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Wilco — 27 June 2022, Madrid, Spain (Real Jardín Botánico Alfonso XIII) [Noches Del Botánico; Night 1 of 2]

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Hail to the Tatlock,


Oh, Uncle Albert! You won't believe what we accomplished on our first full day in Madrid. We managed to visit not one, not two, but three museums between about 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and all for the price of free (OK, I paid a small price for one of them because I felt kind of guilty...but my two colleagues managed the gratis trifecta)! The first of these was to take in an exhibition about the history of comics in both Europe and the USA. Near the end of that exhibit, we came across a room that featured some examples of feminist comics and there was a publication displayed that bore the title, "Tits and Clits." It got me to thinking that perhaps we ought to someday publish a volume of correspondence called "Tats and Chats." I think it could be a minor hit...what do you think?


In the meantime, you were wondering about what happened as Wilco reached the final stop of its Spanish tour? Well, on the first night of a two-night stand, there were definitely some weird vibes across the board. From the somewhat discouraged feeling I got just before leaving for the show after listening to Jeff's comments on his latest Starship Casual post to the drunken shenanigans by a few "fans" that threatened to derail the show during the encore (more on that later), there was just kind of an odd energy in the air.


Before I get into the show itself, though, a few words on the venue. It was a surprisingly intimate outdoor space located in a nice park on the outskirts of the city center, kind of reminiscent of the Central Park Summerstage setup in New York if anyone is familiar with that locale. They host a summer-long program of concerts there as part of the Noches del Botánico series, and there are several sections of bleacher seating surrounding a small lawn of artificial grass leading to a festival-like stage. Once you entered the actual park, you had to line up at another gate for a while before they eventually opened up the lawn and people scrambled to get their spots.


After an, um, interesting opening set by La Tremendita (a female Spanish artist whose modern take on flamenco featured a band that had two electric basses as well as drums and keyboard/synths), Jeff and Co. took the stage at 10:17 p.m. with a boisterous A Shot In The Arm and then settled into their usual early set — their second with Nels back in the fold — that featured more than a few songs from Cruel Country. Jeff made it a point after performing Hints, one of the new record's most overtly political songs, to mention "that song goes out to anyone here for NATO." Madrid was the site of a three-day summit of leaders from NATO member and partner countries that formally began the following day, and you couldn't help but notice the increased security around the city.


Relatively speaking, though, the first part of the show felt relatively subdued. One moment of levity came when Jeff put his Stetson hat on Glenn at the end of Hummingbird, and the drummer kept it on for the next song before returning it to the frontman, who quipped, "You look so much better in it than I do. It's not fair." A bit later, things picked up after Impossible Germany when some "oeee oeee oeee oeee" chants broke out and Jeff and his bandmates seemed to be enjoying them as much as they usually do, saying that "it's the best thing in the world," but also noting that they still "had a bunch more songs to play. Let's see some more of that later."


Actually, the end of the main set following Impossible Germany might have been the apex of the show. Mystery Binds, which is definitely a deeper cut off Cruel Country but is quite enjoyable live, came out of the blue to the delight of those of us who had seen multiple shows on the Spanish portion of the tour without previously getting to hear that tune. And then the set came to a decidedly guitar-centric conclusion with At Least That's What You Said, the Via Chicago>Many Worlds coda and finally The Late Greats.


The encore started off relatively amusingly when someone in the front row in front of Jeff got his attention and apparently expressed how much the Madrileños had missed the band — which hadn't performed in the city in nearly five years (at the Mad Cool Festival in 2017), and hadn't headlined a show in nearly six. Jeff replied to the fan, "It's been a long time, right? We missed you. OK, we're not gonna have an interaction with each of you individually, as much as I would enjoy it." But then he proceeded to dedicate Jesus, etc., to everyone, saying "This is for all of you."


Who could have known that Jesus, etc., of all songs would set off a couple of drunken women (one blonde and one in a cowboy hat) who suddenly barged to the front, directly in front of John and Pat, and proceeded to make complete spectacles of themselves, much to the bemusement and annoyance of both the people around them and the band. I mean, of course, this isn't first time something like this has happened at a Wilco show, but just how out of nowhere it all happened was a bit jarring, as were the looks on some of the band members' faces as several other overserved male patrons — one holding up a Wilco Whole Love soccer scarf — joined the fray. I didn't see it myself, but apparently one of the drunken women threw something on stage at one point (always a no no). I did see some security personnel come over and warn them, and I'm quite certain if the show had continued much longer, they would have gotten themselves tossed out.


As it was, they almost single-handedly shifted the energy of the evening. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing to inject some "juice" into the proceedings, but I can't say it really was a good thing either. For me, as an American, it was interesting to observe that this sort of behavior occasionally happens over here in Europe as well — on a Monday night, no less. It's just surprisingly rare. Anyway, this is partly what I meant when I mentioned earlier that there was just something a little bit off about this one.


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


Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 1 of Wilco's two-night stand at the 2022 Noches del Botánico summer series (I got but just a brief glimpse of the printed setlist, but it did not appear there were any changes or 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

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

War On War

Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull

Hearts Hard To Find

Impossible Germany

Mystery Binds

At Least That's What You Said

Via Chicago>

Many Worlds (coda only)

The Late Greats


Jesus, etc.

A Lifetime To Find

California Stars

Falling Apart (Right Now)


Outtasite (Outta Mind)

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On 6/28/2022 at 8:29 AM, bböp said:

"Tats and Chats." I think it could be a minor hit...what do you think?


Suggest Tats and Chats and Cats if you want to hook the internet generation. 


On 6/28/2022 at 8:29 AM, bböp said:

[A little more to come...]




You big tease.

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6 hours ago, Albert Tatlock said:

Is this them? Missing the handclaps though. Love me some flamenco handclaps.




Yes, indeed. There were definitely some flamenco handclaps...but the Madrileños weren't necessarily biting! Or only half-heartedly, at least. :pirate

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6 hours ago, Albert Tatlock said:


Suggest Tats and Chats and Cats if you want to hook the internet generation. 





You big tease.


Haha, you weren't supposed to see the post until it was done! But I should have known that Uncle Albert never rests...:lol

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