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Wilco — 13 June 2022, Copenhagen, Denmark (Amager Bio)

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First full show of the Cruel Country tour, and there's a bunch I'd like to write but that's going to have to wait because I have to leave to catch a flight in about four hours and your humble correspondent can't function on as little beauty sleep as he used to...:dead [Edit: Finally getting around to adding some more reportage below...he said to an audience of Tatlock. :lol ]


Amager Bio (located, somewhat confusingly, in the Amagerbro district and just off the Amagerbrogade) is one of those venues that Wilco just doesn't play in the good ol' US of A much anymore — that is, a 1,000-capacity, general-admission space with a relatively low stage that allowed for that truly intimate feel like back in the old club days. It was pretty wide and not very deep, and the band took up most of the width so that it felt like Nels and Pat were a bit far apart at times for some of their guitar back-and-forth on some of the Cruel Country material. But I'm definitely splitting hairs. Amager Bio, which I believe might be a converted movie theatre, is really the perfect room for a band like Wilco, IMHO. And I hesitate to say more good things about it because, frankly, we don't need an influx of Americans flocking to places like Copenhagen to muck up the proceedings. I keed, I keed...kinda. :pirate


Anyway, I think if Jeff had had his druthers, he and his bandmates might well have just played Cruel Country straight through again as they did a couple of weeks earlier at Solid Sound. "You may be able to tell we have a new record (out)," Jeff said a little over halfway through the set, in his first extended comments of the evening. "We just want to play all those songs, but we have songs from other records, too." All in all, it was a bit of a Cruel Country and "the hits" set, though an early appearance of Handshake Drugs was certainly welcome.


By the time Jeff somewhat awkwardly introduced the final song of the main set, Falling Apart (Right Now), it seemed like the Danish audience had (wink, wink) "embraced the yeehaw" — at least as much as it was in their collective DNA to do so. (I think the moments that translated best from the new record, not surprisingly, were the soaring Pink Floyd-esque jam of the Many Worlds outro that flowed out of the end of Via Chicago and the mesmerizing Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull guitar workout led by Pat). "We're gonna leave you with our big country hit," Jeff said before Falling Apart. "We just played this on...on...uh, we haven't played it anywhere yet." OK, so maybe the banter still needs a little fine tuning. :heehee


I couldn't help but also notice another amusing moment in the encore during the transition from Red-Eyed and Blue into I Got You (At The End Of The Century) where Glenn usually has a pretty sizable set of sleigh bells that he shakes around and very visibly hits one hand on top of before putting them down and hitting the cowbell that officially kicks off I Got You. Well tonight, I'm not exactly sure what happened — whether the crew had misplaced them or were just goofing around —  but instead of the sleigh bells, all Glenn had in his hand was the saddest little hand tambourine that he kind of used as best he could (with a sheepish expression on his face). It was probably more of a "you had to be there" moment, but definitely brought a smile to my face.


Another noteworthy (to me, anyway) moment also involved Glenn and came during Heavy Metal Drummer. For the most part, since the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 20th anniversary shows, Wilco has stuck to the album arrangements they relearned to perform that record as it was recorded. So it will be interesting moving forward to see how much (or little) the live versions of the YHF material revert back to the way they had evolved over time until a few months ago. Tonight, for example, I was fully expecting HMD to follow IATTBYH and War On War and be played with the album arrangement. That meant no "she lifted up her shirt at the battle of the bands" verse or line about "(the drummer) twirled his sticks..." However, to my surprise (and maybe Glenn's as well), Jeff made the ostensibly spur-of-the-moment decision to sing the verse that differs from the album version and that meant Glenn had a stick-twirling opportunity after all. I'm happy to report that despite perhaps being caught a bit by surprise, Glenn still managed to deliver said stick twirl — much to everyone's delight and relief.


As far as Banter Corner, Jeff didn't really say much for the first two-thirds of the set but he did start to open up a bit toward the end. At one point, Jeff thanked the audience for coming out and said, "We love it here. We don't think it's fair that you get to live like this." He added, in a not-at-all-subtle dig at our cruel country that, "You have a decided lack of weapons." Of course that led to an audience member shouting that the band should move to Copenhagen, to which Jeff replied that he would gladly do it but someone would have to convince his wife, who has lived in Chicago all her life. Jeff joked that his wife has been dodging bullets for many years now and also mentioned the infamous story about their house getting shot at a few years ago in a random drive-by shooting, asking rhetorically if anyone in the crowd's home had ever been shot at. #Merica :usa


Then, by way of introducing the all-Being There encore, Jeff made some brief comments about how Cruel Country was actually the band's second double album and that most bands don't make it long enough to have one double album in their career, much less two. And that apparently emboldened Jeff enough to declare that Wilco will have three double albums before it's through. "I'm saying it right now!" Jeff said, and of course we — or at the least the approximately 1,000 of us who were at Amager Bio — will hold him to that. Wait, does this mean the next Wilco record is going to be another double album? :hmm :comeon


I suppose there will be plenty of time to hem and haw (yee? sorry) about the prospect of back-to-back double albums, but at this point in their career, it seems safe to say that Wilco feels self-assured enough to go just about any direction it wants to — whether that happens to be songs about birds without tails and conversations with Death, Gitarzans and Janines or, I suppose, anything in between. Here's to the next one (show, album, multi-day event, merch concept, etc.)! :hitit


For now, here was the complete setlist as played in Copenhagen (there were no changes/omissions from the printed list):


I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart


Handshake Drugs

War On War

If I Ever Was A Child

All Across The World

Via Chicago>

Many Worlds (coda only)

Everyone Hides

Story To Tell

Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull

Tired Of Taking It Out On You

At Least That's What You Said

Country Song Upside Down

Impossible Germany

Jesus, etc.

Heavy Metal Drummer

A Lifetime To Find

Box Full Of Letters

The Late Greats

Falling Apart (Right Now)


Red-Eyed And Blue>

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

Outtasite (Outta Mind)

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