bböp Posted June 19, 2019 Share Posted June 19, 2019 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 FaceI Am Trying To Break Your HeartWar On WarI'll FightYou And IHandshake DrugsHummingbirdHow To Fight LonelinessBox Full Of LettersCalifornia StarsHesitating BeautyBull Black NovaLaminated Cat (aka Not For The Season)ReservationsImpossible GermanySomeone To LoseBorn AloneAt Least That's What You SaidThe Late Greats-----------------------------MisunderstoodRandom Name GeneratorRed-Eyed and Blue>I Got You (At The End of the Century)------------------------------Jesus, etc.Heavy Metal DrummerI'm The Man Who Loves You Quote Link to post Share on other sites
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