bböp Posted June 14, 2019 Share Posted June 14, 2019 Not that there weren’t any number of brilliant moments to be remembered from the second of Wilco’s two shows at Brussels’ iconic Ancienne Belgique this week, but one exchange between Jeff and a fan pretty much illustrated all you need to know about the relationship between the band and its audience (with the disclaimer that I wasn’t standing anywhere close to this person so I can only describe things the way I saw them based on Jeff’s reactions and comments, but I think the point still comes across). Jeff had finally opened up a bit, banter-wise, toward the end of the main set when the band started to play one of the quietest songs in its catalog, Reservations. For some reason just then, someone — I suspect it was the same Brazilian lady, who along with her partner, had made a bit of a spectacle of themselves on Night 1 — to Jeff’s right apparently tried to make a request for Remember The Mountain Bed but either got the title of the song wrong or Jeff misheard it as “Remember The Wilco Bed.” Jeff corrected the person, then broke the news that the band wasn’t going to play that song before saying, in slight exasperation, “Why are we talking?” Finally, when the “It’s not about you” lyric came at the end of the song, Jeff clearly gestured in the direction of that person. The rest of the show proceeded, complete with a rocking Outtasite (Outta Mind)>I’m A Wheel two-fer to end the first encore. And judging by the printed setlist, the band had planned to end the show with a one-song second encore of A Shot in the Arm. But with a scant 10 minutes left before the venue’s strict 10:30 p.m. curfew, you could see the on-stage crew scrambling a bit in the shadows and when Jeff and Co. finally returned to the stage, what else did they launch into but a full-band version of Remember The Mountain Bed. Of course they did. Aside from probably being the one and only instance in Wilco history when Mountain Bed came after I’m A Wheel in a setlist, the minor spat demonstrated that Jeff might spar with audience members (or get annoyed with some of them) from time to time but he does often make every attempt to try and please them as well. It’s just that said attempt(s) will come on his own terms. The irony of all this, too, was that just a song before Reservations, Jeff had informed the 1,800 or so inside the AB that “you are a very, very good audience and I don’t say that lightly because I don’t like many audiences.” (Brief shoutout to the guy in one of the balconies who could audibly be heard saying, in response, “But we pay you.” Touché, sir.) Anyway, then someone yelled out for the band to “play us a new song.” That led Jeff down a brief rabbit hole, in which he basically seemed to clear up whether the band will play any new material before it is out in the world. “We have lots (of songs) we are withholding, which we will unveil at the proper moment,” Jeff said, delicately. He went on, explaining the basic rationale that in the social media age “if we play a new song and we fuck it up, that’s how it is forever.” He also added, half-jokingly, that the band was still “trying to remember our old songs.” Audience interactions aside, I would say that the band was a bit sharper with those old songs on the second night. They rolled through a setlist that didn’t quite match up to the no-repeats standard of the Knoxville shows the previous week — Impossible Germany and Reservations were played both nights — but nevertheless contained more than a few standout performances. Misunderstood was once again a highlight, as the album arrangement opened with a burst of noise, then built up from the gentle guitar strumming and light keyboard accompaniment at the start to an explosion of bass and drums at the climax. The back-to-back combination of Box Full Of Letters and I’m Always In Love, meanwhile, was a delightful blast of power pop that injected some energy into the set. Actually I think the only discernible flub I detected came on What Light when Jeff transposed the “…if the whole world’s singing your songs/and all of your paintings have been hung…” couplet (though he made a nice save, without giving any indication that he had flipped the lyrics). What’s evident is that the band is still working on regaining its footing, but with each passing show, a little more of the Wilco whole is reforming — kind of like when the liquid metal T-1000 in Terminator 2 is blown up (or frozen and shattered or whatever), if anyone can get with that reference — and gradually getting back up to speed. One more indication of that came tonight when Jeff started to banter a bit with the audience after You And I, only to start digging himself into a bit of an awkward moment by overchattering. At one point, he glanced back at Glenn and said aloud, “This is what happens when you don’t start songs fast enough.” Glenn looked back at him with a mischievous smile on his face and delayed the start of the next song an extra beat or two longer, needling Jeff just that little bit more as only good friends can do. Ah, now that’s the Wilco we know and love... Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 2 at the Ancienne Belgique (the only change from the printed setlist was the aforementioned addition of Remember The Mountain Bed at the start of the second encore): You Are My FaceMuzzle Of BeesWar On WarIf I Ever Was A ChildCry All DayOne WingShe's A JarRed-Eyed and Blue>I Got You (At The End of the Century)Either WayImpossible GermanyCompany In My BackYou And IBox Full Of LettersI'm Always In LoveForget The FlowersReservationsSide With The SeedsTheologiansMisunderstood--------------------------Ashes Of American FlagsWhat LightOuttasite (Outta Mind)I'm A Wheel---------------------------Remember The Mountain BedA Shot in the Arm Quote Link to post Share on other sites
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