shows the only song off my favorite album that they've played has been Via Chicago. Especially when you contrast that with the fact that there's only one song from YHF that hasn't been played on this run so far. Do you think we can expect to see more from Summerteeth in the next two shows? I'm debating trying to get tickets to Sunday and/or Saturday but I'd be pretty bummed if I went to all four shows and didn't get any more songs from that record.

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I've been seeing the since 1999 and never saw two shows more similar a day apart in the same location. Not sure what it means if anything. I would expect more variety on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is a radio show that tends towards the hits, Casino Queen etc, so maybe Sunday will be the blown open weird one in the bunch. Their playing together though is so solid it makes up (a bit) for the repetition. Plus they've been off for a few weeks I think. Maybe they are just getting in sync

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Had Pit on Thursday in front of Pat and row EE on Nels side Wed. Despite last night being the closest I've stood for a Wilco show in 20+ years, I personally preferred Wed night show. Hadn't seen Wilco since the summers Millennium Park show and was amped to see them again. Beautiful evening too. I can't think of another Feb. Winterlude run where I walked around without a jacket! I also was excited they FINALLY played The Chicago Theater. One of my favorite venues in the city. Loved Ashes to open, and how politically pointed it was. Just a better vibe for me and got to hear some of my favorites like Box, Via and California Stars. Last night was amazing from how close I was. I was smiling all night and was just shaking my head, It was like Wilco was playing in my living room. Crazy fun to experience that. Hadn't been that close since seeing them in an almost empty Navy Pier Grand Ballroom in 95. I had a blast both nights.

 

I'll echo the minor disappointment in the repeats. The Wilco catalog is so massive now they really could play a 4-5 night run and not have any repeats if they wanted too. I get that is probably difficult and tough to practice though. I have really looked forward to these "Winterludes" as a chance to hear some different set lists and classics dusted off. My memory could be wrong, but I don't remember this many repeats in past years. That said, the ones they did repeat are great songs and I actually heard them differently them each night.

 

I saw my first Wilco show in 1995 and I do miss those early shows when they'd bust out some Uncle Tupelo or Golden Smog tunes. Not sure when the last time I saw The Long Cut, Gun, New Madrid, or Pecan Pie and miss those. I get they have moved on well beyond those days and this is a very different band, but I have fond memories of seeing those live and it would be fun to see them again someday. I also really miss seeing Hoodoo Voodoo live! God that is a blast of a song, Josh on cowbell and all. Again, not sure the last time I've seen that but it's been a while. I laugh and smile every time I think of seeing that tune live. So damn fun.

 

I have no idea what is going on with Pat. Only briefly met him once 4-5 years ago, and didn't have great seats at the MP show to watch and compare, but he did seem "different". My wife almost had me convinced it was a different dude Wed. night. I'm sure the Bob Weir beard is a large part of it, but even his body movements seemed different to me. He smiled and "looked happy" but honestly I was taken aback and not sure what is going on. Hopefully he's happy and healthy. Still enjoyed watching him play. Being so close got to see all that he does and it's a lot. He even busted out a triangle at one point, that I never knew he played. Talented dude.

 

Only doing these 2 on this run. Hoping everyone has a blast the next 2!!!

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The set lists have been fairly structured for over a year now. Whether it was the Star Wars tour, or now the Schmilco tour, I'd say the majority of the show is the same from night to night, with a handful or so different tunes that get slotted in, almost on alternating nights. These first 2 shows are holding true to form. I'm definitely not complaining about any of this, I still do whatever I can to catch consecutive shows. Wish I was in Chicago, but looking forward to the Beacon.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I think Pat has always adopted a fairly "cool" persona on stage but this did seem different. I was also very close to him and saw no eye contact between him and John which surprised me. His smiles at the end seemed forced, I hope he's not depressed.

I think he's waiting for "I'm a Wheel" to set him free

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awa4RQI8L54

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Hey guys, this is my first post here and these last two shows were my third and fourth Wilco shows ever (the first two were on that tour they did with Bob Dylan and My Morning Jacket and Pitchfork Fest 2015, so these were my first proper Wilco headlining shows). I'm just curious if it's common to see Summerteeth so under-represented. That's my favorite album of theirs and it seems like it's been pretty much abandoned. Do you think we can expect to see more from Summerteeth in the next two shows? I'm debating trying to get tickets to Sunday and/or Saturday but I'd be pretty bummed if I went to all four shows and didn't get any more songs from that record.

S/T pretty much makes my "favorite Wilco album" list regularly, though sometimes I give the nod to YHF.  I see where Jeff audibled out of A Shot in the Arm, so you might get that one. Other than that, I'd be surprised to see much of anything else from S/T these days. Sadly, most of those songs no longer draw much crowd reaction, so that's probably why they have gone by the wayside. To me, it's a shame.

 

Thanks for the reporting, everyone. I miss seeing these guys.

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S/T pretty much makes my "favorite Wilco album" list regularly, though sometimes I give the nod to YHF. I see where Jeff audibled out of A Shot in the Arm, so you might get that one. Other than that, I'd be surprised to see much of anything else from S/T these days. Sadly, most of those songs no longer draw much crowd reaction, so that's probably why they have gone by the wayside. To me, it's a shame.

 

Thanks for the reporting, everyone. I miss seeing these guys.

 

Yeah, BT and S/T are my usual Wilco favorites. Shot in the Arm and Via Chicago are still in regular rotation, and She's A Jar will pop up from time to time.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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