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Wilco — 24 June 2022, Valencia, Spain (Auditori Municipal De Burjassot)

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My fondest Uncle Albert (or is it Admiral Halsey),


Greetings from Valencia, or rather some sort of municipality called Burjassot in the greater Valencia metro area that apparently has at least some form of its own government. This could be significant because should Mr. Jeff or any of the Wilcos somehow turn up missing over the remainder of their Spanish tour, I would definitely recommend sending a search party directly to Burjassot. After all, upon hearing a cacophony of cheering following the band's main set tonight, Jeff re-emerged with his bandmates for the encore, surveyed the scene and said, simply, "We might stay here," before dedicating You And I to the enthusiastic masses.


Truth be told, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect after arriving at the Auditori Municipal De Burjassot, which is essentially a white concrete bandshell with a roof — not retractable, I'm afraid — set smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood. The pavilion leading to the stage sloped downhill and had a small section of seats on one side in an elevated section and bordered an alley on the other. More on that alley later, but the stage just looked oddly plain. That was partly due to the continued absence of Nels and his "station" at stage right, but also to the lack of even a backdrop like either of the ones the band has been using at every other stop on this tour. I guess the Audiori Municipal just didn't have the equipment required to hang one of the backdrops or the specs weren't right or some other production reason about which I have no idea. The band, meanwhile, was set up about 12 feet from the front row, which despite the relatively low stage, also created a little bit of distance between the performers and their audience.


Once again, Jeff addressed Nels' absence early on in the show by pointing out, "We are one man down," as he gestured toward Nels' spot. "Our compadre Nels Cline couldn't make it, but he sends his love. He insisted that we play without him, so thanks for letting us play for you." The first half of the show followed the template of the Nels-less shows almost to a T, and you could have easily forgiven the band for phoning it in in some respects on what turned into an increasingly muggy evening. Due to the acoustics of the pavilion, with its open-air but also covered setup, the crowd chatter was really amplified and on songs like Sunken Treasure and At Least That's What You Said that have relatively quiet beginnings, you could hear people trying to shush other folks to varying degrees of success.


Normally those wouldn't be the ideal conditions for a show, and I even started to wonder — and mentally prepare to discuss — how much of Jeff's lyrics were even getting through to this crowd and how much they could really be absorbing, either from the Cruel Country material or even in a song like Sunken Treasure when he sings lines like "Music is my savior," or changes the lyric to "It's not the same without rock and roll." But let's leave that for another time. (Incidentally, I blame some of these mind wanders on my increasingly unsettled stomach, which was either due to the heat or to something I ate or both, and on the vibe of the show itself, which at some point just started to feel like a neighborhood block party or something.)


Speaking of which, remember that alley I mentioned earlier that bordered one side of the venue? Well, normally as a concert promoter you'd probably try to put up a fence there with a screen or something so that people who didn't pay to see the show couldn't just stand out there and look in for free. I guess they did try that, but the fence they put up was not nearly high enough since there was a railing or something on which people could easily sit and look directly into the venue and, anyway, the screen attached to the fence that was supposed to prevent people from being able to see in got partially lowered somehow and security just sort of gave up on it. So the effect was that, at least from my vantage point, more and more people kept turning up in that alley on the one side of the venue and that added to the feel of just, like, people from the neighborhood coming out to check out what was going on. The fact it was a Friday night, and a bank holiday that kicked off a long weekend probably didn't hurt the festive atmosphere either.


I suppose I could suggest that one transitional moment might have come before Box Full Of Letters when Jeff, as he has done for a couple of nights now, cited Glenn as the reason for his saying this next song was from their first album (which is something Jeff says almost every show). "Glenn really wants you to know that this song is from our first album," Jeff quipped, "which makes no sense since he wasn't even in the band for the first record. But anyway, he really wants you to know this is from the first record. OK, good talk." It's unclear how much or how little the audience got that semi-inside joke, but Box seemed to invigorate folks and when that was followed up by the surprise additions of I'm Always In Love and Someday Soon (sandwiched around Jesus, etc., which drew maybe the biggest response of the show), it set the course for a fun second half of the show.


Perhaps I should mention here that this was the first actual Wilco show in Valencia, which is about a three-hour train ride southwest from Barcelona along Spain's eastern coast. Jeff played a solo show here in September of 2008, if Internet research is to be believed, but despite many Wilco shows in Spain since 2004, the full band had never made it here (and I guess technically still hasn't). But I have to remember that in places like this where the band hasn't performed live before, especially when there is a bit of a language barrier, it is "famous" songs like Jesus, etc., and California Stars that are the ones people know and seem to be really waiting to hear. The extended ovation for Jesus, for example, was as rousing as any I've heard recently for any song. And on Cali Stars, especially when Pat picked up the banjitar, as he finally has been doing the past few shows after eschewing it earlier in the tour, that really seemed to get through to the audience, even if they might not fully appreciate Woody Guthrie's lyrics.


Anyway, the rest of the show basically became a big, loose rock-out session. Despite slightly flubbing the first verse in A Lifetime To Find, which is the first time I've heard him do that, Jeff shook it off and just seemed to be having fun. He obliged the celebratory vibe by singing the "she lifted up her shirt at the battle of the bands" verse in Heavy Metal Drummer, which he hadn’t the past few shows and which resulted in Glenn twirling his sticks at the appropriate moment. And then he soaked in the cheers from the crowd on a rousing I'm The Man Who Loves You to close out the main set.


As I mentioned, the band could really have phoned this one in. But you know they are having a good time when they actually add a song to the setlist, which is what happened after The Late Greats. Instead of leading the mid-song clapping part during that song, Jeff was gesturing to the crew and his other bandmates that he wanted to play another song after that one, which you don't often see. Of course the only real choice was I'm A Wheel and that brought the evening to an appropriately sweaty conclusion. So now it's onward to a bullring in Murcia before wrapping up the Spanish tour with a two-fer in Madrid next week.Viva España, indeed. I shall be in touch again soon...


Once again yours in concert and banter reportage, Your Faithful Correspondent.


Here was the complete setlist, as played (I'm A Wheel was not on the printed setlist that I saw, but was added as the last song of the show):


I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart>



Story To Tell

Sunken Treasure

If I Ever Was A Child

All Across The World


Poor Places

War On War

At Least That's What You Said

Tired Of Taking It Out On You

Box Full Of Letters

I'm Always In Love

Jesus, etc.

Someday Soon

California Stars

A Lifetime To FInd

Heavy Metal Drummer

I'm The Man Who Loves You


You And I

Red-Eyed And Blue>

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

Outtasite (Outta Mind)

The Late Greats

I'm A Wheel

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