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Wilco — 10 September 2019, Copenhagen, Denmark (Den Grå Hal)

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On the bus home from Copenhagen’s Den Grå Hal, I overheard a local (who was presumably also writing about the show since he already had his latop open on his lap with a screen that had “Review” in big letters at the top — which, ahem, is way more dedicated than your friendly slacker VC correspondent) tell someone that he really enjoyed the concert and “if not for the technical problem, I would have given it the top mark.”

 

Oh, if he could only have known how that technical problem — and I’m assuming he meant the botched start to Box Full Of Letters, which the band had to start and restart twice because Jeff was having guitar problems — seemed to loosen up the mood and turned what could have been another fairly workmanlike performance into a more fun, looser one. :dance

 

To be fair, I suppose that looseness had started one song earlier when prior to Impossible Germany, Jeff finally addressed the unique location of the venue. It sits right in the middle of a section of Copenhagen called Freetown Christiania, a former military barracks which was taken over and developed into a hippie commune in the early 1970s and later became known for its so-called “Pusher Street,” (or "Green Light District," if you prefer) where hashish, marijuana and other substances were sold in an open-air market that was more or less tolerated by Danish authorities. “We used to come here a long time ago, John and I,” Jeff said, mentioning a location whose name I didn’t catch. “It was when we used to smoke hash, that’s how long ago it was.”

 

After a particularly spirited Impossible Germany, Jeff pointed toward Nels as he often does when the audience gives him an extra round of applause. “He’s got some DNA from around here…in a jar in his bunk” Jeff said, as Nels chuckled. “Don’t smoke it.” As he prepared to go directly into Box, Glenn paused and goaded him into introducing the song as he usually does (“This is a song from our first record…”). That’s when things started to go haywire. First the band got about 30 seconds into the song when Jeff realized he wasn’t getting any sound from his guitar and after singing a couple more lines, he turned to Glenn and said let’s just start it over. So Jeff got another guitar and the band started the song again but apparently the guitar wasn’t in the right tuning, so they had to stop again. “Everything was going so well — thanks, Nels,” Jeff said sarcastically. “OK, let’s see if we can some momentum going again.”

 

Fortunately they did, albeit with a looser vibe than before. There were a couple more funny little exchanges between both Jeff and his bandmates and the crowd before the end of the main set, including once when someone in the audience of about 1,300 yelled something like “Rock it, Tweedy!” Jeff either intentionally or unintentionally misheard that as “Rock a toilet!” and replied, much to Nels’ amusement, “Rocking a toilet? I’m good at that.” :ninja

 

During the encore, which I think was just about the ideal rocking finale for this current version of the setlist in terms of pacing, etc., Jeff also thanked those in attendance for being a fantastic audience. “We were just in Norway, and they were dullsville,” Jeff joked, before adding that he was just kidding.

 

One noteworthy aspect of this show was the return of the video projections behind the band that had made their debut in Stavanger but hadn’t been used since. As evidence that they are still experimenting with them, the image that was displayed when the band left the stage in Copenhagen was that of a wind-whipped American flag complete with sound, apparently courtesy of some recent footage from the impact of Hurricane Dorian hitting the Caribbean. I have to say, given the political climate in America and coming so close to 9/11, it was a particularly meaningful image. By contrast, in Stavanger, the image on the screen when the band left the stage had been a simple shot of the word Wilco that had been painted on glass, which was also pretty cool. :usa

 

What else? Well, I suppose some have commented on the relative stasis of the setlists thus far. I can’t necessarily say I disagree, but I guess for whatever reason, Jeff has a version of the show he wants to present right now with all of the Ode To Joy songs sprinkled in and the handful of “greatest hits” that apparently must be played every night. I suppose that even with roughly half the setlist remaining the same from night to night, there still is some wiggle room to mix it up a bit, but then again, the band is playing somewhat longer sets (at least time-wise; this one clocked in at 2 hours, 17 minutes) than I remember previously in Europe so perhaps that is a tradeoff. I also wonder if sometimes Jeff doesn’t give European fans as much credit for traveling to multiple shows as he might expect Americans to, even though the handful of European fans I know definitely travel to more shows on a given tour than most Americans.

 

So the short answer is, I really don’t know what to say in terms of the setlists. I am simply your humble, occasionally slackerish correspondent and I don’t have a direct line to the band from night to night any more than anyone else does. I only try to report what happened at a given show and sometimes try to put it into a little context. Otherwise, the rest of it is theoretically up for discussion since this is, after all, a discussion forum… B)

 

Here was the complete setlist, as played, at The Gray Hall (only got a peek at a printed setlist, but I'm pretty sure there were no changes/omissions):

Bright Leaves
Before Us
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
War On War
One and a Half Stars
If I Ever Was A Child
Handshake Drugs
Hummingbird
White Wooden Cross
Forget The Flowers
Via Chicago
I'm Always In Love
Bull Black Nova
Laminated Cat (aka Not For The Season)
Reservations
Love Is Everywhere (Beware)
Impossible Germany
Box Full Of Letters
Everyone Hides
Jesus, etc.
Theologians
I'm The Man Who Loves You
Hold Me Anyway
---------------------------------
Misunderstood
Random Name Generator
California Stars
Red-Eyed and Blue>
I Got You (At The End of the Century)>
Outtasite (Outta Mind)

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Mr Bbop I warn you to decline the pastry!

Welfare!

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Mr Bbop I warn you to decline the pastry!

Welfare!

 

Herr Lotti, many, many apologies for vast delay in report from Danemark but it so happened that Mr Bjorn was just on telly (BBC) and I could not take my eyes away for much hours. Pastry also could not be totally declined, as it was...how you say...mega meta to eat a danish in Danemark! Once again, I regret these deficiencies and will try to improve in future. Welfare!

 

i saw Sleep there last year... what a cool venue!

 

p2947994715-5.jpg

 

That picture makes it look a lot cooler than it actually was, Tim! I mean, it was fairly intimate so I'm not complaining at all and I'd much rather see the band in this kind of setting than a posh concert hall any day. But if you looked closely, it was pretty much a glorified barn [edit: horse stable, apparently] and sounded like it... :lol

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You are lucky to catch recent Mr Bjorn for hours indeed. I have the dismay at lack of the Waterloo inflicted as reminder on Danish. I can only assume that Mr Jeff Tweedy wait to use double throat of OHMME lady men later in tour. I still have the faith in him!

Welfare!

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Your show report is always a good read.

Too bad the Scandinavian leg of the tour comes to an end as the interaction with Mr Lotti makes it even more enjoyable. Welfare to you both !

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I do not have anything between my legs! I am lady man! Well I have something of course but not dangling kind as husband Olsen. Ha ha!

Welfare!

P.S. Though Olsen has not as much as Jens from post office but he is not supposed to know I know that.

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