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Wilco — 16 October 2019, Cary, NC (Koka Booth Amphitheatre)

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Sorry for being so late in posting the set list from this show. I’ve driven about 560 miles over the past couple of days so it’s been tough to find the time. How do you do it, Bbop??


I have a few random thoughts and comments about this show. For reference, I had been to the show at the Anthem in DC the night before, which was a very different vibe. Well designed theater vs. outdoor venue in a park-like setting, similar in feel to Wolf Trap for those who might be familiar. Apparently there is a strict noise level ordinance in effect because it’s set amidst residential neighborhoods. I heard a lot of complaints about the sound level being too low but it was hard for me to focus on that because I was so frustrated with my terrible seat! I knew going in that it was not going to be an ideal seating situation because I was in the 11th row of the orchestra, but the sight lines were truly horrible. Yes, I’m short, but I literally couldn’t even see the stage from this seat. Fortunately, I was able to move up and stand at the rail on the extreme right side, with almost a completely sideways view—but hey, a great view of Pat!


I will say that most of the people I spoke with after the show enjoyed themselves, and from what I could tell people did seem to be into it— I heard several people express astonishment at the power of the songs, and they seemed to be listening intently as if they had never heard them before. That’s always a good sign. Also, the audience sprang to its feet when Wilco took the stage and remained standing as far as I could tell for the rest of the show.


Laminated Cat was positively ferocious and Random Name Generator had Jeff kicking up his heels, definitely having fun. After a mesmerizing Reservations, Jeff mentioned that he would always remember this venue for the smell of buttered popcorn. (He was right—it was pervasive.) A few songs later, before Impossible Germany, Jeff returned to the popcorn smell and remarked that it was a full-on popcorn assault. He reassured the audience that they had made it through all the sad songs now and he hoped the popcorn had kept everybody warm. At this point someone in the audience yelled “And the weed!” Jeff responded that that hadn’t been his experience and someone yelled back “ You weren’t doing it right!” Jeff replied “I wasn’t doing it right? Really? All right, I guess I’ll try again.” Then he shook his head and muttered, “Monsters!” Pretty funny exchange. At some point a little later someone yelled something that Jeff couldn’t understand and he thought it sounded like Spanx. He assured us he wasn’t wearing Spanx but he did mention that he had dropped a few pounds recently. I’ve never thought that Jeff looked tired or uninspired, but he seems positively rejuvenated recently. During Hummingbird he was doing a pretty damn energetic little Hummingbird dance which was a hoot!


Overall it was a great show with the Ode to Joy songs continuing to develop and bloom in the live performance. As we were walking out all the comments I heard were positive to absolutely glowing. So, despite my personal quibbles about the crappy seat and the kind of picnic-y atmosphere, Wilco delivered another powerful, fully satisfying show. In fact, the guy standing just to my right for most of the show kept asking me about the songs and just seemed beside himself with joy (pun intended) at hearing his first Wilco show. It’s always so heartwarming and reassuring to relive that first Wilco experience through someone else’s eyes.


My friend got a copy of the set list after the show and there were no changes. Wilco played 29 songs in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Here then is the complete set list as played:


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

At Least That’s What You Said

Either Way


White Wooden Cross

Via Chicago

Laminated Cat

Random Name Generator


We Were Lucky

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

Impossible Germany

Box Full Of Letters

Everyone Hides

Dawned on Me

Heavy Metal Drummer

I’m The Man Who Loves You

(“fake encore”)

Hold Me Anyway



Red-Eyed And Blue>

I Got You (At The End of the Century)

California Stars

Late Greats

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The sound was superb - the mix excellent to my ears!  The band played really well - tight but loose at the same time.  The new tunes sparkled!  I'm not one to deliver extensive comments but if anyone cares to mention Jeff's notice of popcorn smell... it's true!  We smelled it as well.  Maybe the wind was blowing just right and the aroma hit the stage from the popcorn vendor.  :-)


My wife and I hadn't seen Wilco since the Star Wars tour.  The show in Cary was just simply wonderful!!

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