Jump to content

Wilco — 26 October 2021, Los Angeles, CA (Orpheum Theatre) [Night 2 of 2]


Recommended Posts

Not really sure what else to say right now except, "Hurray, they did it!" Somehow Wilco and the Wilcrew managed to resume touring amid a pandemic and get through the better part of three months on the road, criss-crossing the country without a single person getting sick with or testing positive for Covid-19 and without cancelling or rescheduling any shows (*except for one, in Kansas City, due to circumstances beyond their control). In these crazy times, I'd say those things alone are achievements worth celebrating.

 

And I suppose you could consider this tour-closing, three-show run in Los Angeles sort of an extended celebration. For this correspondent, the final headlining Wilco show of 2021 on the second of two nights at the Orpheum Theatre had a little bit of everything: hellos, goodbyes, collaborations, rarities, banter, laughter, tears. It was better than Cats. I'd see it again and again...

 

Seriously, though, there's always a little bit more emotion on the final night of a tour — technically, Wilco will make one more brief appearance at the Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame induction ceremonies in Texas in a couple of days — because things will never quite be the same as they are right at that moment. There are goodbyes to be said to a support act, especially one like Faye Webster and her band, with whom Wilco and crew seemed to develop an especially nice relationship over the course of nine shows together (more on Faye and Co. later). And then there are sometimes goodbyes to be said within the Wilco organization itself and that was also true this time with the impending departure of longtime lighting director Jeremy Roth, for whom this show was his last with the band and to whom Jeff gave a personal salute from the stage.

 

Prior to that, there was one final hello to be said to an audience and, fortunately, this seemed to be one of the better crowds of the tour. Unlike the previous night at the Orpheum, the sitting-versus-standing tension was resolved pretty definitively from the start. From the opening synths of A Shot In The Arm, the vast majority of the attendees were on their feet and would stay that way for the duration of the show. It wasn't just the standing part alone, but you could tell that for one night anyway in a reserved-seat situation, the fates had aligned and there were mostly true fans occupying many of the first few rows.

 

"We all remember how to do this, right?" Jeff asked rhetorically midway through the set, as he had the night before. "I don't know if it's the first time out of the house in a while for some of you, but you're doing great."

 

A bit later on, as he also had done on Night 1 at the Orpheum, Jeff also took time out to repeat his message — "to say some of the things I said last night without crying," he said — about returning to touring and the hard work put in and sacrifices made by everyone in the Wilco organization to make these shows possible. And he also thanked the crowd for doing what it had to do to take care of each other by getting vaccinated and wearing masks and the like, even joking that while it might look "dystopian" to play a show to a completely masked audience, he was sure that everyone had probably done much weirder things at concerts before.

 

Though Jeff apologized early for not talking much because I "just wanna enjoy every second of getting to do this again," Banter Corner was actually pretty active tonight. And it wasn't even all Jeff. One of my favorite moments in the show happened after Impossible Germany when there was sustained applause after a particularly emphatic solo by Nels. Jeff jokingly pointed in Nels' direction and started a brief N-E-L-S, N-E-L-S chant that the audience also picked up. Jeff explained that he just did that "so people stop calling him Nils." (It happens WAY more often than you might think!) But then Nels did something he does about once every five years and stepped over to Jeff's mike, pointed to himself and said simply, "From Los Angeles, California," which of course led to another big cheer. I guess Nels was worried that some younger audience members might not realize that he is a very proud Angeleno, even though he has lived on the East Coast for over a decade now.

 

On the adjacent Antics Avenue, there were a few things that happened — and didn't happen — worth noting. On the downside, we didn't get one final "The End"-style introduction to Heavy Metal Drummer (which I wonder if we've seen the last of) and we also didn't get either the gorgeous outro solo by Nels on Ashes Of American Flags (since it transitioned right into Art Of Almost) or the full, unabashed windmills by Pat on the show-closing I'm A Wheel (from what I could see, it was only the slightly abridged Townshend). However, we did get the adorable back-to-back maneuver by Jeff and Nels during the breakdown in Random Name Generator, a slightly modified lyric by Jeff on Sunken Treasure with the inclusion of "It isn't the same without rock 'n' roll," and a rare double stick twirl by Glenn on Heavy Metal Drummer (I guess he wasn't satisfied with the execution of the first one). John also reprised his athletic scissor kick move that he had also done at the Hollywood Palladium on I'm The Man Who Loves You.

 

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the collaborations with Faye and her band in the encore. Surprisingly, we got not one but two separate collabs — with several members of Faye's band, including pedal steel ace Matt "Pistol" Stoessel, coming out first to assist on California Stars, and then Faye herself coming out to add vocals on Jesus, etc. Jeff made a little joke that I forget how it started, but basically the punchline was that the 24-year-old Faye probably wasn't even born when Jesus, etc. first came out (which isn't quite true, but close...eek). Anyway, Jesus was a solid choice for Faye's decidedly chill aesthetic, and she, Jeff and John all harmonized together nicely through the middle of the song.

