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In what way(s) are they a nostalgic act?

 

They played albums that were 22 and 16 years old straight through at SS, they sell merch based around their most well known album, setlists on recent tours were heavily concentrated on material from their 2 best known albums with new material mixed in dismissing about a decade's worth of newer music, they don't play developing markets anymore - just the places where they can make money, they reissue deluxe versions of their albums. Also, as seen previously in this thread their fans would rather hear their old songs rather than their new ones. That's off the top of my head.

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They played albums that were 22 and 16 years old straight through at SS, they sell merch based around their most well known album, setlists on recent tours were heavily concentrated on material from their 2 best known albums with new material mixed in dismissing about a decade's worth of newer music, they don't play developing markets anymore - just the places where they can make money, they reissue deluxe versions of their albums. Also, as seen previously in this thread their fans would rather hear their old songs rather than their new ones. That's off the top of my head.

On the Star Wars tour they played the album in its entirety before playing older songs. I’d say that’s giving new material pretty fair representation. On every album-promoting tour I’ve seen they play a sizable amount of said album. As a band with such a long history, I’m not sure what more they could do to try to keep everyone happy.

Your definition of “nostalgia act” seems to be a band with a large back catalog.

As to not playing developing markets, that’s up to them. They’ve been around long enough to know what works and what’s not worth the effort. I don’t think they’re interested in conquering the world at this point, and why should they be?

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You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but I don't agree with you at all. I actually think that they've done a damn good job NOT becoming a nostalgic act. 

 

They played albums that were 22 and 16 years old straight through at SS

Fans voted on this. They're not doing a Being There anniversary tour.

 

they sell merch based around their most well known album

What is their most well known album, and what merch are you referring to?,

 

setlists on recent tours were heavily concentrated on material from their 2 best known albums with new material mixed in dismissing about a decade's worth of newer music,

I'm far too lazy to do some setlist crunching, but I would agree that they ignore some of their recent catalogue. Perhaps fatigue from having toured behind those albums in recent years? Or, they know that fans don't want to hear deep cuts from The Whole Love (this fan included).

 

they don't play developing markets anymore - just the places where they can make money

If bands make their money touring, it's hard to fault them for playing places where they sell tickets, right?

 

, they reissue deluxe versions of their albums

Two times. Over 30 years. They also give their studio albums away for free, and so....

 

. Also, as seen previously in this thread their fans would rather hear their old songs rather than their new ones. That's off the top of my head.

We got an "evening with" tour in the last decade, and if you catch any Jeff solo show you're going to hear "deeper"cuts.

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Fan here. I'll take any cut from The Whole Love any day. And I'll even applaud them knocking an AM song of their setlist to do it.

 

But that's not the point. This is just an example of how- as with the "fans would rather hear their old songs" idea- it all depends on who you talk to. How many times has someone on here griped about the inevitability of a Jesus Etc performance only to be rebuked by someone who says they've seen them a dozen times and is happy to hear it on any night?

 

Wilco can't be a nostalgia act because their music, their influences and their fan base are a messy democratic, eclectic thing. They did a tour de force album (Whole Love), a sonically playful rockin album (Star Wars) and a sonically playful folk album (Schmilco). All in a row. And I have yet to sense any consensus between fan reactions, or the band's setlists to show that any of these 3 distinct artistic explorations were more valid, or fruitful. 

 

Most importantly Jeff Tweedy is incapable of being in a nostalgia act. All he ever talks about is his musical curiosity and his insatiable appetite to create new stuff.

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Lest we forget that they were in Europe.

 

As far as I’m concerned, Jeff and Wilco can and should play whatever the hell they want. They’re on stage.... we’re not. And i can like what they play or not ... so can you.

 

Just my two cents.

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Wow, some hot takes in this thread. I for one love internet hot takes and this message board needs them!! But....

Count me down as someone desperately wanting new Wilco music. Star Wars and Schmilco are objectively great albums, if you'd rather hear Heavy Metal Drummer for the 2000th time, that's on you. Obviously Being There - A Ghost Is Born are hard albums to top but you also need to be aware of your own nostalgia for their old albums.

I wouldn't read too much into setlists to what is essentially a warm up tour before they start promoting new material in the fall. Or a one off show from their curated festival from two years ago. If Wilco announces the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 19th anniversary tour and starts playing the album in full, then maybe we can label them a nostalgia act... till then, nah.

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I wouldn't call them a nostalgia act.  That seems derogatory and I don't think it's fair or accurate.  But taking my brand loyalty out of the equation and looking at it objectively,  they do have an increasing number of check marks in that column.

 

Return after two years with no new material.

 

Karaoke performances. (An inherently backward looking gimmick.)

 

Jeff's Memoir (An inherently backward looking concept.)

 

Schmilco sounding like a Jeff Tweedy solo album, while Tweedy sounds more like a Wilco album. (Suggesting that Jeff is prioritizing his creative energies towards his non-Wilco projetcs.)

