bböp Posted September 14, 2019 Share Posted September 14, 2019 For the most part thus far on the European portion of Wilco’s Ode To Joy tour, Banter Corner has remained a largely lonely one with Jeff and his bandmates seemingly preferring to let their music speak for itself during slightly-longer-than-usual sets for this part of the world. In Cologne, Jeff didn’t suddenly turn into Chatty Tweedy but whether it was being back in a city in which he has performed relatively often over the years, the winding-down of the portion of the tour with old friend Spiral Stairs as the support act or something else entirely (the facial cover provided by the return of his trademark Stetson hat, perhaps?), Jeff did delightfully open up a bit and that added to an already-entertaining set at the Carlswerk Victoria — which is a small warehouse-like venue located within a somewhat mysterious complex of industrial-type buildings a bit outside the city center. After introducing Box Full Of Letters as a song off their first record, as he does most nights, Jeff then related how one of the first shows the band played in support of that record had been with Pavement, in Minneapolis, “and that’s how we got to know Scott, or Spiral Stairs as you might know him.” Jeff glanced over at John for some confirmation of that, and I’m not sure he got exactly what he was looking for, but nonetheless called for a round of applause for the show openers. Then he continued, “We opened up for (Pavement), and they were mean to us. Sort of. But it’s OK.” Unfortunately, we didn’t get any further details on that anecdote. A couple of songs later, unprompted, Jeff reiterated again how nice it was to be back in Cologne and shared a story about one time they had spent in the city when he and John had been touring Europe with Uncle Tupelo. “We had a van that used to be an X-ray wagon, so it didn’t have any windows, and we only had one DVD, which was Natural Born Killers. So we decided to smoke some weed and watch it before the show.” [Editor’s note: Jeff definitely said DVD when he was telling this story, but since this was almost certainly the early 1990s, do we think he meant VHS instead?] Anyway Jeff continued, saying that when it finally came time to play and they started the first song — which was Give Back The Key To My Heart — “that was the longest beginning of that song ever. … In my mind, somewhere, we’re still performing that song.” Finally, after playing Jesus, etc., Jeff couldn’t help but add one last tidbit to the memory: “We had a sound guy who could watch Natural Born Killers on repeat. He was terrifying.” Another thing Jeff expressed at least a couple of times during the show was the band’s gratitude for the audience’s acceptance of so many new songs in the set. Introducing White Wooden Cross, Jeff said, “Here’s another one off our new album, Ode To Joy, if you don’t mind.” Then shifting to a lightly sardonic tone: “I beg your forgiveness, but we (are putting) out another record. Go buy it, OK?” That was about it for the noteworthy banter, though one other moment at the start of the encore could have provided some fodder for additional humor. The rest of the band had already returned to the stage and seemed ready to start the first song, the OTJ cut Hold Me Anyway, but Pat was missing. After what seemed like a long time but was probably only a few seconds, Pat finally reappeared. Instead of needling him, though, Jeff simply said to hang on a minute and emphasized to the audience that Pat was an important part of the song. For his part, Pat maintained a poker face throughout the episode. A couple of people have pointed out to me how Pat doesn’t seem to be smiling very much on stage of late, in general, and I hope that doesn’t hint at anything being amiss. In any case, I can happily report that the connection between band and audience seemed especially solid throughout the show and especially at the end of both the main set and encore, which both featured several rockers in a row. And even during songs like At Least That’s What You Said, Via Chicago and How To Fight Loneliness, which all feature solo flourishes by various band members, there were definitely pockets of appreciative applause like you might expect to hear at a jazz concert. Give Cologne credit for being a respectful, yet engaged audience. Aside from being a city that knows its cathedrals, its beer and its perfume, it also seems to be able to recognize good music when it hears it, even if its music venues might not quite match up to bigger metropolises such as Berlin or Hamburg. Here was the complete setlist, as played (didn't glimpse a printed setlist, so can't say if there were any changes/omissions): Bright LeavesBefore UsI Am Trying To Break Your HeartKameraIf I Ever Was A ChildHandshake DrugsOne and a Half StarsHummingbirdAt Least That's What You SaidWhite Wooden CrossVia ChicagoHow To Fight LonelinessBull Black NovaReservationsImpossible GermanyLove Is Everywhere (Beware)Box Full Of LettersEveryone HidesJesus, etc.I'm Always In LoveRandom Name GeneratorI'm The Man Who Loves You---------------------------------Hold Me AnywayCalifornia StarsRed-Eyed and Blue>I Got You (At The End of the Century)>Outtasite (Outta Mind) Quote Link to post Share on other sites
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