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Wilco — 16 August 2022, Newport, KY (PromoWest Pavilion at Ovation)

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I hate it here.....  when @bböp's gone.  Here goes.


I think I can safely say that we all had a delightful evening in a brand spankin' new outdoor venue just across the river from Cincinnati OH, with a great view of the Cincy skyline, as Wilco digs in to the meat of their Cruel Country tour.  It's a big wide stage, with an ample standing GA pit area; behind that some VIP/reserved tables/boxes and a couple rows of reserved seats, and then a rather small lawn "hill" behind that.  Very wide, but rather shallow front to back and pretty cozy really.  Covered stage but open air beyond that.  Nice venue for sure, and quite comfortable as I don't think it sold quite as well as expected (judging from the "comfortable spaced" crowd and the onslaught of social media ads for the show over recent weeks). 

Courtney Marie Andrews opened with her 4-piece band and played a very solid 30 minute set.  She did quickly wander into oopsie-banter territory when she said "Hello Cincinnati!" and quickly walked that back saying sorry and hi to Newport KY.  The crowd seemed pretty easy going on that - no heckling ensued.  Wee bit of nerdy trivia on her band for y'all.  Playing drums for her now is Joe Westerlund, who has played in a few bands like Mandolin Orange and others, and had worked with Tim Rutili in Califone on the Insect Courage record.  But he also played behind William Tyler when William opened up for Wilco on a few shows including one in St. Louis exactly 6 years ago today! OK, enough of that nerdland visit...

Wilco comes on at 8:30 sharp (still the promptest band in rock and roll), with a couple of immediate surprises.  First, there's a gentleman accompanying Glenn to his kit, with some shakers / maracas in hand, and kinda stands just behind the kit to Glenn's left. Second, band opens up with Handshake Drugs (unique), with the "new guy" keeping time right along.  After the song, fella leaves, and Jeff introduces him (I didn't catch his name) and says that "he played those on the original recording".  

From there, the set was pretty much the one they're using so far this run, with a swap (HMD instead of Always in Love) and maybe a couple adds / rearranges (Tired of Taking it Out on You, and ITMWLY in the set).  The new stuff sounds really great, in particular the extended jams on Many Worlds coda and the post-Bird jam Base of My Skull.  If Ode to Joy was a Glenn record, these songs make the new one a Pat record.  His guitar work on those, along with Falling Apart, is pure joy. 

Baseball banter?  Yep, we had it.  Jeff mentioned that it had already been a pretty full day for him personally, as he was asked to be the starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds earlier in the day, gyrating his right arm in a little mock pain and saying that he got yanked after one pitch.  I think he said it was over the plate but also mentioned something about "in the dirt". I don't wanna judge.  He then rattled off all the teams he had pitched for, saying that he had pitched for "all the NL Central teams except one" (Pirates maybe?).  "I don't give a fuck. I'll throw out a first pitch anywhere. I'll throw out so many first pitches I'd need Tommy John surgery."  When he asked the crowd how the Reds were doing, and got a bit of a groan in response, he quipped "Well, they shoulda kept me in there". 

Not a lot of other notable banter that I can recall - there were a few other VC'ers around so maybe someone else can recall better. But one other memorable / quirky event came in the encore, when Jeff starts playing the opening chords to The Late Greats.  I thought it was fine, and everyone seemed to have the right instruments, but as Jeff wandered over to Glenn by the drums, Glenn just kinda looked puzzled at Jeff and didn't come in on his beat, nor did anyone else.  Jeff stops, looks around at the band, lotsa grins, and then starts again (with what sounded exactly the same to me) and the song went along as normal.  Not sure if something was amiss, or just a little prank-the-boss moment. 

Nice little encore, lotsa smiles, and the band walked off just before 1030. 


Believe me, I lobbied HARD for the Nova for this one.  "Vote early and often" was my slogan these past few weeks, and I hit it hard on the socials, with puppies, chickens, alliterations, and an attempted brand tie-in ("What's more country than a song about a Chevy?").  Great spot on the rail with perfect sight line for signage.  First sign (Newport Nova Night) got a head shake like a catcher who wasn't in the mood for a slider.  Second sign (OG BBN) a little later got more of a "hey there's nothing I can do" shrug, and alas 'twas not to be.  Kinda don't see that happening this tour, so I think I'll retire the signage bit for a while.  Wonder how that translates to Icelandic? Sorry, digressing already. 


As always, a Wilco show is a delightful evening, and this one was exactly that.  And when you get to hang on the rail with folks like @M Christine and @sonicshoulderwith @j4lackeyand @Elixir Sue somewhere in the house, well it's just doggone perfect. 


Here's the complete setlist as played, with no changes from the printed version - although the Wilcoworld version this morning had left off I'm the Man, and the printed list had "HMD / I'M THE MAN" on one line so now I'm questioning everything.  sigh.


Handshake Drugs

I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart


War On War

If I Ever Was A Child

Via Chicago>

Many Worlds (coda only)

At Least That's What You Said

Story To Tell


Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull

Tired of Taking it Out on You

Jesus, etc.

Impossible Germany

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

California Stars (with Courtney Marie Andrews on vocals and acoustic guitar, and her band ("Staff") on shakers behind Glenn)

A Lifetime To Find

Box Full Of Letters

Heavy Metal Drummer

I'm the Man Who Loves You


Falling Apart (Right Now)

The Late Greats

I Got You (At The End Of The Century)


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What a delight to share the rail with you theashtraysays! Beautiful venue, beautiful night, beautiful friends, beautiful band. Plus I got to properly break in a neophyte to rail protocol. :rock:banana:badger:guitar


Thanks for filling in for bbop.

(edited to add: I miss these smileys)

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12 minutes ago, BenitoM said:

Hello, Does anyone know where I may be able to get a poster from this show? I work at the venue and had a great show but was too busy to snag a poster from the merch table. All I see online is scams. Thanks!

You could try the artist - For information about purchasing and commissioning prints, please email Ethan at info@ethandercole.com

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