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Wilco — 27 August 2022, New Haven, CT (Westville Music Bowl)


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Being marooned on Martha's Vineyard for the weekend (I know there are far worse places to be marooned), I couldn't make it to this one in person, though I know a handful of people who did. And all I can say is, damn, you guys got Kicking Television! I had heard the band had been working on it in soundcheck in some of the shows leading up to this one and that it had been on the printed setlist for the New Hampshire show two nights earlier, but scrapped due to time constraints. So I figured it had to be coming somewhere along the line...and I guess this was the night. Here's hoping it's not the only one...

 

Reports welcome from those who attended in person.

 

For now, here was the complete setlist according to Wilcoworld (notations and encore break are my assumptions based on other shows):

 

Handshake Drugs

I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

Hints

War On War

If I Ever Was A Child

Via Chicago>

Many Worlds (coda only)
Story To Tell

Hummingbird

Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull

Hearts Hard To Find

Jesus, etc.

Impossible Germany

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

California Stars

A Lifetime To Find

Box Full Of Letters

Spiders (Kidsmoke)

-----------------------------------------------

Falling Apart (Right Now)

I Got You (At The End Of The Century)

Kicking Television

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Was a fun show for sure, was not expecting to hear Kicking Television. Never heard that one live before.

 

Jeff messed up during Hummingbird and botched a few lyrics which got the band and crowd laughing.

 

He also tried to get John to solo sing a verse in California Stars as part of everyone getting a solo and John sort of half did it and laughed through it but got a cheer from the audience when he finally sang. 

 

Before Box Full of Letters Jeff referenced they were going to do a song from their first album and someone yelled for(I think) the punk rock version of Passenger Side to which Jeff responded "its all punk rock. What's more punk than doing a bunch of midtempo rock in a stadium? Fuck you!" And then he mimed an "I'm sorry" while the song started.

 

The venue is fun, the turf field is very soft. $35 for parking felt like gouging though. I slightly preferred the New Hampshire show a few days prior even though that venue was very Live Nation corporate, just seemed like the band gelled a little more that night than this one, although I definitely preferred Built to Spill to Mt. Joy.

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Wilco and Built to Spill are the two bands I’ve seen live the most, so this was a dream bill for me. First time at the venue and was slightly disappointed after reading glowing reviews that said “no bad seats”. I’m normally a floor person but my companion wanted to sit so we were on the upper side of the (small) stadium where the sound had a noticeable echo. Halfway through we moved to open seats in the center where the sound was much better. Something to keep in mind for the future. 
 

After seeing Built to Spill only headline rock clubs, playing to a half-full outdoor stadium in the daylight was underwhelming. They played well and some people were into it, but it wasn’t translating to the upper areas. I’m sure it was better on the floor. 
 

Wilco were excellent. Out of the 20+ shows I’ve attended of theirs, I’d say this was somewhere in the middle, which is still great. Impossible Germany always kills, but this was a particularly good version. I love Spiders, but was glad to see it retired years ago because it sounded like it was getting stale for them. Well, giving it a long break did wonders, because it was the best version of it I’ve ever heard. They’re really squeezing everything they can out of the arrangement and the interplay between the instruments reached that telepathic level that keeps me coming back. 

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Oh, and was very excited that they closed with Kicking Television. I was fully expecting Outta Mind (which I love but have heard countless times). I’ve maaaybe seen them do it once, so it was a real treat. Great, high-energy version, too. 

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Kicking Television was an amazing treat - apparently not played since 2014? I had never seen it that's for sure. It also was a great punk payoff for a Banter earlier in the evening when Jeff said something like "Playing all mid-tempo numbers at an outdoor show - that IS punk rock, Bitch!" Nels was literally pogoing during KT. 

The other most memorable Jeff riff, which I wont be able to do justice to, is during his egging on of the audience to clap during Spiders, in a nod to the New Haven locale, that he had studied "Rock Show Audience Participation" at Yale from "Professor David Lee Roth". And then he did a parody of the "I CANT HEAR YOU!" standard rocker stuff he is always sending up. 

The show being bracketed by Handshake Drugs and Spiders is very satisfying. I wonder if Spiders made its way back because of its excellent use in "THE BEAR."

The bass was up high (by accident?) on War on War, which was a cool sound. 

There was a brief sprinkle of rain about halfway through the two hours, keeping Jeff's rainmaker magic alive. (I have seen rain at about half of my outdoor Wilco shows)

Also, Nels reinvented Impossible Germany guitar solo yet again -- not being a guitarist, the only way I can describe it is that he was sort of playing twice as many notes as usual? So it was more dynamic instead of laid back? 

Jeff also referred to his recent 55th birthday celebration being behind him, so "Our national nightmare is over." 

Oh, also he forgot the words to California Stars, so John had to carry it for a verse. The perils of being over 55, I guess. 

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26 minutes ago, TweedyShowFan said:

Kicking Television was an amazing treat - apparently not played since 2014? I had never seen it that's for sure. It also was a great punk payoff for a Banter earlier in the evening when Jeff said something like "Playing all mid-tempo numbers at an outdoor show - that IS punk rock, Bitch!" Nels was literally pogoing during KT. 


But the all-important question…were you pogoing? :hyper

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7 hours ago, TweedyShowFan said:

Oh, also he forgot the words to California Stars, so John had to carry it for a verse. The perils of being over 55, I guess. 

 

After the song Jeff said "We talked about it... we didn't confirm anything." I don't think Jeff forgot the words, I think he was prompting John to take a solo verse, and John was taken by surprise and wasn't ready to take over in time.

Jeff also explained the stage backdrop doily is poisonous flowers including poison sumac - "Watch out for that doily." Then he said A Lifetime to Find is a conversation with death which has a long tradition in folk music, and is a topic that is worthy of being explored for the rest of everyone's lives.

The Spiders banter also included a bit about how the beat is "yours, it's your heartbeat, it's your fucking life, don't let go of it, it's yours. That's right, you can even sing it if you like, it's yours."

In Hummingbird, instead of "Gray fountain spray.." Jeff sang "The great Milky Way.." And after the song he spoke the correct line... "I know the words!" Between Hummingbird and Bird Without a Tail, Jeff said "That's, they're all true stories..especially this one. It's from the 15th century."

As for parking.... a few blocks north was free street parking. The first couple blocks from the venue was permit parking only but beyond that, no problems.
 

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