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Wilco — 14 June 2017, Rockford, IL (Coronado Performing Arts Center)

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Desperately resisted titling this thread "The Rockford Files," but unfortunately I wasn't able to attend this one (despite very much wanting to). So where are the Rockford reports at? Any Cheap Trick banter? Do tell!

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The setlist has been published elsewhere, but here it is again:


Normal American Kids
If I Ever Was A Child
Cry All Day
Ashes of American Flags
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
Art of Almost
Pickled Ginger
Someone to Lose
Via Chicago
Bull Black Nova
Impossible Germany
Someday Soon

Box Full of Letters
I'm Always In Love

Heavy Metal Drummer (roar from the crowd when Glenn twirled his sticks, leading Jeff to wave his finger at the crowd in a 'don't encourage him' joking manner)
I'm the Man Who Loves You (Glenn again standing on his stool, clearly practising for Solid Sound)
The Late Greats

Encore 1:

Can't Stand It (erroneously listed as the final song of the main set on the Wilco facebook page)

Random Name Generator

Jesus, Etc. (Jeff let the crowd do most of the singing)
Spiders (Kidsmoke)


Encore 2:

Outtasite (Outta Mind)


Onto my review - firstly the preamble of my time leading up to this show. For those who just want the show review skip to the next paragraph :) Some background to set the scene, I'm currently visiting the US from Australia, primarily for Solid Sound, but also taking in some other cities. I had all my plans already booked when Wilco announced this run of pre-Solid Sound shows. My flights were booked and cities locked in. The thought of seeing Wilco again prior to Solid Sound was too great though, so I changed my plans, sliced off a day in LA, re-booked flights and hotels and got a ticket in the presale for Rockford. Fast forward to this week and I arrived in the US on Monday, with my new plan to fly to Chicago early Wednesday morning from LA after going to see the Yankees play the Angels the previous night (which went into extra innings and created an extra late night). So the day of the show began for me waking up at 4am for a flight my flight to Chicago. Upon arriving at Midway I rented a car and proceeded to drive to Rockford. There were possible storms forecast which I was hoping I'd beat. Unfortunately I got caught mid way between Chicago and Rockford in a torrential thunderstorm, lightning and thunder surrounding my rental, torrential rain, and traffic whizzing past me at over 80mph in conditions I couldn't see 50 feet in front of me! Anyway, nerves frayed, I finally made it to my hotel in Rockford around 4pm, about an hour later than planned thanks to the weather and a highway that appears to have eternal roadworks slowing down traffic to a crawl.


Rather than risk fraying my nerves further, I caught an uber to the venue, to be greeted by a block party outside the venue in full swing, street closed off, food, drink, music all happening. By this stage the weather had thankfully cleared, so I grabbed a burger and a drink, and started chatting to a couple from Texas who were sorely disappointed when they found out they had lost the who travelled further for a Wilco show competition. Upon entering the theatre my jaw dropped - I'd seen photos and the venue was partly why I chose this show to attend, but it is a stunning venue. A 1920's fully restored theatre, it's simply stunning. I told one of the usher's what a beautiful theatre it was, who seemed more impressed someone from Australia was in Rockford. I bought what was a fantastic poster from the merch table, then went to my seat. Not long after the openers Kacy and Clayton took to the stage. I had heard some of their tunes on Spotify, so was familiar with their style and some of their music. I really liked them, a indy folkie kind of duo (though there were 4 of them on stage), and presumably to drum up record sales, we were told their new album is out in August produced by Mr Tweedy, but they have advanced copies for sale. I wish I had bought one in hindsight, hoping they sell them at Solid Sound as well as I really liked them.


