bböp Posted October 11, 2021 Share Posted October 11, 2021 In retrospect, it was probably a sign that this wouldn't be the most perfectly performed set Wilco has ever done when Jeff flubbed the first verse of How To Fight Loneliness about 30 minutes after taking the stage and had to take it from the top. Getting a little distracted happens over the span of a tour of course — especially after five shows in six days with an off day looming — and I'm certainly not one to cast aspersions on anyone, not when I've totally slacked on writing this recap due to enjoying the lovely weather and scenery in the Bellingham area. But objectively speaking, there were probably a few moments during this show on which Jeff might take a mulligan if he could. (Or maybe he wouldn't, since nobody seemed to mind and some probably welcome the imperfections!) In any case, this final show of the trifecta of Pacific Northwest gigs that got added when this leg of the Ode To Joy tour got rescheduled/reconfigured was the band's first time playing in Bellingham, I believe, and once again drew a relatively enthusiastic crowd. The Mount Baker Theatre is a historic 1920s venue with orchestra seating and a balcony set kind of far back from the stage that seats a total of 1,500 or so. I don't know if it was completely sold out, but at least on the pretty full main floor, most people seemed to be standing throughout — though I believe there was a certain resident monomaniac and front-row denizen who took a seat, ahem, during Jesus, etc. For his part Jeff acknowledged being in Bellingham, complimenting the audience on its looks and joking that he hadn't just said hello so that people would know that he knew where he was. A bit later, Jeff said, "We're so glad we're finally here. Thank you for holding onto those tickets and taking care of each other. Thank you so much." (Of course this show wasn't on the original 2020 schedule, so tickets didn't have to be held onto for all that long...but who's counting?) Of note from a setlist perspective was the somewhat-surprising return to Ode To Joy opener Bright Leaves (though, interestingly, not its usual partner, Before Us). I wonder if that had anything to do with the return of that dark brown acoustic guitar with the rubber bridge that Jeff normally uses on One And A Half Stars but which had been missing until the show in Olympia on Saturday when it came back for that song; previously, Jeff had been using an electric guitar with Great Lakes stickers on that one. Anyway, Bright Leaves was another little reminder of OTJ and how this tour is technically supposed to be in support of that record, even if it hasn't necessarily been so far. Additionally, I'm a big fan of the How To Fight Loneliness/Sunken Treasure/Laminated Cat trifecta that was repeated for the second night in a row and which sets a pretty high bar for the remainder of the set to live up to. I doubt many people in the room realized just how rarely Sunken Treasure has been performed live in recent years — this was just the third time since 2017 — but it has lost none of its vitality and hopefully it stays in the set for at least a little while longer. Laminated Cat, meanwhile, continues to be a great canvas for all of the band members to do their thing, with Glenn's percussion in particular reaching a new level. Also for the second consecutive show, which I inexplicably forgot to mention in my discussion of the Olympia show, Jeff managed to successfully change the lyric in Hummingbird from "the great southwest" to some variant involving the northwest after forgetting to do so a couple times at the start of this run of shows like he had wanted. The previous night in Olympia, he went with "Pacific Northwest," while tonight he went with "the great northwest." In the second half of the set, the shenanigans also started to happen. It started with Forget The Flowers, the ending of which Jeff had given Glenn grief for the previous night for being Green Acres-esque with its double beat. Apparently, they discussed it between that show and this one but still couldn't quite get it down ("The show was flawless up to that point," Jeff quipped.) Then Jeff started to briefly play a few notes from the classic TV series theme while messing around with the rare riff ending to Theologians, which may or may not have caused him to have a brain freeze at the start of the next song, California Stars. With his bandmates all looking to him to start the song, Jeff just sort of stood there for a bit until he realized that they were all waiting for him to begin playing. Jeff gave a sheepish smile and then looked around and joked, "I was just testing you guys. ... Oh banjo, I got it." Banter Corner also got a little busier in the second half of the show. One visit came when Jeff reiterated that he knew wearing a mask during a rock concert was weird, but reminded people that "you've done weirder things" at shows and then shared that "I used to wear a mask at rock concerts, just for the fuck of it," but that instead of covering his nose and mouth, he used the mask he wore to cover his eyes. I don't know about you, but I'd like to hear more about that! There was also kind of a funny interaction after Dawned On Me spurred by an audience member who expressed his opinion about the performance of that song being "really great." Jeff picked up on that, joking "that's the kind of approval we've been waiting for from all of you. Why are the rest of you so withholding?" Jeff's sense of humor may or may not have been lost on most of the crowd, but what is good to see is that there's still a lot of amity between the guys in the band. You don't always see that with a group that's been together as long as this one has, but it's clear that everyone still enjoys playing and performing together so much. Even when there are a few hiccups in a given show, like another small lyrical flub in the encore during Heavy Metal Drummer, there are smiles all around. What else is there, after all, if you can't laugh at yourself a little and have fun doing something with good friends? Here was the complete setlist, as played in Bellingham (didn't see a printed setlist, so can't say if there were any changes/omissions but it seemed like there was a song cut at the start of the encore): Bright Leaves A Shot In The Arm Random Name Generator At Least That's What You Said One And A Half Stars I Am Trying To Break Your Heart> Art Of Almost How To Fight Loneliness Sunken Treasure Laminated Cat (aka Not For The Season) If I Ever Was A Child Impossible Germany Love Is Everywhere (Beware) Forget The Flowers [*edit: corrected!] Hummingbird Everyone Hides Dawned On Me Jesus, etc. Theologians California Stars Poor Places> Reservations ----------------------------------------------- The Late Greats Heavy Metal Drummer> I'm The Man Who Loves You 2 1 Quote Link to post Share on other sites
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.