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Wilco — 17 September 2021, Ashwaubenon, WI (Capital Credit Union Park)

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With apologies to Bob Seger, who of course once sang about that old time rock 'n' roll soothing his soul, sometimes having good friends with you (not to mention a perfect spot to stand), an intimate venue (well, as intimate as a small baseball stadium can be), a good sound system (or at least a monitor pointed right at you) and pleasantly cool (but not at all cold) conditions doesn't hurt either.


Such was the case for me personally tonight at the somewhat generically named Capital Credit Union Park on the outskirts of Green Bay, Wis., home of the much-less generically named Green Bay Booyah! — a college summer-league baseball team that would provide a great deal of banter fodder throughout the course of the evening. And before anyone says something about cultural appropriation or whatever, as I learned when I was today years old, booyah is apparently a traditional type of soup or stew native to the upper Midwest (seriously, go look it up!). I don't exactly know how you visually depict a stew as part of a team logo, but I guess the double entendre nature of the word as an exclamation also works to the team's benefit in this case.


I'm sure I'll miss at least once instance of Jeff's repeated visits to Booyah Corner here, but I know when he first mentioned it, he complimented the sheer audacity of naming of a team after a soup ("I can respect that!") Then he mentioned it again a couple songs later ("OK, that's the last time I'll say it." Which was a lie!). And then he changed the phrasing in Forget The Flowers from ("I can't ever explain why/I don't feel your pain...boo hoo hoo" to "boo yah yah.") B)


Booyahs aside, though, this was just a fun show. After nearly six weeks of outdoor shows in some of the most adverse weather conditions possible, Jeff and his bandmates and crew (and fans) deserved a cool, dry place for once, and that just seemed to put everyone in a beautiful mood. Jeff and Nels rekindled their guitarist bromance from the night before during Random Name Generator when Jeff went over and played side-by-side with Nels during the breakdown and then they even successfully completed the back-to-back move that hadn't gone quite as well the night before. During Hummingbird, Jeff went over and gave Nels a brief shoulder rub during his solo. Glenn was smiley and singing along, and Mike and Nels were both being goofy with each other on their side of the stage when the moment allowed. And we got maybe the longest "The End"-style prelude to Heavy Metal Drummer yet, with all of the band members really getting into it and Jeff really accentuating his vocal delivery to conjure the ghost of Jim Morrison.


In surveying the crowd during the second half of the set, Jeff couldn't help but take in the scene before him. "Everyone looks so fantastic," he said, noting a group of people hugging to his left, joking that the people to his right were doing things he didn't want to see and even spotting some people he said he knew. "Really foxy, everyone." The other visit to Banter Corner that I noted came before Via Chicago when Jeff asked the crowd, "Is everyone having a good time? Let's see what we can do about that."


Just the simple fact of not having quite as strict a curfew gave the show a bit more of a leisurely pace to it, and both Wilco and Trampled By Turtles responded with relatively stretched-out sets — Wilco came on a few minutes early and played nearly a full two hours — capped by the expected California Stars collaboration on which the TBTs seemed a bit more prepared than the night before in Des Moines. Dave Simonett, Trampled By Turtles' lead singer, even took lead vocals on a verse and some of his bandmates offered backing harmonies along with the requisite instrumental soloing.


From a setlist standpoint, we didn't get anything completely out of the ordinary but songs such as Side With The Seeds, One And A Half Stars and Forget The Flowers were solid additions afforded by the additional length of the set. The unsettling Bull Black Nova made another appearance even without any prompting from our resident monomaniacal sign displayer. And Outtasite (Outta Mind) on this night took on a bit more personal resonance; it would have been a perfectly fine show closer if there hadn't been time for California Stars.


So I guess that's pretty much the report from Ashwaubenon, er, Green Bay (I won't even mention how close this show was to Lambeau Field.) Despite being enemy territory for this Chicago sports fan, it was nevertheless great to see some of Wisconsin's most notable Wilco fans — this being one of the rare performances by the band in the state outside of Madison and Milwaukee — at the show. They certainly know how to have a pleasant evening up here, I'll say that much. :cheers


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


A Shot In The Arm

Random Name Generator

Side With The Seeds

One And A Half Stars

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart>

Art Of Almost

If I Ever Was A Child

Impossible Germany


Everyone Hides

Box Full Of Letters

Via Chicago

Bull Black Nova

Forget The Flowers

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

Dawned On Me

Jesus, etc.


I'm The Man Who Loves You

Heavy Metal Drummer

I'm Always In Love


The Late Greats

Outtasite (Outta Mind)

California Stars (w/Trampled By Turtles full band on vocals, backing vocals and instruments)

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Agreed: lovely evening, delightful show. I took a friend for his first Wilco show and he was suitably impressed. He’s into musicals, done a little performing, etc. and was enthralled by the theatrical nature of Via Chicago: a murderous narrator remaining calm while the music/lights reveal his disintegrating mind. Not really news to anyone, but kind of cool to see an old favorite through new eyes.

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2 hours ago, bböp said:

 The unsettling Bull Black Nova made another appearance ....

Nice to hear it's settling in to the setlist... here's hoping it can make the long drive out west next month.


And "unsettling"?  I suppose.  And right on the heels of Via Chicago, it's certainly a double dose of vivid imagery. 

One of my theories on the song is that it's the answer to the question "What if the 'dream' last night in Via Chicago wasn't really a dream after all?", which is why it's often played right after VC. 

But it's not like it's a murder ballad or anything. 

Oh, wait.  Never mind. 

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As always, it was a pleasure to see you, too! Perhaps worth noting is how the crowd seemed to have a relatively even mix of Wilco diehards and Trampled by Turtles devotees, unlike the Sleater-Kinney/Wilco shows, which were heavily lopsided in Wilco's favor. Both fanbases, though, seemed ready to groove equally along with both bands (if only American life were always so harmonious and generous of spirit). The weather was a gift. Earlier forecasts predicted afternoon thunderstorms and scattered rain into the evening, but the climate gods waved away all the storms, perhaps because "Via Chicago" and "Bull Black Nova" were going to provide squalls enough for one city. I agree about the setlist being perfectly sturdy without being startling; the inclusion of "One and a Half Stars," one of my favorite OTJ tracks, made me happy. (Stacy had half hoped that Jeff might work in something from the "Ted Lasso" theme at some point... it was, after all, the same day as the episode's premiere!)

One other thing: Stacy and I love that Jeff has reintroduced his old dancing jig for "Hummingbird."

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5 hours ago, thinmyheart said:

I took a friend for his first Wilco show and he was suitably impressed. 


Fantastic! At the show, I ran into a former work colleague and we ended up standing together. Despite being obsessed with Wilco, he is a recent convert (for which I'm claiming credit!) and Friday was his first time seeing Wilco live. He, too, was knocked out by the "Via Chicago" presentation.

"Do they always play it that way live,?" he asked, with a thrill in his voice. "This is epic."

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I had to create a new account to crack into this place! It's been so long...


Friday night's show was special for a lot of reasons. Even though it wasn't my first live Wilco show since Covid (I saw them the week before at Summerfest), it was my first time back on the rail and alongside some of my favorite people since before Covid. I jumped and screamed and sang and definitely smiled all night. Like bbop said, it was pure fun all night. Nels seemed especially chipper, throwing in a little kick during....a song...haha....when the beat dropped. There was one other Nels antic, and Mikael seemed to enjoy witnessing them as much as the rest of us.


Oh, Wilco. You're the best.

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