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Wilco — 16 October 2021, San José, CA (San José Civic)

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[Another day, another thread parked, another Tatlock left twisting in the wind...;) ]


Well, there is apparently plenty to do in San José on a Saturday night — especially during hockey season, when the hometown Sharks are opening their season at home — but for those folks who decided to spend their evening with Wilco (and opening act Faye Webster) at the San José Civic, the headliners made it worthwhile to catch their show, whether it had been one day or many years since you had last seen them play. Or, indeed, even if you had never seen them perform live before, which I know was the case for at least one young fan in attendance.


Jeff and Co. had actually played the Civic once before, nearly a full decade ago, but back then it was a (mostly) general admission standing situation on the main floor as opposed to tonight's nearly all-reserved seating setup. It's a room with wooden floors, a "framed" stage and horseshoe-shaped balcony that would probably call to mind any number of similar rooms around the country that host things like high-school or small-college graduations. And indeed, my friend — a San José native — said she was almost certain at least one of her cousins had her high-school graduation there.


As you might expect in a room that wasn't built for rock concerts — or performing arts of any kind, I guess — the acoustics left a bit to be desired, at least to this correspondent's admittedly untrained ears. I'm not exactly sure what it was, but from our actual seats in the sixth or seventh row, it kind of sounded to me like the band had a blanket over it or something. Some people later told me that they moved up to the balcony and it sounded better, but I think the PA system in the Civic definitely had some limitations.


Anyway, between that semi-muted sound and a group of people in the front-and-center section that didn't seem inclined to stand at all, except to applaud after a song, it seemed like it might be a pretty mellow night. Which would be pretty understandable, given an outdoor, almost festival-like GA show in Napa the previous evening — to the band's credit, by the way, it changed up nearly half the set (11 songs out of 25) from the Napa show, which it didn't really have to do — and two indoor GA shows coming up in Oakland the next two days. My only gripe with San José was that it initially seemed like it would be a stand-up/sit-down kind of thing where people were up and down based on the tempo of a song, which is a pet peeve of mine. But fortunately, after a while, those of us who had decided to stand just remained standing — and eventually were even able to sidle our way into the front for the encore.


Ah, the good old-fashioned stage rush. Somehow it happened completely organically, without Jeff having to even suggest it , as he sometimes has at other seated venues. All of a sudden, as the band was launching into The Late Greats, a few people decided to make a break for it and then a bunch more did and security mostly tolerated it. That made for a fun end to the show with Heavy Metal Drummer and I'm A Wheel still to come. (Incidentally, I looked it up and it appears that I'm A Wheel has closed all three headlining shows the band has ever played in San José. Wheelco, indeed! Unfortunately, the patented Pat windmills on Wheel seem to have gone by the wayside for the time being. Hopefully that's by choice, and not for any physical reason.)


From a setlist perspective, though, it was an unexpected pleasure to hear Wishful Thinking come out so early in the set — a song that, before tonight, had only been played live by the full band twice in more than five years. Add to that Misunderstood (which my friend had been really hoping to hear since she was, ahem, back in her old neighborhood) and Bull Black Nova with the full effect of the sludgy visuals (sorry, Vince) and it made for a interesting show, as I mentioned earlier, whether you had just seen Jeff and his bandmates in Napa or hadn't seen them in years.


I don't know if I need to start delivering an "antics" report in addition to recounting visits to Banter Corner and engaging in a bit of setlist analysis — check back later — but I can report that Jeff (and I guess, Glenn) held true to the promise from Napa that we wouldn't hear the Green Acres-ending to Forget The Flowers again. On the positive side, however, Jeff did do the big riff ending to Theologians and the band gave us "The End"-style intro to Heavy Metal Drummer to the delight/amusement of the relatively older audience in San José.


On the downside, the aforementioned Banter Corner was probably the most barren it has been on this entire tour so far. Jeff didn't offer much in the way of chat, except to say "good to see you again" and make a little joke about how introducing Box Full Of Letters as being from A.M. was just another way of saying it was a song off the band's first record, which he pretty much says every night. (I did notice, though — and I'm certain I'm literally the ONLY one who did...nerd alert! — that Hummingbird was placed between Box and Everyone Hides tonight, thus disrupting the usual first record/latest record banter. Coincidence? I think not!)


About the only noteworthy comments Jeff did offer came about halfway through the set when he thanked the audience for coming to see him and his bandmates instead of going to see the production of Hamilton at the San José Center For The Performing Arts down the street. Like I said, apparently there's plenty to do in San José on a Saturday night even during a pandemic. It seemed like those who chose to rock out a bit — or at least tolerate those who did — did not walk away dissatisfied.


For now, here was the complete setlist as played in San José (I didn't see any changes or omissions after quickly glancing at a printed setlist):


Bright Leaves

A Shot In The Arm

Random Name Generator

Wishful Thinking

War On War

One And A Half Stars

At Least That's What You Said

Bull Black Nova

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

Impossible Germany


Forget The Flowers

Box Full Of Letters


Everyone Hides

Born Alone

Jesus, etc.


I'm Always In Love

California Stars

Poor Places>



The Late Greats

Heavy Metal Drummer

I'm A Wheel

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8 hours ago, Albert Tatlock said:


He mentioned my name. Swoon . . .


(And I did genuinely laugh out loud reading that, so, you know, ta.)


Well, getting a genuine laugh out of you is virtually my sole aim here, so mission accomplished! :thumbup

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9 hours ago, bböp said:

... and Bull Black Nova with the full effect of the sludgy visuals (sorry, Vince)

sigh.... as husband Scott might say.... "AW SHIT MAN!"
Glad they're sprinkling it in to some of the single-night shows.  Still got Oakland tho!


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