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Wilco — 23 March 2023, Chicago, IL (Riviera Theatre) [Night 1 of 3]

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Let me just say off the top that, while I was extremely honored and humbled to receive the inaugural "Best Behaved" award for Wilco's 2023 tour, I must confess that my immediate thought in the aftermath concerned the parameters of the deal that the gurus at Wilco HQ surely must have made with a grade school products wholesaler. It seems to have started with the appearance of various pencils among the wares being hawked at the band's online store, followed by "Wilco Concert Participant" ribbons in a variety of colors (available at your local merch stand!). And now, apparently, a statuette the likes of which one might have received in fourth grade for excellence and/or participation in a MathCounts or other such academic competition will be awarded at Jeff's discretion as the band makes its way around the country and the globe.


The irony, of course, of my receiving said award was that I was hardly well behaved at all during this first full-band show of 2023. OK, I wasn't live streaming entire songs from the front row or anything, but I did sass Jeff when he voiced his occasional complaint about getting a beard hair stuck in his harmonica during She's A Jar — "You could shave," I quipped, and I don't think he took too kindly to that sentiment — and after the award ceremony, I risked scorn by sending and responding to a text message or two from the front row. I even — gasp! — indulged in not one, but two canned cocktails (that are, btw, about the only palatable thing left to drink at the Riv these days).


And, as I think John pointed out when Jeff had to abort Theologians halfway through, I neglected to inform the band members what key the song should be played in. Sheesh!


It all made for a pretty light-hearted and loose start to what shapes up as a pretty busy touring year for the band, especially with their much-anticipated Iceland residency fast approaching and the third installment of the Sky Blue Sky festival slated for December instead of early next year. This first show back was here in Chicago, which is where we left off last October with the trifecta of hour-long surprise sets on that magical Sunday at Carol's Pub. But whereas those Carol's shows were more of a celebration — an all-day-and-night, honky-tonk shindig if you will — they didn't really allow the band to fully delve into its latest album, Cruel Country. So these shows at the venerable old Riv figure to be the first time quite a few of those Cruel Country songs are actually performed in Chicago.


That said, with no repeated songs promised over the three nights, you knew it wouldn't be all CC, and that was evident from the outset when the band came out and unexpectedly opened with Less Than You Think. Though the closing drone was only around four or five minutes as opposed to 10-plus, Glenn did prominently feature a power drill for much of it and if that doesn't get your juices flowing, then...I guess you need to embrace drone more. A few songs later, Jeff introduced a couple of older songs and we were suddenly back at the Riv circa '96 bopping along to Say You Miss Me and I Must Be High. Then we moved forward an era with Love Is Everywhere (Beware) sandwiched by the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot era-gems Cars Can't Escape and Pot Kettle Black, the latter on which Jeff featured a lovely 12-string acoustic guitar.


More to come...


Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 1 at the Riv:


Less Than You Think

I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

Handshake Drugs

Say You Miss Me

I Must Be High


Cars Can't Escape

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

Pot Kettle Black

Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull

She's A Jar

Forget The Flowers

Theologians (started and restarted)
Ashes Of American Flags

The Lonely 1

How To Fight Loneliness

A Lifetime To Find

California Stars


I'm Always In Love

Red-Eyed And Blue>

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


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I feel that the below belongs in the official show's"After the Show" thread.


from the SunTimes.


Wilco super fan Paul Suwan takes home a trophy presented by Jeff Tweedy during Thursday night’s concert at the Riviera.


Wilco super fan Paul Suwan takes home a trophy presented by Jeff Tweedy during Thursday night’s concert at the Riviera.

Jeff Elbel

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4 hours ago, KevinG said:

I demand nothing less than perfection from your After the Show reports :dance




I am mostly fueled by Tatlock's tas (and Diet Cokes of course), so knowing he won't be immediately settling in for tea-time reading makes me a bit lax. :coffee

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