Jump to content

Wilco — 25 June 2022, Murcia, Spain (Plaza De Toros)

Recommended Posts

A proposition for Señor Tatlock, with apologies to P. Simon: I shall be your bodyguard, you can be my long-lost pal, you can call me Betty and when I call you, I shall call you...well, you know.


Just as suddenly as we received the sad news shortly before showtime some days ago in San Sebastián that Mr. Nels would be absent for some shows due to testing positive for Covid-19, we also received joyous word not long before tonight's gig in Murcia that he would return to the stage. And indeed there he was at the Plaza De Toros, like he never left. I'm happy to report that, and also to report that his mates in the WIlco touring party did not, ahem, forget the flowers (apologies, yet again) and had a lovely floral arrangement waiting for him on his amplifier at his usual position stage right.


The site of tonight's show was the Plaza De Toros, a 15,000-seat bullring adjacent to Murcia's even larger football stadium. Wilco had actually performed at the bullring once before, a decade ago, as part of a festival. But it is still quite a unique spot for a concert, I suppose, although it seems to be one of the city's main outdoor concert venues with a pretty advanced stage setup that apparently remains in place for an entire summer series of shows. It's almost hard to picture the contrast between this large venue with a festival-type setting featuring video screens flanking the stage and the one the band had played in Valencia the night before. At any rate, it was very far from full, but the smallish audience definitely made up for it with its enthusiasm.


(On a short personal note, I wanted to mention that how cool it was to be one of the few non-workers in the arena — they opened the doors a little after 8 p.m. for a 10 p.m. show with no support act,  and there were only a handful of us at the rail for a good half-hour — and to hear "Lake Shore Drive" by Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah come blaring over the PA system. I'm sure it was part of Wilco's pre-show mix, but for whatever reason I hadn't heard it before on this run. I don't know if anyone else around me knew the song, but standing there in this near-empty bullring in southern Spain on this glorious early evening, it brought this Chicago guy back home for a few minutes.)


As for the band, it was difficult to tell whether the other five members were happier to have Nels back in the fold or the other way around but there was plenty of mutual lovefesting going around that stage over the course of the two-hour show. It started from the top, right when the band took the stage, with Jeff pointing at Nels as he headed to his spot and Jeff tipping his Stetson in Nels' direction and Nels bowing back. After Jesus, etc., Jeff remarked, "We've got more songs to play for you. We're so happy to have Nels back. He ate, like, 400 bowls of fish soup. Somebody needs to look into that as a cure." And before A Lifetime To Find closed out the main set, Jeff said, "Nels, we love you," and mentioned the flowers the band and crew had gotten him for his comeback as Nels blew air kisses in every direction.


The setlist with Nels back, as you would expect, returned to more or less what the band seemed to want to present for this tour. That meant a return to guitar jams like Handshake Drugs, Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull, Via Chicago and the Many Worlds coda and perennial favorite Impossible Germany, on which Nels seems to stretch out his solo just a little longer than usual and for which he received the customary "oeee oeee oeee" chants (augmented, of course, by Glenn's kick drum). And it also meant a return to Nels' familiar guitar parts on songs like Hummingbird — no more trying to figure out exactly who's replicating the solo and how — and You And I.


Other than what I've already reported, Jeff didn't take a stroll over to Banter Corner very often during the show, sticking mostly to the Spanish 101 "holas" and "graciases," and dedicating You And I to the audience to start the encore as he had at a couple of previous shows on this run. He also repeated the bit he's been using lately about Glenn wanting everyone to know that Box Full Of Letters is from the band's first album — which drew a mini-eye roll from the drummer — and joked at one point (perhaps due to the length of the show) that, "You're never gonna get rid of us."


Perhaps the only casualty of Nels' return was Pat's use of the banjitar on California Stars, which is kind of a minor tragedy but which I guess he feels like there isn't room for with everyone else taking a solo. Not that Pat wasn't having plenty of other fun on this evening. During the lead-in to I'm The Man Who Loves You, I'm pretty sure I observed him going over to Glenn and actually high stepping a bit as he strummed the acoustic rhythm guitar intro behind Jeff's electric lead. And then during the Monday>Outtasite finale, he was really letting loose on some Townshendesque windmills. Everyone else got into the act at various points as well — for instance, Glenn got his stick-twirl moment as Jeff opted for that non-album verse in Heavy Metal Drummer, and Mike was having a grand old time with his cushion/pillow on the show-opening A Shot In The Arm — and just celebrated having the full band back together.


Murcia was a tertiary market, for sure, but just seeing the grins on everyone's faces at having Nels back in the fold made it worth the trek there. Here's hoping that despite the relative small turnout, the band will get back there on its next jaunt to the Iberian peninsula. I'll tell you this: Those Murcians are certainly a spirited bunch!


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


Here was the complete setlist, as played (didn't get a look at a printed list, so can't say if there were any changes/omissions):


A Shot In The Arm

Story To Tell

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

Handshake Drugs

If I Ever Was A Child

All Across The World


Poor Places

War On War

Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull

Tired Of Taking It Out On You

Impossible Germany

Via Chicago>

Many Worlds (coda only)

Box Full Of Letters

Jesus, etc.

Falling Apart (Right Now)

California Stars

A Lifetime To Find


You And I

Heavy Metal Drummer>

I'm The Man Who Loves You


Outtasite (Outta Mind)

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

We were standing a few feet to the right of Señor bbop and I can attest to the enthusiasm of the audience, which included one family near us from Valencia that were absolute diehard Wilco fans and knew every song.  Nels played like he was making up for several lost days in one, and the entire band seemed ... joyful.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Albert Tatlock said:

Ta Betty.


I'm thinking that with all your hectic touring there must be 50 ways to leave your luggage?


Not as many as you might think! Darn terrorists...:ninja

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.

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.

  • Create New...