bböp Posted November 13, 2019 Share Posted November 13, 2019 Sometimes the stars just align, Californian and otherwise, when it comes to a Wilco show. On a personal level, I was happily able to upgrade a mediocre seat in the back half of the room to a third-row center seat when a ticket magically became available just hours before the show. And on a general level, for a Tuesday night show in a reserved-seat auditorium, things went pretty much as you would hope and expect they would. That is to say that if you could script a show on this Ode To Joy tour that you would want your parents to see or if you were introducing a friend to Wilco, you might consider this one at the Murat Theatre. If my math is correct, this the fifth show the band has played in the Murat — the largest of three rooms inside the sprawling Old National Centre complex — and it’s a space in which I think both performer and audience are comfortable with what to expect. It holds about 2,600 total, including a two-row pit section on the floor and a relatively spacious balcony, and just about everyone on the lower level stood up from the start. It occurred to me that when it comes to reserved-seat theater shows, this must be why Jeff and his bandmates can get a bit miffed when some crowds immediately spring to their feet and largely stay that way for the duration and others don’t. Thankfully, this time, it was a perfect showing by the Indy faithful. In terms of Banter Corner, Jeff didn’t really have many extended visits at all. I suppose that is part of the fine line between a crowd that is too respectful and too rowdy. Ideally, I think, you want a bit of both because especially with the latter, it can give Jeff a foil (or foils) to go off on some amusing tangents/takedowns. But if I had to guess, he would probably prefer too respectful to too rowdy. Before White Wooden Cross, Jeff checked in with the audience to set up the somber tone of the song to come. “Is everyone having a good time?” Jeff asked. “Really? Well, then it seems like a perfect time for us to play a song about roadside memorials to people who got killed. Yay! Sing along, won’t you?” And later, after Love Is Everywhere (Beware), he joked that “we might have completed the gauntlet of dirges and sad songs. Y’all are in the home stretch. It’s an endurance test for everyone.” Another bit of Jeffiness came during the fake encore routine prior to Hold Me Anyway, which of course drew one of the loudest rounds of applause of the evening. Jeff quipped that the huge ovation was “the real reason we started to do that was so we could bask in it. (Hearing the cheers) while we’re over there off stage, what’s the point?” Jeff likened it to faking your own death “so you could hear all the nice things people said about you.” One other noteworthy bit of chatter came after Impossible Germany when Nels’ stool was brought out for the ensuing Jesus, etc. “Why don’t you have a seat, Nels?” Jeff joked, while also singling him out for his nightly ovation. What was interesting about this version of Impossible Germany that I can’t remember ever seeing before was Nels quickly switching guitars — I think it might have been to his 60s Crown with the Norton Wisdom custom paint job, but I can’t be sure — at the very end of the song for some reason. [Edit: Apparently Nels broke not one, but two, strings.] Clearly there was something Nels was going for, which Jeff pointed out that he came close to achieving. “Just about,” Nels told Jeff during their brief on-stage chat. Jeff teased him, saying, “I think you should play (the whole solo) again just for that last part.” Impossible Germany was, as always, one musical highlight. We also once again got what our friend theashtraysays has dubbed NovaCat — the back-to-back performances of Bull Black Nova and Laminated Cat — that have been a highlight of recent shows. Once again Laminated Cat was brought to a frenzied level before slowly fading out (instead of ending on a big final chord, as usual) and then leading up to another peak with the start of the subsequent Random Name Generator. It was also nice to hear Side With The Seeds again, and We Were Lucky was also a high point even after Glenn’s so-called “marching machine” that is a big part of the percussion on that song came loose and had to quickly be reset by drum tech Ashwin mid-song. By the time the one real encore came, Wilco had already been on stage for well over two hours. But in another sign that this show went about as well as could be hoped, there was no sign of the band seeming overly rushed. Instead, Jeff and his bandmates finished off the evening with a short but sweet sendoff of California Stars and The Late Greats with Jeff thanking support act Deep Sea Diver — who played their penultimate show of a weeklong run with the band. “You’ve been a great audience,” Jeff said with a wave. “See you next time.” Sounds like the kind of thing you might say to an old friend and/or neighbor after a good visit... Here was the complete setlist, as played (there were no changes from the printed list): Bright LeavesBefore UsI Am Trying To Break Your HeartWar On WarIf I Ever Was A ChildHandshake DrugsSide With The SeedsOne and a Half StarsHummingbirdWhite Wooden CrossVia ChicagoBull Black NovaLaminated Cat (aka Not For The Season)Random Name GeneratorReservationsImpossible GermanyJesus, etc.We Were LuckyLove Is Everywhere (Beware)Forget The FlowersBox Full Of LettersEveryone HidesTheologiansI'm The Man Who Loves YouHold Me AnywayMisunderstood-----------------------------------California StarsThe Late Greats Quote Link to post Share on other sites
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