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Wilco — 13 August 2021, Maryland Heights, MO (Saint Louis Music Park)


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Would it be sacrilege to say I thought the opening sets by Nnamdi (although just 20 minutes long) and Sleater-Kinney were both excellent and the headlining set by Wilco was just pretty good? OK, I won't go there and maybe it was just the contact high hitting me harder than usual, but I can't deny that the thought didn't occur to me at least once over the course of the 90 minutes Jeff and his bandmates were on stage before they were forced to end their set somewhat abruptly because of an apparent 11 p.m. curfew.

 

"We're running out of time," Jeff announced to the crowd at the 4,500-capacity Saint Louis Music Park before the final song of the main set, I'm Always In Love. "We'll be back. We always come back. Wilco's like a bad penny." (Note to Wilco management: Maybe that should be the next T-shirt design. Also, on a personal note, maybe don't have the band play venues where they won't let you bring in an empty poster tube to protect the poster that you wanted to GIVE THEM MONEY FOR. So stupid. I guess it's a Live Nation venue, so you know there's gonna be plenty of inane rules, inflexible protocols and overpriced concessions.)

 

At any rate, the SLMP is a pretty new concrete pavilion/amphitheater with several sections of floor seating and, behind that, a large bleacher-like structure with more tiered seating that is located a stone's throw from the Hollywood Casino and adjoins a large ice rink that is apparently the practice facility for the St. Louis Blues hockey team. Apparently it's so new that Jeff mentioned that he looked it up on Google Maps to see where it was situated and the picture was still of a construction site. It's also located a good distance northwest of downtown St. Louis, which sort of led to a running joke throughout the show when Jeff mentioned on several occasions that he "grew up here, or about 18 miles from here" (or some variation of that).

 

Much of Jeff's banter over the course of the show focused on his local roots. "I grew up near here," Jeff quipped at one point. "Even if I can't remember it, I know it's true." After mentioning that he had written Box Full Of Letters in town, he asked John if he remembered practicing the song in Maplewood for the first time. And regarding the increasingly strong cannabis odor that developed as the evening went on, Jeff said he knew that the marijuana situation had changed since he was younger but "it smells like I'm at the Checkerdome. It feels like I'm at a Triumph concert." I'm sure that particular comment conjured up some distinct memories — or lack thereof — for St. Louisians of a certain age.

 

One of the highlights of Wilco's set, for me at least, occurred when the band came back for a quick one-song encore. "We can't leave without playing my dad's favorite song," Jeff said, dedicating Casino Queen to his late father Bob. According to Wilcoworld records, three of the last four times the band has played the song live have come in St. Louis and there probably haven't been too many St. Louis shows it has ever played when it hasn't been performed.

 

For me, the other highlight of Wilco's set was another blistering Art Of Almost. Maybe it's just because it kind of disappeared from the setlist for a while, but I feel like since it has come back during this tour that it has some extra energy, some added juice, especially during Nels' outburst toward the end of the song as it erupts into controlled chaos. Along with his usual creativity during songs such as Impossible Germany, Side With The Seeds and Either Way, it caused Jeff to remark at one point, alluding to a plaid or checkerboard Western-style shirt that Nels doesn't often wear, "Nels is on fire tonight. It's the cowboy shirt."

 

So why would I suggest that maybe I enjoyed the opening sets a tad more than Wilco's tonight? I suppose part of it has to do with Wilco's set sort of following its usual arc for the most part. The middle-to-back half of the set, in particular, just sort of feels a bit inevitable at this point. Is that because I've seen too many Wilco shows? Probably. But you can't tell me that substituting out Box Full Of Letters, Jesus, etc., or I'm The Man Who Loves You for something else every once in a while wouldn't freshen things up a bit for everyone, band included.

