bböp Posted October 26, 2021 Share Posted October 26, 2021 Haha, I was all set to talk about petty things like sitting-versus-standing challenges and whether Wilco played this song or that song during the band's second of three shows in Los Angeles (and the first of two nights at the Orpheum Theatre downtown), but darn it if Jeff didn't just put things squarely in perspective with some of his earnest and heartfelt comments in the second half of the show — and make me a little bit emotional, too. Before Jesus, etc., Jeff said he wanted to take a minute to share a few thoughts on the occasion of this being Wilco's penultimate show of the year (technically, the band will play one more show in Los Angeles tomorrow night and then make a short appearance at the Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame ceremony on Thursday). Jeff told the audience that he and his bandmates had been touring since the beginning of August until now without a single member of their traveling party getting sick and attributed some of that to luck, of course, but also wanted "to thank everyone we work with, including our crew, who are the best people in the world" for all of their hard work and the sacrifices they've had to make to keep everyone healthy and safe. Jeff acknowledged that there's still a long way to go with the pandemic for everyone and thanked the crowd for doing its part in terms of taking care of each other by wearing masks and the like, but you can tell how much it has meant to him to be able to keep the Wilco train on the tracks when so many other artists have had to cancel or postpone shows. And if you couldn't figure it out, well, the fact he got choked up and basically said so — "I'm gonna cry, it means so much to me," he said — clearly told you all you needed to know. Of course it probably wouldn't be a Wilco show without at least a little bit of snark mixed in with the sincerity. And one other "subplot," as it were, that elicited most of Jeff's other visits to Banter Corner involved someone in the crowd who apparently didn't care for some aspect of the rock concert they came to. As Jeff explained before Box Full Of Letters, "Somebody got up during I think it was Misunderstood, gave me a dirty look and then left and that's what I'm gonna think about for the rest of the night. Just kidding, but...what were you thinking would happen? This is pretty much how it goes." A song later, Jeff clearly still had a few thoughts about the proverbial stick in the mud. "It's a pretty rockin' Monday night," Jeff continued. "Go home and put your slippers on. You've been waiting a year and a half for this?" (As an aside, it's funny because I had just read this interview that Jeff had given earlier on this tour about his substack newsletter, Starship Casual, and this fit precisely into something he had been talking about: "My natural, evolutionarily-derived instinct is to find the people that aren't enjoying themselves in an audience, sensing danger, like, ‘what's this guy yawning about?’ They could be surrounded by people dancing, and you'll pick them out. It’s just like being on the Savannah, and looking for the tiger. I feel like gazelle.") Anyway, prior to Jeff's touching display of gratitude later in the set, I was thinking that this might be another audience in the Santa Barbara vein — though it was never that bad — when Jeff had to once again invoke the "don't postpone happiness" line that he also cited last week when it appeared that some folks in his sight line were holding back...or something (he kept gesturing to the first few rows in the front center section where some people didn't stand all night and must have been energy vampires. "Good to see you," Jeff said about 10 songs into the set. "Do we all remember how to do this? Feel free to be as wild as you want to be. ... Someone, when I was in the hospital, told me, 'Don't postpone happiness,' and I think that's something we all need to be reminded of." As I suggested at the top, obviously this discussion of crowd dynamics is sort of silly in the grand scheme of things when we should all consider ourselves lucky to be able to go to concerts at all. But one of the great things about Wilco is that they clearly feed off of the energy of a crowd (or the lack thereof). They're not robots up there. Fortunately the majority of the crowd at the Orpheum seemed ready to respond in kind to and participate in the performance. And it was a good performance at that, much better on a purely technical level than two nights prior at the Hollywood Palladium, where Jeff botched a few lyrics and it was just kind of a sloppy — though fun — night. One song that I'm really glad we got to hear in its full glory, even though I wasn't super close to the stage to take it in, was Monday. In contrast with the previous Monday in Oakland, where Jeff totally flubbed the second verse, tonight we got a clean run-through and it sounded great. My only tiny quibble was that we didn't get the "son of a..." transition right into Outtasite (Outta Mind) that appears on Being There, at least not that I heard, but hey, you can't always get what you want, right (as some band once said)? Generally speaking, I thought the band played well all night even if it wasn't necessarily the most surprising setlist (there weren't any songs in the 1-hour, 52-minute set, for example, that they hadn't previously performed on this run, nor anything "new" from Ode To Joy). Nels seemed to put a little extra into his Impossible Germany solo tonight and Jeff even went over to him afterward and whispered something that hopefully was a positive affirmation, while Pat got his guitar workouts in on Box Full Of Letters, Born Alone and Outtasite. And Jeff obviously was enjoying himself, too, waving up toward his family's box in the mezzanine to his left during I'm The Man Who Loves You. I'm sure we'll see more than a few swap outs with the setlist for tonight's tour finale, and hopefully we'll also get a little collaboration with support act Faye Webster, as is usually tradition for the last night of a tour. And speaking of tour traditions, well, here's hoping the old adage that "the second night is better than the first" plays out that way. Either way, though, I know it's probably bound to be both a sweet and bittersweet show in more ways than one. Here was Wilco's complete setlist, as played, for Night 1 at the Orpheum Theatre (California Stars was on the printed setlist as the final song of the show, but wasn't played): 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) Pot Kettle Black Impossible Germany Misunderstood Forget The Flowers Box Full Of Letters Everyone Hides Hummingbird Born Alone Jesus, etc. Theologians I'm The Man Who Loves You Poor Places> Reservations ---------------------------------------------- Monday Outtasite (Outta Mind) 9 Quote Link to post Share on other sites
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