bböp Posted October 23, 2019 Share Posted October 23, 2019 Well, you knew this was probably going to be a good one. I mean, has there ever been a less-than-stellar Wilco show at Cain's Ballroom? Not that I can recall, and I think I've attended all four now. Whether it's the lingering ghosts of past performers like Bob Wills and Hank Williams, the always-enthusiastic audiences or the intimacy and charm of the 95-year-old room itself, the band always seems to reach a slightly higher level once it hits that vaunted stage. There have been a few changes since Wilco last played Cain's more than eight years ago (the Tweedy band also played a show there in 2014). For example, they no longer sell six-packs of beer to a single customer, which is probably a prudent decision. And the famous "springy" floor — which apparently never had and still does not have actual springs underneath — was replaced again at the start of 2017 after just nine years of use. Jeff mentioned that change, joking that the crowd could pretend it was still bouncy. For the record, I didn't really notice much of a difference in the floor, though folks who have attended a lot of shows there over the years might feel differently. The most important thing is that, even with some modifications and polishing, the mystique of the room remains intact. As far as the show Wilco put on, it too remained largely intact in terms of presenting a majority of the songs (eight) from its current record, Ode To Joy. But owing to the venue or perhaps just that point in a tour, there were probably as many changes to the setlist as I remember since the band started playing songs off OTJ in earnest a couple months ago. For instance, Summer Teeth came as a very welcome addition (did you hear that it got "busted out" at the in-store the band played at Grimey's in Nashville over the weekend? ), as did twangy tunes such as Forget The Flowers and Hesitating Beauty. Before the former, Jeff remarked that "this is probably the most appropriate song we have for this environment, except some we're gonna play later." The encore — or I guess I should say the only real encore, since Jeff once again told the crowd before Hold Me Anyway to pretend as if the band had just gone off stage and come back on (which drew a hearty round of applause) — started with Wilco paying tribute to Woody Guthrie, whose museum is just down the street. And it ended with that old bar band finale of Red-Eyed>I Got You>Outtasite that never seems to get old, though I was a little bit surprised that the band didn't stick to its planned ending with Misunderstood. I don't know if they had to be off stage by 10:45 or something, but that could have had something to do with it — or just the fact that they had already played 29 songs over 2 hours and 13 minutes. Even with songs Jeff and his bandmates have played semi-regularly on this tour, they haven't remained static with the arrangements. For example, I noticed tonight that they gave a sort of Bull Black Nova-like treatment to the ending of the fierce Laminated Cat, aka Not For The Season (which I guess was fitting because Cat basically replaced Nova on the setlist for this show), by bringing the frenzy of noise down to virtually a complete standstill the way they do before the "Pick up" line in BBN before then bringing the song to an abrupt conclusion. The one thing missing at Cain's, as has been the case at just about all club-type venues on the OTJ tour, was the abstract art projections the band has used as an element of its stage production when the specs of the venue allow. But otherwise, I think the sound was about as good as you could hope for in that type of room and the intimacy more than made up for any deficiency. In terms of guitar nerdery, there were more than a couple guitars I can't remember seeing Nels use before. For instance, he used a beautiful red or burgundy Novo guitar — I couldn't say what model, but apparently Novo is a new line of custom guitars designed by famed luthier Dennis Fano and built in Nashville — on Hold Me Anyway. And Nels also had a new-to-me woodgrain Telecaster-style guitar with a unique pickguard apparently made out of an actual Okeh vinyl record (hat tip to Firecracker Kid for pointing that out to me) that he played on California Stars. And I also noticed that the black acoustic guitar Jeff used on many of the OTJ songs was a similar, but not identical, version of the one he has been using that has the Western motif with images of horses. This one, however, didn't have the word "RODEO" shortened to "ODE" in one corner. In terms of Banter Corner, Jeff didn't actually have that much to say on his own. When he did speak, which was fairly often, it came more as a back-and-forth with various audience members. For instance, after Jeff had thanked support act Molly Sarlé (saying that he loved her voice and loved her songs), someone yelled out something that sounded like, "I love you, dad!" Jeff mock bristled, replying, "I'm not your fucking dad. I'm none of your dads." It was a bit of a funny, but odd, moment. As was Jeff's dedication of Hesitating Beauty to a guy dressed in a full-body white unicorn costume, who had already gotten one shoutout earlier. This time Jeff dedicated the song to him and then after the guy apparently reacted in too boisterous a fashion, quickly took it back and said to the rest of the audience, "You guys see him too, right?" But on at least a few occasions, Jeff did express his gratitude to the audience and enjoyment of being back at Cain's. "It's good to see you," he said relatively early on in the set. "There's something about this place. Every time I'm here, I feel like I was just here. It's weird." Later on, there was a moment when Jeff stepped to the mike and said, "Hello?" out into the darkness that I thought was almost like he was reaching out to any spirits that might be hanging around just then. Based on the show they put on tonight for the 1,800 or so crammed into that old dance hall, though, I think Wilco still has some time to go before joining those ranks of legendary performers enshrined on the walls. Here's hoping that it won't take nearly nine more years for the band to come back and add to its legacy at this venerable venue... Here was the complete setlist, as played (there were several changes from the printed setlist — namely, the additions of War On War and Outtasite (Outta Mind) and the omissions of Dawned On Me and Misunderstood from the main set and encore, respectively): Bright LeavesBefore UsCompany In My BackWar On WarOne and a Half StarsIf I Ever Was A ChildHandshake DrugsAt Least That's What You SaidHummingbirdWhite Wooden CrossVia ChicagoSummer TeethLaminated Cat (aka Not For The Season)Random Name GeneratorReservationsWe Were LuckyLove Is Everywhere (Beware)Impossible GermanyForget The FlowersBox Full Of LettersEveryone HidesI'm The Man Who Loves YouHold Me AnywayThe Late Greats---------------------------------California StarsHesitating BeautyRed-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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