 

So another year of Wilco touring comes to a close, one that I think everyone can agree was unlike any that came before. I'm really glad to have been able to catch as many shows as I did this year and feel quite fortunate that I was able to stay healthy and of course that the band and crew were able to as well. I realized that for all of my relatively petty quibbles about the weather, audiences or setlists, I ultimately feel a great deal of gratitude for being able to resume some normality again, for all the old friends I got to see again for the first time in a long time, for all the new friends I finally got to meet out there and for everyone in Wilcoworld doing what they do so well. Every time I think about whether or not to go to a show or stand up in a seated theater or sing along or whatever, I think two things: a) What would Scott McCaughey do? and b ) The future's not promised, so do it while you can.

 

Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 2 at the Orpheum Theatre (I was told there weren't any changes/omissions from the printed setlist, though I didn't glimpse one myself):

 

A Shot In The Arm

Random Name Generator

Muzzle Of Bees

One And A Half Stars

Ashes Of American Flags>

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)

Hummingbird

Box Full Of Letters

Everyone Hides

Either Way

Dawned On Me

Heavy Metal Drummer

I'm The Man Who Loves You

Poor Places>

Reservations

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

California Stars (w/Matt "Pistol" Stoessel, Charles LaMont Garner and Jordan Reynolds from Faye Webster band on pedal steel, percussion and keyboard, respectively)

Jesus, etc. (w/Faye Webster on vocals)

Red-Eyed And Blue>

I Got You (At The End Of The Century)

I'm A Wheel

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

This show was one for the books. Great crowd energy. The band was really enjoying it.


MUZZLE OF BEEEEEEEEEES!

 

That might have been the best IG there ever was. Did anyone clock that one? I think it must have been at least 10 minutes.

 

Loved Ashes, even without the jam - especially kicking off the run of songs that followed through Laminated Cat. Grateful to get the How To Fight>Sunken>Lammy Cat trifecta again. As bbop mentioned previously, Laminated Cat is hitting at legendary-set staple levels. It is so psychedelic and experiential and raw.

 

On a Sunken Treasure note - I noticed that Jeff did "It's not the same without rock n' roll" tonight and he didn't do that one at the Palladium version. I always love that little addition, so it was cool to hear it live.

 

My first time hearing Either Way live! It was so good.

 

I'm so thrilled I got to see all these shows. It was so cathartic and flat out rockin. I danced my butt off all 3 nights. Can't wait to do it again. Thank you Wilco and Wilcrew!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I like this picture from tonight. Mostly I was too blocked for a clear photo, but that's fine because I loved that the crowd was enthusiastic and standing and dancing!

So who can identify which song this was?

20211026_213007.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Albert Tatlock said:

Ta to Bbop for staying safe and well too for this whole tour and keeping up the deluge/trickle (delete as you see fit) of reportage.

Last seen on his way home to a well-earned rest.

 

2of5u76g_man-in-plastic-bubble_625x300_2 


Not yet! Still have tonight’s report to file and one more…🤠 

Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, kidsmoke said:

So who can identify which song this was?

 

Maybe I have learnt a little bit from the Master having witnessed Bbop's miraculous powers of predicting which song is next based upon the guitars that come out.

My guess would be RNG. 

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Albert Tatlock said:

 

Maybe I have learnt a little bit from the Master having witnessed Bbop's miraculous powers of predicting which song is next based upon the guitars that come out.

My guess would be RNG. 

 

RNG doesn't have an E shape of a chord in it as it is in Drop D. My guess based on the guitar and chord shape, it is either Red-Eyed and Blue/I Got You or maybe Impossible Germany if that is an Am not an E.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

What a night.  By halfway through the main set, there was no need for face coverings for those of us sitting on Nels' side because our faces had been completely melted between "Art of Almost" and "Impossible Germany."  And it was really nice of Jeff to clarify that it's N-E-L-S, not N-I-L-S.  Here I've been thinking that was Nils Lofgren all this time...

 

I tried to get a P-A-T chant going for Mr. Sansone after "Box Full of Letters," I think, but I think the crowd preferred to go for a two-point conversion.

 

I have had the privilege of seeing Wilco from the front row more than 30 times over the years.  Sometimes, this has been the result of commitment-- i.e., the willingness and ability to get in line early in the day to secure a spot at a GA show.  Sometimes, as in the years circa 1995-99, this has been the result of there just not being many other people there for the shows, especially when doors first opened.  Sometimes, this has been a combination of luck and savvy, like walking up to the box office on the day of a seated show, inquiring, and finding out that front-row seats were available.  This time, however-- and possibly for the first time-- it was pure luck; I went through the regular Ticketmaster onsale and these were the tickets that popped up.  After last night, I kind of wonder whether the great Wilco Fan in the Sky might have had a hand in things, because almost the entire front row was populated with some of the band's most passionate and dedicated fans*, and I really think that was a big reason why the energy level for this show was so high.  Unlike the previous night, or Santa Barbara last Wednesday, people were on their feet from start to finish last night, and I really do believe that the fact that the Row A crowd was on its feet from the moment the band took the stage kind of forced the issue.  So kudos to Roy, Jenny, James, Allan, Eric, Paul and everyone else across Row A who set the tone for everyone by bringing such energy and passion.  It was clear that the band was feeding off that energy.  When Jeff said, as he had the night before, "Do you remember how to do this?," he was able to answer in the affirmative this time.  There was no need to encourage people not to postpone their happiness.  The happiness was there from the start; with so many people in the moment together, it was "loneliness postponed," not happiness postponed.