 

More than just setlist quibbles, though, I also felt like both Nnamdi and Sleater-Kinney got the crowd involved by encouraging people to come dance in the aisles and urging folks to clap and/or sing along. (S-K also keep adding different songs to their set as the tour goes on, which I didn't necessarily expect either.). By contrast, the Wilco audience — despite standing up from the get-go — didn't seem super energetic. I'm only judging by what I could see in front of me, and I was about 15 rows back in the middle, but it didn't seem like many people were bobbing their heads or moving much at all — even during Casino Queen. The guy next to me asked me what song Art Of Almost was — "you seem like a fan, bro," he told me — and seemed pretty concerned with sparking his joint, while the couple in front of me was respectful enough but seemed kind of bored and wound up leaving early.

 

Could it have been too much weed in the air? Maybe. But when did Wilco become a total stoner band? Maybe just in good ol' St. Louis. I don't know. Am I just lame? Probably. #JustSaying #NoOffense

 

Here was Wilco's complete setlist, as played (didn't get a look at a printed setlist, so can't say if there any changes/omissions):

 

A Shot In The Arm

Random Name Generator

At Least That's What You Said

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart>

Art Of Almost

If I Ever Was A Child

Impossible Germany

Box Full Of Letters

Side With The Seeds

Either Way

Everyone Hides

Dawned On Me

Jesus, etc.

Theologians

I'm The Man Who Loves You

Heavy Metal Drummer

I'm Always In Love

---------------------------------------------

Casino Queen

 

And Sleater-Kinney's complete setlist, as played, was as follows (for the couple of people on here who might care):

High In The Grass

Hurry On Home

Price Tag

A New Wave

Shadow Town

Can I Go On

Jumpers

Down The Line

The Fox

Complex Female Characters

Bury Our Friends

Bring Mercy

Worry With You

One More Hour

Tomorrow's Grave

Modern Girl

One Beat>

Entertain

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2 hours ago, bböp said:

Would it be sacrilege to say I thought the opening sets by Nnamdi (although just 20 minutes long) and Sleater-Kinney were both excellent and the headlining set by Wilco was just pretty good? OK, I won't go there and maybe it was just the contact high hitting me harder than usual, but I can't deny that the thought didn't occur to me at least once over the course of the 90 minutes Jeff and his bandmates were on stage before they were forced to end their set somewhat abruptly because of an apparent 11 p.m. curfew.

 

"We're running out of time," Jeff announced to the crowd at the 4,500-capacity Saint Louis Music Park before the final song of the main set, I'm Always In Love. "We'll be back. We always come back. Wilco's like a bad penny." (Note to Wilco management: Maybe that should be the next T-shirt design. Also, on a personal note, maybe don't have the band play venues where they won't let you bring in an empty poster tube to protect the poster that you wanted to give money for. So stupid. I guess it's a Live Nation venue, so you know there's gonna be plenty of inane rules, inflexible protocols and overpriced concessions.)

 

At any rate, the SLMP is a pretty new concrete pavilion/amphitheater with several sections of floor seating and, behind that, a large bleacher-like structure with more tiered seating that is located a stone's throw from the Hollywood Casino and adjoins a large ice rink that is apparently the practice facility for the St. Louis Blues hockey team. Apparently it's so new that Jeff mentioned that he looked it up on Google Maps to see where it was situated and the picture was still of a construction site. It's also located a good distance northwest of downtown St. Louis, which sort of led to a running joke throughout the show when Jeff mentioned on several occasions that he "grew up here, or about 18 miles from here" (or some variation of that).

 

Much of Jeff's banter over the course of the show focused on his local roots. "I grew up near here," Jeff quipped at one point. "Even if I can't remember it, I know it's true." After mentioning that he had written Box Full Of Letters in town, he asked John if he remembered practicing the song in Maplewood for the first time. And regarding the increasingly strong cannabis odor that developed as the evening went on, Jeff said he knew that the marijuana situation had changed since he was younger but "it smells like I'm at the Checkerdome. It feels like I'm at a Triumph concert." I'm sure that particular comment conjured up some distinct memories — or lack thereof — for St. Louisians of a certain age.

