bböp Posted December 19, 2019 Share Posted December 19, 2019 Ok, I’ve reconsidered and maybe the Chicago Theatre isn’t such a bad place for Wilco show after all. Actually, that’s what I was getting at the other day — or trying to, anyway — when I suggested that the iconic venue is a perfectly adequate locale for the band’s Winterlude residency. Depending on where you’re seated and who’s seated around you, I believe the phrase I used was "generally tolerable." Would it be my first choice? My reply is no. Will there ever be a barnburner of a Wilco show there? Don’t count on it. Could there be worse venues? Signs point to yes. And lastly, O Wise Magic 8-Ball, was tonight’s third of four Winterlude 2019 shows a pleasant way to spend an evening? It is decidedly so. With a new support act on board for the second half of Winterlude in the form of charming singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten, Wilco didn’t wait until the encore to make use of her talents and it made for one of the highlights of the show. Inviting her back to the stage with some kind words about feeling fortunate when an artist they admire agrees to perform with them, Jeff and his bandmates began to play the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot deep cut Radio Cure — which, of course, Sharon covered on the recent Wilcovered Uncut compilation — for the first time since they did it as part of the full YHF performance at the Solid Sound Festival in 2017. It was a real treat to hear it again, especially with SVE contributing some haunting backing vocals. Radio Cure slotted perfectly into the setlist spot normally occupied by Reservations, and after three shows this week, you can kind of see the general shape of the set that Wilco seems to want to present right now and where certain songs might slot in and be swapped out during a multi-night stand. So along with Radio Cure, we also got How To Fight Loneliness making an appearance after Via Chicago in a little Summerteeth two-fer and Dawned On Me showing up, as it often does, in the back half of the main set. I Might, meanwhile, was a nice surprise in the first half of the set. Every time the band plays it lately, I just can’t help but think of the guy at a show in Cedar Rapids a few weeks ago who wore a black T-shirt that read simply, “I Might.” At the time, Jeff told him something to the effect that the band had been discussing it but that unfortunately there wasn’t a chance in hell they could play it that evening. (The guy eventually took off the shirt and threw it on stage, but that’s another story.) Anyway, Jeff introduced it by saying, “Here’s a song about setting kids on fire. That’s always good for the holidays.” And the current arrangement is slightly different than they how used to do it, with Jeff on acoustic guitar and Nels and Pat on electric, whereas Jeff used to play a red Rickenbacker and Pat would stay on the keyboard. To me, it makes it sound slightly less garage-y and more of a piece with the OTJ material, especially with Glenn’s distinctive drum hits. One other note I jotted down was that Pat was more animated and engaged than I’ve seen him in a while. He had all his showman moves working during Random Name Generator, for example, holding his guitar up and away from his body and faux-windmilling at times. During Box Full Of Letters, he blazed through the solo and then even took a brief moment to strike a pose near the end. I heard that he had some family in attendance, so perhaps that’s what we can attribute it to, but it was still nice to see. Speaking of Pat, he had another playful moment at the end of California Stars when he — as he did on Night 1 — started to pluck a little fragment of Dueling Banjos on his electric banjo and Jeff reciprocated with the corresponding part on his acoustic guitar. It was a short, but amusing, moment. Prior to that on Cali Stars, what stood out had been the vocals contributed by siblings Sima Cunningham of the band Ohmme and her younger brother, now known as Liam Kazar. The two sang lead together on the second and fourth verses, which was lovely, and also found time to do a little dancing together as well. For the final number of the evening, following a standalone Outtasite (Outta Mind) — which, I have to say, really should have been the more seasonally appropriate Outta Mind (Outta Sight) — Sima and Liam returned to the stage as did Sharon and Jeff announced that the entire audience could probably sing along to this song. And so Wilco began to play the Plastic Ono Band classic Happy Xmas (War Is Over) for the first time ever, and much of the audience did sing along, and it was nice. As far as visiting Banter Corner, Jeff really didn’t head too far in that direction on Night 3. Aside from dedicating a couple of songs to family and friends — Everyone Hides to his brother-in-law Bruce, and California Stars to a friend of the band’s, Jay — he didn’t go off on too many tangents. The funniest quip probably came after Impossible Germany when Nels had already sat down to play lap steel on Jesus, etc. “Nels is gonna sit down and play another instrument now,” Jeff said. “Every night I look over (during Nels’ solo on Impossible Germany) and it’s like a lizard with limbs regenerating; there’s blood and fingers flying everywhere. I don’t know how he does it.” Then, after a perfect pause: “I could do it, probably.” It’s hard to believe that three Winterlude shows are already in the books and we’re coming to end of another run of these shows. I don’t expect a huge amount of change on Night 4, but you never know what Wilco will cook up. Whatever the band decides to play for its final show of the year — and, gasp, decade — I’m sure it will be entertaining. In front of yet another adoring hometown crowd at the good ol’ Chicago Theatre, what could really go wrong? For now, here was the complete setlist as played for Winterlude Night 3 (there were, once again, no changes from the printed list): Bright LeavesBefore UsI Am Trying To Break Your HeartKameraHandshake DrugsSide With The SeedsOne and a Half StarsI MightHummingbirdWhite Wooden CrossVia ChicagoHow To Fight LonelinessBull Black NovaRandom Name GeneratorRadio Cure (w/Sharon Van Etten on backing vocals)Impossible GermanyJesus, etc.We Were LuckyLove Is Everywhere (Beware)Box Full Of LettersEveryone HidesDawned On MeI'm The Man Who Loves YouHold Me AnywayThe Late Greats----------------------------------California Stars (w/Sima Cunningham and Liam Kazar on vocals)Outtasite (Outta Mind)Happy Xmas (War Is Over) [John Lennon and Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band] (w/Sharon Van Etten, Sima Cunningham and Liam Kazar on backing vocals and percussion Quote Link to post Share on other sites
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