 

* There was a notable exception.  The couple in Seats 1 and 3 of Row A-- literally the best seats in the entire house-- bailed after about 6-8 songs.  Whatever they came for, they apparently were not getting it.  When I saw that they clearly weren't coming back right as "Impossible Germany" was starting, I turned to Roy and Jenny, who were in the seats next to them, and said, "Who leaves now?!!"

  • Like 1
  • Confused 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Roy could give you more specifics about this couple's behavior.  But, yes, you kind of hope that it was some kind of babysitting emergency or something-- not that I wish for a child to be in harm's way, just that it would explain this otherwise unfathomable choice.

 

I was a little surprised Jeff didn't comment on it, especially when he brought up the guy who left in an apparent huff the night before, but I think he was probably focused on the 99 percent of the crowd that was into it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Brian F. said:

fter last night, I kind of wonder whether the great Wilco Fan in the Sky might have had a hand in things, because almost the entire front row was populated with some of the band's most passionate and dedicated fans*, and I really think that was a big reason why the energy level for this show was so high.  Unlike the previous night, or Santa Barbara last Wednesday, people were on their feet from start to finish last night, and I really do believe that the fact that the Row A crowd was on its feet from the moment the band took the stage kind of forced the issue. 

 

Kudos to you for doing your part in helping put the sitting/standing thing to bed early on. Nice to meet you IRL, as well.

 

And yeah, thanks also for your comments here. It's nice to have folks chime in on these post-show threads. Makes me hopeful that not everything has migrated over to that one social media site whose name we shall not utter. It took me a while, but I finally got my last show recap posted above if anyone still has interest. It's been nice to have an outlet to do some regular corresponding, so thanks to anyone who's taken the time to read and/or follow along. :thumbup

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, bböp said:

It's been nice to have an outlet to do some regular corresponding, so thanks to anyone who's taken the time to read and/or follow along. :thumbup

 

I read every word of every dispatch, Paul. And I'm sure I'm far from alone! Thank you for everything you do for the world of Wilco!

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Beltmann said:

 

I read every word of every dispatch, Paul. And I'm sure I'm far from alone! Thank you for everything you do for the world of Wilco!

 

Same. I don't chime in much because I don't have anything to add, but there's something comforting in these recaps, beyond the vicarious concert-going element. Like I wake up in the morning and drink my coffee and go, well it's a high of 56 degrees today, the Packers won, and ooh, Wilco played Wishful Thinking last night. Paul had to watch Jeff wrangle a couple of drunken hecklers, and then they played a mega rock encore.

 

This world must be a decent place if we know these things are happening.

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, bböp said:

And yeah, thanks also for your comments here. It's nice to have folks chime in on these post-show threads. Makes me hopeful that not everything has migrated over to that one social media site whose name we shall not utter. It took me a while, but I finally got my last show recap posted above if anyone still has interest. It's been nice to have an outlet to do some regular corresponding, so thanks to anyone who's taken the time to read and/or follow along. :thumbup

Count me in as one of those appreciative readers of yours, Paul. Always a pleasure!

 

9 hours ago, lost highway said:

 

Same. I don't chime in much because I don't have anything to add, but there's something comforting in these recaps, beyond the vicarious concert-going element. Like I wake up in the morning and drink my coffee and go, well it's a high of 56 degrees today, the Packers won, and ooh, Wilco played Wishful Thinking last night. Paul had to watch Jeff wrangle a couple of drunken hecklers, and then they played a mega rock encore.

 

This world must be a decent place if we know these things are happening.

Sub "White Sox" for "Packers," and this perfectly describes me as well!

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, What Light said:

1st pic is Impossible Germany

2nd is Everyone Hides

Thanks for your detective work! I'll take your word for it. Seems right. B)

 

And Paul, without your detailed recaps, I'd remember half the shows wrong. It all swirls past so fast. I deeply appreciate that you keep it all in order and record the banter moments that give the show its personality. 💗

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/27/2021 at 11:56 AM, chisoxjtrain said:

 

RNG doesn't have an E shape of a chord in it as it is in Drop D. My guess based on the guitar and chord shape, it is either Red-Eyed and Blue/I Got You or maybe Impossible Germany if that is an Am not an E.

Maybe Jesus Etc? Always the SG for that one

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.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...