 

Lazy, meaningless album titles on the last two records, arguably going back to W(TA). Or maybe Schmilco isn't a meaningless title, but is evidence of that (^^^), making it perhaps their most meaningful and revealing album title. 

 

Hopefully WIlco's next album will be a killer.  They're at a point in their career where there is more to look back on than there is to look forward to.  So what they do now matters a lot in determining whether or not they become a nostalgia act.

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https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/wilco-jeff-tweedy-solid-sound-interview-849492/?fbclid=IwAR25UD0IkQDztvO6Ib_BYIICfR3NEl3St5KZzTONd9yeU33UR4c6dSnq0zc

Posted this afternoon. Jeff talks about Solid Sound and recent recording sessions.

 

Solid Sound: “something kind of fun for the first night that I’m not ready to talk about yet.” Jeff is calling in from the Loft, so entirely possible that this took place before the Wilco Karaoke announcement. “The second show, I think, maybe we’ll try and showcase a new song or two.” Wow!

 

Recording sessions: “We’ve been getting together to do some studio recording. You’ll be hearing about that pretty soon.” Excellent!

 

I also posted this in the Solid Sound thread.

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Says Tweedy:

 

“I think [the hiatus] revitalized everyone’s energy for the band, and our interest in pushing forward and not just resting on some past output. Everybody in the band is pretty ambitious. It’s good to let go of something that’s a huge, identifying part of your life, and realize that you still have deep affection for it and a deep interest in having it be a living, breathing entity capable of surprising you.”

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I recently read a book about the death of classic rock and discovered that the author has a podcast called Celebration Rock.  He interviewed Jeff and John in 2017 when AM and Being There were reissued as deluxe sets.  The focus of the interview is Wilco's origins/early years.  But toward the end they discuss the idea of nostalgia and how they feel they've avoided it.  The whole thing is enjoyable, but if you want to hear their take on nostalgia, it starts around 52:00.

 

 https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/kq-morning-show/celebration-rock/e/52358927?autoplay=true

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As I've said before, I think originality and ceaseless "creativity" for its own sake is way overrated by lots of artists and fans.  I'm all for it if it results in art that is strong and high quality.  I'm not for it if it results in stuff that is mediocre or weak.  I think Wilco's last three albums are mediocre at best especially compared to their earlier stuff (I know many disagree with me).  As for what they play live, I just want to hear their best stuff, whether its old or new.  Its not about nostalgia for me, like trying to remember and relive old times, its about I want to hear a killer band playing their best music.  Its about what I perceive to be high quality and low quality.  If the new stuff were as good to me as the old, I would be wanting to hear it. But for me, with Wilco and a lot of other bands I like, I like the earlier or mid career stuff best.  I think there is a fairly observable trend that artists create their strongest work when they are young and hungry and they mellow out as they age or put out more and more music.  I get that many songwriter performers want to focus on their new stuff, and I'd guess that wanting to feel relevant and having a judgement and aversion to "becoming a nostalgia act" is motivating them, consciously or subconsciously.  I just wish they'd take a tip from what the Grateful Dead did and not even consider a song's age in deciding whether to play it or not, play what is good, keep a large repertoire from the entire catalog going at all times and don't do a shit ton of repeats.  What is a bummer and a shame to me is this approach of playing the new music heavily on the tour when it came out and then dropping nearly all of it for subsequent tours to again focus on the next batch of new stuff.  An example is what they did with One Sunday Morning, playing it almost every night or close to that for a year and then suddenly dropping it for years.  To me a great song like that, probably the best song on Whole Love, would be great to hear every once in awhile  If they had thrown that in every fourth or fifth show on the last few tours I think many fans would look forward to hearing it, I know I would.  Its almost as much of a bummer to play the old warhorses every single night, another thing that the Dead never did and something that I wish all my fave bands would not do or hadn't done (Tom Petty was, of bands I follow, one of the worst offenders of this).  That's why at least on this tour Wilco has a cool two night few repeats pattern.  I will see them back to back in Austin and know I'm getting variety, even if its predictable variety.

 

If Wilco ever makes another record as good as A Ghost is Born or Sky Blue Sky, I'll be the first to be excited to hear it live.  Until they do, I'll continue to want to hear their best music, which for now, is still their stuff from 10-15 years ago, IMO.

