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Wilco — 9 November 2019, Cincinnati OH (Taft Theater)

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Well, bbop, you missed a good one.  A Saturday night in a packed out INDOOR theater with plenty of heat to go around, in a city that tends to have pretty good Wilco audiences imho. 

The Taft is the lesser of the two main theaters in Cinci, a bit shabbier and smaller than the Aronoff a couple blocks away.  Seated floor and balcony, with boxes in the front of the balcony and a couple very small side boxes flanking the stage.  The guys seemed to be in pretty good spirits, and quite relieved to be playing indoors once again.  "This is fucking awesome.... nice and toasty" Jeff remarked early on, after commenting about how they couldn't feel their arms the night before at the outdoor show. 

Jeff was adorned in the usual WARM beanie (WARM logo turned to the back), and wearing a kind of shirt-jacket in light blue denim.  Not quite the trademark jean jacket of old, but sorta.  We did have the backscreen projections, and the odd geometric lines / grids on the kickdrum instead of the Ode to Joy shape thingie.  Sound was quite good, with nice speakers on the edge of the stage for those of us in the front. 

Did we stand?  Yes we did.  There were a couple of us diehards in the rows just behind the small pit, including one who had been shouted down in Pittsburgh for standing.  We stood as they came out, and stayed on our feet the whole time.  For the first couple of new songs, the crowd generally stayed seated - but once they started the familiar IATTBYH, things picked up.  It seemed that the folks in the back half of the floor started standing, and it kinda worked its way forward.  For pretty much the whole show, the vast majority stood.  Some (half?) of the folks in the pit sat a lot, but that was just fine with me as it gave me a really sweet sight line from the third row.  No talkers in my area, and definitely no "sit down"-ers.  'Twas nice. 

And no hecklers.  I think I heard maybe one song request shouted, but really all you heard between songs was really extended applause and cheers.  Jeff commented toward the end of the main set "I gotta tell ya Cincinnati you're really bringing it tonight!  We've had some real dogshit audiences on this leg, but you're something else.  You know how to make a band feel good.  We don't like most of our audiences."  Good stuff. 

Not a ton of banter, and with the lack of hecklers, there wasn't much interaction with anyone.  There was one guy in the front row of the pit on the end near Nels, who apparently snuck out (not as stealthily as he thought) early on.  Jeff saw him when he got back to his seat and said " I noticed you went and got a beer during the new song... I notice everything."  And a little later, to a woman in the front in the same area he chastised her for distracting Nels somehow (I didn't see what she was doing other than very exuberant dancing) and said "Quit taunting him!  He doesn't have his contacts in so he can't even see you.  I've got my eye on you."  A little weird. 

At the "fake encore walk off" after ITMWLY, they got a very loud ovation and cheers, which prompted Jeff to have a Taylor Swift-like moment of faux shocked appreciation and utter a very humble "goodness gracious!" to the extended applause. 

The "THANKS FOR THE POETRY AND MAGIC" sign made its appearance at the real encore break, and seemed to bring one more smile to the guys as they headed off for their 30 second pre-barnburner break, returning with Cali Stars and the Being There triplet to close the show. 

Bull Black Nova report - We got the full NovaCat treatment, flanked by Via and RNG, which absolutely ignited the crowd and erased any stand or sit question once and for all.  Good lord that's a mighty mighty run right there. 

Pat report - a bit subdued this time, and I'll just leave it at that. 

Side note on the signage - I went with the "ODE TO NOVA" sign vs the traditional BBN sign, which didn't get much of an acknowledgement really.  But since I forgot to bring anything to write on for note taking, not even a ticket (mobile entry), it did provide plenty of scribble space for the evening.  Oh, and the security folks temporarily confiscated them both upon entry (only the second time that has even happened to me), but a quick slip in and out of the foyer was all it took to be reunited for the evening. 

All in all it was a helluva rock show on a Saturday night, and I'm pretty sure nobody went away disappointed. 

Here's the setlist as played.  The printed setlist had "Late Greats" after Cali Stars but wasn't played. 


Bright Leaves
Before Us
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

Handshake Drugs

Side With the Seeds

One and a Half Stars
Hummingbird (with a brief removal of the beanie...)
White Wooden Cross
Via Chicago
Bull Black Nova

Laminated Cat

Random Name Generator
Impossible Germany

Jesus, etc

We Were Lucky
Love Is Everywhere (Beware)
Box Full Of Letters
Everyone Hides
I’m The Man Who Loves You (fake encore break)
Hold Me Anyway
California Stars

Red-Eyed and Blue>

I Got You (At The End of the Century) >

Outtasite (Outta Mind)


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By my most likely inaccurate math this was my 19th Wilco show, quite a feat in some circles but on this board it probably falls into the less than pedestrian level of fandom. That being said its amazing how I can walk away and still be surprised how tight and proficient this band is. Glenn really steals the show on a lot of this setlist. His kit is now starting to resemble some kind of mad scientists torture device. There are pedals serving homemade "attachments" that are like five feet away. I think the band genuinely appreciated that crowd last night. They almost seemed surprised, there were more than one extended applause at non-encore moments. Took my brother in law who has never seen the full band live...thought his head was going to explode during the Via Chicago chaos...these are things we take for granted. Random Name Generator to me has deservedly become a set list staple. It is an awesome rock song and the band looks like they have a ton of fun playing it. As far as the "Pat Watch" situation goes your original poster above is being very diplomatic. Pat looked less than interested at all times...with exception to maybe the last two songs of the encore...which I jokingly said "he knows its almost over". I would equate Pat's facial expressions to that of a man holding his wife's purse outside the fitting room while she tries on clothes....not exactly rock and roll. 

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