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Wilco — 12 October 2021, Seattle, WA (Paramount Theatre) [Night 1 of 2]


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On the night that Seattle's brand-new NHL franchise, the Kraken, played their first regular-season game — albeit on the road in Las Vegas — I hope they got a considerably more enthusiastic response than Wilco received on the first of two nights back at the venerable Paramount Theatre. I don't know if it's because it was a sleepy Tuesday night or if it's just a local thing, but it was eye-opening to me that during a Red-Eyed And Blue>I Got You>Outtasite encore, practically the entire pit section that I could see just stood there seemingly as if they had never seen a rock concert before — no pogoing, very little head bobbing, minimal movement. :glare [Edit: I was informed that three guys out of my sightline were apparently living it up during the rock songs, etc., encore, so that was good to hear but my observation of the pit right in front still stands]

 

About halfway through the set, Jeff practically had to ask most people in the pit section and presumably a few rows beyond that to stand up. Not to pat myself on the back at all, but I was fortunate to be in the front row tonight and decided to stand from the start. Unfortunately, only one other guy joined me as I could see in my peripheral vision. So if you can imagine, I was in the awkward position of being literally right in front of Jeff — the closest audience member to him in the room — and being one of only a few people standing up. It was a weird feeling.

 

"We're gonna try to get some of these people to stand up," Jeff said to no one in particular before starting Everyone Hides. "I'm not gonna beg, though. I don't have it in me." A bit later, he added, "Stretch your legs...it feels good," while doing one of his goofy-looking side-to-side lunges and saying that they would work on getting the balcony to stand up later on.

 

It was a bit of a lost cause by that point, though admittedly I didn’t turn around to look at the majority of the room so maybe it was a little better than I’m giving credit for. But even after another spirited opening set by local legends The Young Fresh Fellows — see below for setlist — and a back half of the main set loaded with crowd pleasers such as Dawned On Me, Hate It Here, Heavy Metal Drummer (which got "The End"-style intro treatment tonight) and I'm The Man Who Loves You, it just didn't seem like many of the attendees, at least toward the front, were willing and/or able to give back the same energy the band was putting out. Alas. Even though Jeff graciously mentioned the encore applause when he and his bandmates retook the stage, acknowledging in part that it was "a real encore with clapping and everything," it wasn't especially amazing in the estimation of this correspondent.

 

Worth mentioning here is that apparently the band's production suffered a projector failure of some sort that resulted in subtle and not-so-subtle changes to the full-on, capital-s Wilco "show," including the absence of the so-called soapsuds video that typically entertains the crowd during the encore break. Basically all of the abstract art projections that play on a big video screen behind the band throughout the show were affected, some more noticeably than others. For example, the creepy, reddish-tinted images of sludge oozing that usually play during Bull Black Nova were considerably dimmer and more muted, though still present. Projections for some other songs were even more limited.

 

Banter Corner was relatively traffic-free tonight, though I admit to not feeling able to fully scrawl my usual notes on account of my proximity to the stage and being one of the only standers (again, it was an awkward spot). Aside from offering congratulations on the Kraken, Jeff had a good one-liner following the intense Bull Black Nova — which, incidentally, I was glad to hear if only because I knew for sure there was at least one person in the audience guaranteed to be more enthusiastic during that one than me — and before Ode To Joy standout Love Is Everywhere (Beware): "Well, this song is much more agreeable." Also, Jeff had a little fun with an audience member who he thought yelled out, "Hello, Wilco!" (I think he actually said, "Come on, Wilco!") about halfway through the set. "Uh, we've been here an hour already," Jeff quipped, and continued giving him a gentle bit of what-for. :lol

 

Before Hate It Here, Jeff also had a little bit about seeing his shadow occasionally and being slightly consumed with a feeling that he had "hat head," even though he wasn't — and hasn't been — wearing a hat. I forget where that hat head banter went, if anywhere. He did, however, pat himself on the back for once again successfully changing the lyric in Hummingbird from "...the great southwest" to "...the Pacific Northwest," turning to his bandmates afterward and saying off-mike, "Nailed it."

 

Here's hoping that for the band's final performance in the aforementioned Pacific Northwest on Night 2 in Seattle, that we'll finally get that long-hoped for collaboration with the Young Fresh Fellows — and given the lack of California Stars in tonight's setlist, I would be surprised if that doesn't get performed with the Fellows during their final night of touring together, although I sort of wish it would be a different song that they did together — and a more enthusiastic audience. We shall see what happens in a few hours, but certainly when it comes to the crowd up front, it wouldn't take much to improve on the energy of Night 1.

 

And hey, if worse comes to absolute worse, at least I now know of a fun little tiki bar close by where I can go get a ridiculous tropical drink to cheer me up...:shibby

 

Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 1 in Seattle (I glanced at a printed setlist and it doesn't appear there were any changes or omissions):

 

Bright Leaves

A Shot In The Arm

Random Name Generator

Side With The Seeds

One And A Half Stars

War On War

One Wing

If I Ever Was A Child

Via Chicago

Bull Black Nova

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

Impossible Germany

Hummingbird

Box Full Of Letters

Everyone Hides

Dawned On Me

Jesus, etc.

Hate It Here

Heavy Metal Drummer>

I'm The Man Who Loves You

Poor Places>

Reservations

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

Red-Eyed And Blue>

I Got You (At The End Of The Century)>

Outtasite (Outta Mind)

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And for those who care, here was the complete setlist for the Young Fresh Fellows' penultimate set as the support act for this run of shows:

 

I Wish I Was Your Mother [Mott The Hoople]

Suck Machine Crater

Hillbilly Drummer Girl

Becky Doll

Gear Summer 2013

If You Believe In Cleveland

Taco Wagon>

Picture Book [The Kinks]

My Friend Ringo

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9 hours ago, bböp said:

And for those who care, here was the completel setlist for the Young Fresh Fellows' penultimate set as the support act for this run of shows:

 

I Wish I Was Your Mother [Mott The Hoople]

Suck Machine Crater

Hillbilly Drummer Girl

Becky Doll

Gear Summer 2013

If You Believe In Cleveland

Taco Wagon>

Picture Book [The Kinks]

My Friend Ringo

I would love if they played "Amy Grant". That song always makes me laugh. I go back a real long way with YFF. Scott used to live in my neighborhood. Portland now. Makes me happy that he has come back from his stroke. I have experience with that in my family & it can be tough or impossible road  back. My grandpa had a bad one but lived. Basicallly had to learn everything again. His speech never came all the way back & it was very frustrating for him. He eventually died from another one. My mom had a series of bad ones in a short time & didn't make it so its a very personal issue for me. Mom wasn't very old when she passed. It will be 30 years since she died next year, so I was only 31 when she passed. She was in her early 50s.

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Was sitting just under the lip of the balcony for this one. The crowd did stand up when Jeff mentioned it. I was surprised at the amount of sitters prior to that moment. The one moment of chatter interruptus came by a giggler during reservations. Which after the near silence of the crowd in Bellingham during that lovely song, really ticked me off. I love concerts in small towns for this reason. People generally are there to see the music…not be seen. 

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