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As I've said before, I think originality and ceaseless "creativity" for its own sake is way overrated by lots of artists and fans.  I'm all for it if it results in art that is strong and high quality.  I'm not for it if it results in stuff that is mediocre or weak.  I think Wilco's last three albums are mediocre at best especially compared to their earlier stuff (I know many disagree with me).  As for what they play live, I just want to hear their best stuff, whether its old or new.  Its not about nostalgia for me, like trying to remember and relive old times, its about I want to hear a killer band playing their best music.  Its about what I perceive to be high quality and low quality.  If the new stuff were as good to me as the old, I would be wanting to hear it. But for me, with Wilco and a lot of other bands I like, I like the earlier or mid career stuff best.  I think there is a fairly observable trend that artists create their strongest work when they are young and hungry and they mellow out as they age or put out more and more music.  I get that many songwriter performers want to focus on their new stuff, and I'd guess that wanting to feel relevant and having a judgement and aversion to "becoming a nostalgia act" is motivating them, consciously or subconsciously.  I just wish they'd take a tip from what the Grateful Dead did and not even consider a song's age in deciding whether to play it or not, play what is good, keep a large repertoire from the entire catalog going at all times and don't do a shit ton of repeats.  What is a bummer and a shame to me is this approach of playing the new music heavily on the tour when it came out and then dropping nearly all of it for subsequent tours to again focus on the next batch of new stuff.  An example is what they did with One Sunday Morning, playing it almost every night or close to that for a year and then suddenly dropping it for years.  To me a great song like that, probably the best song on Whole Love, would be great to hear every once in awhile  If they had thrown that in every fourth or fifth show on the last few tours I think many fans would look forward to hearing it, I know I would.  Its almost as much of a bummer to play the old warhorses every single night, another thing that the Dead never did and something that I wish all my fave bands would not do or hadn't done (Tom Petty was, of bands I follow, one of the worst offenders of this).  That's why at least on this tour Wilco has a cool two night few repeats pattern.  I will see them back to back in Austin and know I'm getting variety, even if its predictable variety.

 

If Wilco ever makes another record as good as A Ghost is Born or Sky Blue Sky, I'll be the first to be excited to hear it live.  Until they do, I'll continue to want to hear their best music, which for now, is still their stuff from 10-15 years ago, IMO.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN_3o59HFAc

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Wow, some hot takes in this thread. I for one love internet hot takes and this message board needs them!! But....

Count me down as someone desperately wanting new Wilco music. Star Wars and Schmilco are objectively great albums, if you'd rather hear Heavy Metal Drummer for the 2000th time, that's on you. Obviously Being There - A Ghost Is Born are hard albums to top but you also need to be aware of your own nostalgia for their old albums.

I wouldn't read too much into setlists to what is essentially a warm up tour before they start promoting new material in the fall. Or a one off show from their curated festival from two years ago. If Wilco announces the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 19th anniversary tour and starts playing the album in full, then maybe we can label them a nostalgia act... till then, nah.

 

 

I'm all for a new record also but even if they're on tour playing new material in the mix of a set  you're still going to hear Heavy Metal Drummer for the 20000th time. The difference with these recent sets (and what I love about seeing the band in between records) is seeing the older songs that you don't expect to hear like Hell Is Chrome. I know they are warming up for Solid Sound and just playing as many songs as they can over the 2 night runs but damn if they aren't some good setlist. And watching the webcast - they were smoking. The arrangement of Laminated Cat is one of the best I've heard by any format of Wilco.

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Fan here. I'll take any cut from The Whole Love any day. And I'll even applaud them knocking an AM song of their setlist to do it.

 

But that's not the point. This is just an example of how- as with the "fans would rather hear their old songs" idea- it all depends on who you talk to. How many times has someone on here griped about the inevitability of a Jesus Etc performance only to be rebuked by someone who says they've seen them a dozen times and is happy to hear it on any night?

 

Wilco can't be a nostalgia act because their music, their influences and their fan base are a messy democratic, eclectic thing. They did a tour de force album (Whole Love), a sonically playful rockin album (Star Wars) and a sonically playful folk album (Schmilco). All in a row. And I have yet to sense any consensus between fan reactions, or the band's setlists to show that any of these 3 distinct artistic explorations were more valid, or fruitful. 

 

Most importantly Jeff Tweedy is incapable of being in a nostalgia act. All he ever talks about is his musical curiosity and his insatiable appetite to create new stuff.

 

That's a damn good analysis..........

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I recently read a book about the death of classic rock and discovered that the author has a podcast called Celebration Rock.  He interviewed Jeff and John in 2017 when AM and Being There were reissued as deluxe sets.  The focus of the interview is Wilco's origins/early years.  But toward the end they discuss the idea of nostalgia and how they feel they've avoided it.  The whole thing is enjoyable, but if you want to hear their take on nostalgia, it starts around 52:00.

 

 https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/kq-morning-show/celebration-rock/e/52358927?autoplay=true

Steven Hyden is an excellent writer. He used to cover music and culture for the Grantland site. And he's a Wilco fan.

Does anyone other than me want to hear You Satellite again? And again, and again?

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Does anyone other than me want to hear You Satellite again? And again, and again?

I really, really love that song on the album.  Even better with headphones.

But the 3-4 times I heard it live (during the Star Wars play-the-whole-record tour... has it even been played since?), I was a little disappointed.  There are so many little musical nuances and details in the noisy part of the record that just didn't show up live.  Everything was a little muddled in the noise  - couldn't hear Nels' "jet-engine windup" or some of the other guitar parts.  It was still good, and I'm not sure how you could even get all that separation and detail in a live mix, but I didn't get the levitation-inducing sonic wave that I get when listening to the record.

All that said, yeah, I'd vote for getting it back in the rotation!!

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