Jump to content

Wilco — 18 June 2019, Lille, France (L'Aéronef)

Recommended Posts

There was probably some underlying reason Wilco had never played a show in France outside of Paris before tonight — I think I had heard something about punitive tax consequences of some sort for foreign artists — but perhaps there simply wasn’t the level of demand required to put on a show anywhere but the capital.


After all these years that will change this week, with three shows in the north and west of the country during which I expect the band members to continue getting their sea legs under them after a long layoff as well as reaping the corollary benefit of introducing themselves to some new audiences. That’s more or less what happened in Lille (or is it Euralille?), where Wilco played to a decently packed but far-from-sold out crowd at L’Aéronef — an odd sort of venue that was two stories above street level in the middle of a giant metallic complex that also included a business school, an art space and possibly some residential units, among other things.


“I don’t think we’ve ever been here before,” Jeff said to the audience of maybe 400 people about a third of the way through the set. In response a woman yelled out, “It’s a shame,” to which Jeff replied, almost sheepishly, “Well, we’re here now. We’re trying to play a little bit of everything from all our records.”


That was just about the longest visit Jeff paid to Banter Corner on this evening, however, aside from an early audience check-in when he asked if anyone else was feeling a bit warm (response: yes) and said he was glad it wasn’t just him. The venue, like many places on this side of the Atlantic, doesn’t seem to subscribe to the benefits of air circulation. Other than that, Jeff’s chatter was mostly limited to the occasional “Merci beaucoup,” and at one point, he even looked at Glenn (who was waiting to start a song) and said that he wasn’t talking, as if there had been any doubt.


So music was the main order of business tonight, and the band played a solidly enjoyable, if not super intense, show that basically stuck to the material they have played thus far on their comeback run. That didn’t mean there weren’t some moments of laser focus, like on the mid-set duo of Bull Black Nova (whose ending the band continues to subtly tweak…Jeff did utter the “Pick up” lines, for example) and Laminated Cat. And of course, it seems almost impossible at this point that the band will ever play a European show again without Impossible Germany, which as usual drew the biggest and most sustained ovation of the night.


Personally, I thought that At Least That’s What You Said and Misunderstood were standouts in Lille (even if Jeff did have a small flub on the latter, transposing the "you hurt her, but you don’t know why" and "you love her, but you don’t know why" lines in that verse). Both songs just continue to get better each time the band plays them, so hopefully that continues.


It will be interesting to see what sort of audience turns up for the next two gigs as the band gets further into France. I’m not sure if the fact that Elton John was apparently playing in Lille as well had any significant effect on the size of the Wilco crowd — Jeff didn’t mention Sir Elton at all, and I think that might be at least the second time he played a city the same night as Wilco (Kansas City some years ago comes to mind for some reason).


But really these French shows are sort of a no-lose proposition for the band, it seems to me. As mentioned, they are getting a chance to introduce themselves to some people that perhaps they might not otherwise reach while also giving themselves a low-stakes opportunity to — in essence — publicly rehearse. If the ultimate goal is to get Wilco the band back to its pre-hiatus level before embarking on a tour in support of their next record, then shows like this week’s can surely only help...


Anyway, here was the complete setlist as played (there were no changes from the printed setlist):


You Are My Face

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

War On War

I'll Fight

You And I

Handshake Drugs


How To Fight Loneliness

Box Full Of Letters

California Stars

Hesitating Beauty

Bull Black Nova

Laminated Cat (aka Not For The Season)


Impossible Germany

Someone To Lose

Born Alone

At Least That's What You Said

The Late Greats



Random Name Generator

Red-Eyed and Blue>

I Got You (At The End of the Century)


Jesus, etc.

Heavy Metal Drummer

I'm The Man Who Loves You

Link to post
Share on other sites

BBN Report : there were indeed two “pick up”s this time, and rather intense ones at that. There wasn’t one in the previous show, so it’s good to keep the average whole.

The back to back duo of BBN and Laminated Cat is a rock and roll feast. Or beast. To say the least. Both of those have a new ending and Laminated Cat has gotten markedly better through this run.

No signage was deployed during the show. Maybe 2nite?

Non-BBN news: it’s been a real joy to watch them move through these post hiatus shows. This one had the most band-to-band interaction I’ve seen yet. They really locked eyes with each other more often, whereas I thought they kinda focused on their own instrument / space earlier. Lots more connection this time I saw. Pat seems more energetic, with the windmills back to full strength, and the, uh, “phallic phender” more prevalent. Oh, and the smirk is in full splendor quite often. Watching Glenn is a treat that never gets old. You just don’t realize how much he’s adding to a song until you keep an eye on him. And even though there’s a lot of guitar pyrotechnics going on in Handshake Drugs, John totally owns that song start to finish.

Crowd was really good. A few shout outs and requests but nothing disruptive. Reservations was solemn and respectful the whole way. Singing along was a bit weak but not bad for the size crowd.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...