 

One of the highlights of Wilco's set, for me at least, occurred when the band came back for a quick one-song encore. "We can't leave without playing my dad's favorite song," Jeff said, dedicating Casino Queen to his late father Bob. According to Wilcoworld records, three of the last four times the band has played the song live have come in St. Louis and there probably haven't been too many St. Louis shows it has ever played when it hasn't been performed.

 

For me, the other highlight of Wilco's set was another blistering Art Of Almost. Maybe it's just because it kind of disappeared from the setlist for a while, but I feel like since it has come back during this tour that it has some extra energy, some added juice, especially during Nels' outburst toward the end of the song as it erupts into controlled chaos. Along with his usual creativity during songs such as Impossible Germany, Side With The Seeds and Either Way, it caused Jeff to remark at one point, alluding to a plaid or checkerboard Western-style shirt that Nels doesn't often wear, "Nels is on fire tonight. It's the cowboy shirt."

 

So why would I suggest that maybe I enjoyed the opening sets a tad more than Wilco's tonight? I suppose part of it has to do with Wilco's set sort of following its usual arc for the most part. The middle-to-back half of the set, in particular, just sort of feels a bit inevitable at this point. Is that because I've seen too many Wilco shows? Probably. But you can't tell me that substituting out Box Full Of Letters, Jesus, etc., or I'm The Man Who Loves You for something else every once in a while wouldn't freshen things up a bit for everyone, band included.

 

More than just setlist quibbles, though, I also felt like both Nnamdi and Sleater-Kinney got the crowd involved by encouraging people to come dance in the aisles and urging folks to clap and/or sing along. (S-K also keep adding different songs to their set as the tour goes on, which I didn't necessarily expect either.). By contrast, the Wilco audience — despite standing up from the get-go — didn't seem super energetic. I'm only judging by what I could see in front of me, and I was about 15 rows back in the middle, but it didn't seem like many people were bobbing their heads or moving much at all — even during Casino Queen. The guy next to me asked me what song Art Of Almost was — "you seem like a fan, bro," he told me — and seemed pretty concerned with sparking his joint, while the couple in front of me was respectful enough but seemed kind of bored and wound up leaving early.

 

Could it have been too much weed in the air? Maybe. But when did Wilco become a total stoner band? Maybe just in good ol' St. Louis. I don't know. Am I just lame? Probably. #JustSaying #NoOffense

 

Here was Wilco's complete setlist, as played (didn't get a look at a printed setlist, so can't say if there any changes/omissions):

 

A Shot In The Arm

Random Name Generator

At Least That's What You Said

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart>

Art Of Almost

If I Ever Was A Child

Impossible Germany

Box Full Of Letters

Side With The Seeds

Either Way

Everyone Hides

Dawned On Me

Jesus, etc.

Theologians

I'm The Man Who Loves You

Heavy Metal Drummer

I'm Always In Love

---------------------------------------------

Casino Queen

 

And Sleater-Kinney's complete setlist, as played, was as follows (for the couple of people on here who might care):

High In The Grass

Hurry On Home

Price Tag

A New Wave

Shadow Town

Can I Go On

Jumpers

Down The Line

The Fox

Complex Female Characters

Bury Our Friends

Bring Mercy

Worry With You

One More Hour

Tomorrow's Grave

Modern Girl

One Beat>

Entertain

 

I can smell this review. Thanks for the great recap, as always.

 

I was sorta hoping their limited time allotment on this tour might spark the same setlist creativity that we saw on Americanarama, but I guess as headliners they feel obligated to stick to the favorites. I'm really looking forward to catching the tour at Merriweather Post next week.

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Thank you again for the recap!

 

I’m happy with how the setlists have been. There have been 5 shows and 5 unique setlists to my eyes. It looks like last night the order was shuffled around to keep you on your toes. Plus, who would’ve guessed that they’d be playing those songs from Sky Blue Sky again. The representation from that album has been so prominent I was thinking that it was the 15th anniversary already. 

 

I did see a printed setlist over at the other place and 2 songs were dropped: What Light was sandwiched between I’m The Man Who Loves You and Heavy Metal Drummer. California Stars was the last song on there. 

