bböp Posted December 20, 2019 Share Posted December 20, 2019 You know, I honestly had forgotten that this fourth and final show of Winterlude 2019 was being aired live on WXRT (and live-streamed via the Radio.com app) until Jeff mentioned it about two thirds of the way through Wilco’s set. "Oh yeah, we’re on the radio right now everybody," Jeff said as Nels was being handed the gaudy, double-neck white guitar he uses on Dawned On Me. "And (the radio audience) can’t see that thing, which is a good thing." So I was trying to think of what else noteworthy I could describe that might have been lost on those listening in at home, and I came up with two of my personal favorite moments from an evening that had more than a few of them. The first was just the look on Jeff’s face — or was it mine? — as he started clapping while Glenn rattled off that familiar beat at the start of Monday. And then when he stepped to the mike and started, “One, two…” I really think we might have locked eyes for a split second there. Not really, but that glorious count-in was finally back! If you don’t recall, the band was playing the song somewhat regularly in the fall of 2017 — just before the hiatus — but sans count-in, much to my dismay. It just didn’t feel right. So it was a genuine thrill to hear it again, as was the "son of a..." segue into Outtasite (Outta Mind). (I know Monday was performed as part of the karaoke set at Solid Sound this year, but I can’t remember if the singer of that one did the count-in and I’m not counting that anyway because that was its own thing.) And the second moment was when Jeff momentarily halted his guitar riffing at the start of I’m The Man Who Loves You and went over to the drum set, where Glenn was hammering away at this little chime thing that was screwed onto one of his cymbal stands. Jeff shook his head as if to say, "That’s not gonna cut it tonight," and then actually unscrewed it and tossed it on the ground with mock disgust. At that point, Glenn understood that only standing up on his drum stool would suffice and he finally complied, which of course delighted the crowd. It was probably also difficult to glean from the radio broadcast the bonhomie between the band and the special guests who joined them on stage during the encore. It really was an extended family affair. First, there was James Elkington who made an electric guitar cameo on California Stars. Then for the finale cover of Happy Xmas (War Is Over), an eight-piece choir emerged led by support act Sharon Van Etten and also including background singers Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart of Ohmme, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso and Spencer Tweedy, Casey Gomez Walker and Liam Kazar. In between those two songs in the encore came the surprise (and welcome) return of Spiders (Kidsmoke), which hadn’t been played live by the full band since the penultimate show before the hiatus. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but still was nice to hear again, even though it seemed like most of the crowd didn’t know — or had forgotten about — the "singing riff" part before the final breakdown. Overall, I wouldn’t say that the audience was tremendous — at least around me. It was better than usual at the Chicago Theatre, but I can’t understand how so many people can just stand there completely stone still during songs like Spiders or Monday. I just decided I was going to go for it and rock out in my own little square foot of space, and I’m sure others did as well, but when I looked around, it didn’t seem like there were too many of us. To each their own, I guess, but I personally was glad to have broken a little sweat for once at that venue. In one of the relatively few visits to Banter Corner Jeff paid over the course of the show, he said early on that "these are all the songs that we know how to play the best. Most of them we’ve been playing for a decade, or more." That’s not true of the songs off Ode To Joy, obviously, and it’s puzzling why they still haven’t gotten around to playing Quiet Amplifier as a band yet. Nor did they perform album closer An Empty Corner on any of the four nights of Winterlude (though they did play it at the Songkick popup). At this final Chicago show, even setlist staple White Wooden Cross got omitted. And yet we once again got I Might, which I mentioned in a previous Winterlude recap, the band only started playing again fairly recently. Not that I was unhappy to hear it again. With Jeff back to an electric guitar and Pat stepping out front to complete the three-guitar attack, the Whole Love tune gave an early jolt of energy to the show. "This is our last show of the decade," Jeff noted during his first comments of the night. "We’re gonna go out on a good note." And then, as he waved goodbye one final time, he said, "We’ll see you in the next decade. Take care of each other, show up for your neighbors…everything's gonna be fine." While nothing is ever promised, the fact that Wilco is still together after all these years, still enjoying each other’s company, making interesting music as a group and looking toward the future, certainly gives me some degree of hopefulness. Even more than assessing and rating this specific group of shows, that continuity, I think, is a bigger picture worth remembering and admiring. So, with that said, onto the 2020s… Here was the complete setlist, as played, for the fourth and final night of Winterlude 2019 (once again, there were no changes from the printed list): Bright LeavesBefore UsI Am Trying To Break Your HeartWar On WarHandshake DrugsAt Least That's What You SaidOne and a Half StarsI MightHummingbirdVia ChicagoBull Black NovaRandom Name GeneratorReservationsImpossible GermanyJesus, etc.We Were LuckyLove Is Everywhere (Beware)Box Full Of LettersEveryone HidesDawned On MeMonday>Outtasite (Outta Mind)I'm The Man Who Loves YouHold Me AnywayMisunderstood----------------------------------California Stars (w/James Elkington on electric guitar)Spiders (Kidsmoke) (electric arrangement)Happy Xmas (War Is Over) [John Lennon and Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band] (w/Sharon Van Etten on vocals, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso, Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart of Ohmme, Casey Gomez Walker, Spencer Tweedy and Liam Kazar on backing vocals and percussion) Quote Link to post Share on other sites
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