Now onto the main act! Wilco took the stage at 8:30pm sharp, which seemed to catch a lot of people off guard who were either still out in the foyer talking or standing somewhere else other than their seat talking to friends. This then led to many people scrambling to find their seat in the dark during the opener Normal American Kids. The roar when the band took the stage was very loud, so I had a good feeling we'd get a great show. Once every one had finally settled in to their seats, Ashes of American Flags then started to get a few down the front standing, but that created somewhat of the eternal standing/sitting issue in a theatre. Some people wanted to stand, some wanted to sit. I was in row K in the centre, and everyone around me, and in the few rows in front, sat. Others further down stood. Being a very tall person, I didn't want to stand unless the consensus around me was to stand. So I sat until I thought during Box Full Of Letters 'I didn't fly half way around the world to sit and not see the full show!'. So I stood. And felt a bit awkward. But then once HMD started, the entire crowd stood, and stayed standing for the rest of the show. And the crowd all of a sudden threw off its inhibitions and let loose! It was a truly electrifying crowd, and a stark contrast to the half standing/half sitting first part of the show. Jeff clearly sensed the energy in the room, and seemed very appreciative of the crowd, even before everyone stood.


Banter wise there wasn't a whole lot in the first half of the show, it was just song after song. Before Someone to Lose someone called out to Jeff to say something, and I saw Jeff mouth something like he doesn't have to say anything. Finally after a very unexpected but fun Someday Soon, he finally spoke "we played here once before, I think in '97. I love river towns, I grew up in a river town. I think we played this once last time, this is from our first record, apologies if we're repeating songs". Before HMD "we've been playing outside for the past couple of weeks, I like it a lot better inside. You guys are here you're present you're not in lawn chairs you're not tossing beach balls back and forth, no bugs. But seriously you guys are a great audience thank you so much. And i'm gonna point out that Wilco is not a band that will pander and tell an audience they're good when they're not. We've told audiences all over the world they're not very... they're ok. And that they're like a Monday night audience not like this Wednesday night audience that is a full on Saturday audience! Totally not pandering! I'm not! Alright, we can start the song now, pretty sure. I think i'm done. Are we good?

Before Jesus Etc 'Ok boys and gals we're going to sing this one together, because we're all on the same side. There's only one side, there's this side and there's the other side. There's only one side, this side, and the other side. Think about it'. It was a truly wonderful audience singalong. After Jeff said 'very nice, well done everyone'
The audience singalong during Spiders was a bit soft at first, which led Jeff to tease 'don't let Louisville be louder than you!'. Otherwise that was about all the banter there was.
Song highlights for me were a very unexpected and wonderful Can't Stand It, one of the first songs that really got me into Wilco when Summerteeth came out. I hope we hear it again at Solid Sound. Someday Soon was a fun treat and that and the second encore truly whet my appetite for Being There in full next week. I hadn't seen the electric Spiders since they played it in Melbourne at the now closed Palace Theatre in 2008, and the audience singalong was great fun (thanks Brazil!). Can't wait to hear 5000+ people chant it at Solid Sound next week.
All up, an incredible show, wonderful venue, great audience (just wish we all could have chosen to stand during Ashes and be done with it, but we got there eventually), a happy and appreciative band, not much else I could have asked for. Bring on Solid Sound next week!
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Thanks! I forgot to mention I also recorded the show, it sounds really good so I will share it in the usual places when I get home in a few weeks time.

Also forgot to mention just how good the sound was. I've never heard bad sound at a Wilco show, their sound guy is the best in the business, but the theatre acoustics as well as my seat didn't hurt either

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Thanks for the thorough recap eckythump.  You covered everything.  I  mean EVERYTHING.  Well done.  I was there but had forgotten some of the details you captured.  


Couldn't agree more about the poster--very cool.  Anyone know who the artist is?  


The show itself was terrific, excellent song selection with a nice mix of slow and fast.  I was especially happy with the final rocking encore. I like when Wilco goes out with a bang, and they certainly did on Wednesday.  


Someone was asking about Cheap Trick; I did see Bun E. Carlos at the show, as well as Miles Nielson (Rick's son).      

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If I am remembering correctly, back in the late 90's I remember seeing Bun E. Carlos sitting in with Wilco at a show at the Riv, he did an impromptu drum solo. I can be completely wrong about that, though.

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So sorry about that storm. It was a total anomaly and only lasted about 30-40 minutes here but was insanely intense. Many 100 year old trees were downed in my neighborhood just north of Chicago (north Evanston). It would jangle my nerves to drive through that, too. Glad you arrived safely and had a great show, by the sound of it!  Best of luck in your travels and hope to bump into you in North Adams.

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