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1 hour ago, u2roolz said:

Thank you again for the recap!

 

I’m happy with how the setlists have been. There have been 5 shows and 5 unique setlists to my eyes. It looks like last night the order was shuffled around to keep you on your toes. Plus, who would’ve guessed that they’d be playing those songs from Sky Blue Sky again. The representation from that album has been so prominent I was thinking that it was the 15th anniversary already. 

 

I did see a printed setlist over at the other place and 2 songs were dropped: What Light was sandwiched between I’m The Man Who Loves You and Heavy Metal Drummer. California Stars was the last song on there. 


Ok, thanks for the info from that other place which shall not be named. But you really think there have been five unique setlists? I don’t think swapping around the order a bit really counts, although obviously with time constraints and stuff, things get often chopped up from what Jeff’s original plan is anyway.

 

Honestly, I think Box is only played every show because it gives Pat a moment in the spotlight. And that they really could do without Jesus/Man or even God forbid, Impossible — gasp! — every once in a while. I understand it’s appealing to the largest portion of the fanbase, but I bet the rest of the band wouldn’t mind playing something else occasionally. Just my two cents. #BadPennies

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31 minutes ago, bböp said:


Ok, thanks for the info from that other place which shall not be named. But you really think there have been five unique setlists? I don’t think swapping around the order a bit really counts, although obviously with time constraints and stuff, things get often chopped up from what Jeff’s original plan is anyway.

If they kept the same exact setlist from Spokane, then I would say that you’re right. The way that I see it is that they’ve been adding and dropping songs at every show which to me makes it unique, even if there are a lot of songs that have been played at every show so far. It’s not anywhere on the same level as say Solid Sound, Sky Blue Sky or the Winterlude shows, but it’s pretty good. 

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1 hour ago, u2roolz said:

If they kept the same exact setlist from Spokane, then I would say that you’re right. The way that I see it is that they’ve been adding and dropping songs at every show which to me makes it unique, even if there are a lot of songs that have been played at every show so far. It’s not anywhere on the same level as say Solid Sound, Sky Blue Sky or the Winterlude shows, but it’s pretty good. 


I’m nitpicking, of course. Heck, I’d even settle for a drastic order shakeup at this point. Not saying I’m issuing a challenge to Jeff, but at this point if they opened with, say, I’m The Man Who Loves You, I would probably lose my shit. (Just don’t do it before I return for the rest of the tour next week in Richmond! :lol )

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Bbop, stellar recaps on this run as always- you’ve got such a knack for putting us there when we can’t be. Rest assured, you still have a loyal readership, even when we only post sporadically. Thanks for all your hard work. 😁

 

Glad you got a rocking Casino Queen- the encore from Solid Sound ‘17 (when it was sandwiched between Hate it Here and Hoodoo Voodoo) remains one of my all-time favorite show cappers.

 

I’m mighty excited to see the Boston gig next week, and so itching to see the band again that I don’t think I’ll mind much if it’s still a greatest-hits-ish setlist with some nightly variation. I’m glad to see Art of Almost back in regular rotation; it’s always been a proper facemelter live. Ashes too- I love IG as much as the next obsessive but feel like there’s so many underappreciated Nels solos on that song over the years.

 

Still, I wouldn’t mind a surprise rarity or two (ahem- Shake It Off? I’m looking in your direction... 😎). 

 

 

 

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I'm sure I'll enjoy Portland ME next week, but I share a little disappointment with the setlist. I want Spiders, dammit! Didn't get it at Solid Sound or on the Boston Ode to Joy show that followed.

 

I always want to see Handshake Drugs and Via Chicago too ... but perhaps those of you who see more than one or two shows a year feel differently.

 

90 minutes though, and they've gotta hit the YHF "hits" to keep people happy, so what can ya do.

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On 8/16/2021 at 6:58 AM, Lukestar said:

Stop the presses....THIS should be the new t-shirt design!

 

Per usual, great re-cap bböp.

 

I would sign up for one of those shirts! :lol

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