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Wilco — 17 August 2023, Alicante, Spain (Plaza de Toros)

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Well I guess at this point in Wilco's touring history, it wouldn't be a proper Spanish tour without a show in a bullfighting ring, right? And for good measure, they may as well be in relatively tertiary markets, too. Last year, the band played just such a gig in Murcia. This year's edition took place about an hour's drive away in the very steamy southern coastal city of Alicante, in a setting that was almost a carbon copy of the one from Murcia.


While I don't think you could describe this show as particularly well attended — if they sold more than 1,200 tickets, I'd be surprised — those that did turn out were particularly enthusiastic. It helped that the venue was divided into a few different zones, so that the most ardent fans probably bought tickets for the section closest to the stage and thus were all up close. And that made a difference as the show went along, both in terms of the audience interaction with and response to the band. By the end of the show, if not exactly to Hulk Hogan levels, Jeff was nevertheless actively soliciting the various "olé, olé, olé" chants and other cheers that would break out in the crowd, even lingering on stage a little longer than he ordinarily might.


"I can't get enough of that," he admitted before the start of the encore. "Any Americans here? We need to start that shit at home. That's appreciation, man."


That appreciation also came in physical form from a fan who had brought a small metallic replica of an old-school microphone to give to the band as a trophy of sorts and presented it to them via his young son who he had on his shoulders. (Incidentally, I guess at least more than one parent in the crowd had their kids aloft in some form because at one point Jeff looked out, smiled and joked, "Hold your children up, and I'll say hi to them.") Though the band has apparently stopped handing out nightly "best behaved" trophies to the audience as it did earlier this year, Jeff seemed genuinely touched by this "award" and after Nels informed him that this was the same fan who also had brought the band some pastries earlier in the day, Jeff thanked the man and his son for both, quipped that he always thought that more audiences should bring the band gifts and also clarified — for the record — that he, uh, hadn't confused the microphone trophy for a pastry.


That was certainly the longest visit to Banter Corner for the night, but not the only one — even though the language barrier is real, I guess. That caused Jeff to once again apologize for saying next to nothing for the first half of the set: "Sorry that I haven't said very much. I only know how to say gracias, but I mean it." A little later, after a fan yelled "Wilco for president!" Jeff ran with it a bit and replied, "Are we allowed to run here? OK, we're your new president. God help us all."


Really, though, if it was this crowd determining the result of an election, then Wilco could pretty much be assured of multiple terms. Even by Spanish standards, where the reaction to Jeff and his bandmates is seemingly positive almost everywhere, this Alicante audience just radiated pure adoration.


Musically that adoration really came out during the guitar workouts such as Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull and, of course, Impossible Germany. It's hard to imagine the latter, of course, ever not being an audience favorite here, and this one in particular seemed to be on the verge of singing the riff of the guitar part after Nels' solo where the other guitars come back in and start to play the counterpoint. As for the former, I have to say that the live performance of the Cruel Country cut has really taken off lately. With Glenn's drumming adding a propulsive element to the interplay between Pat and Nels' playing, the jam part of that tune really soars higher than I think it did a year ago when they were still getting a feel for the arrangement.


At the same time, it's been nice that the band has mixed in a few different older songs at each stop thus far in Spain. Tonight, for example, we got the tour debuts of Whole Love, Sunken Treasure and Dawned On Me (with Jeff of course calling a little attention to Nels' double-neck behemoth, as he usually does). The thought sometimes occurs to me at shows over here whether a song like Sunken Treasure that is a personal favorite will ever quite catch on to the level of an Impossible Germany, or if the sentiment is just a little too lyrically oblique.


I suppose that's a question that might never get answered definitively, at least in any kind of substantive way. Not that it really matters. On a sauna-like summer evening at the ol' bullring, I think Wilco could have played just about anything and this crowd would have been pretty cool with it (though hearing Spiders (Kidsmoke) live for the first time did make a perfect show capper for at least a couple of people that I know).


Here was the complete setlist, as played (The Universe was listed as the first song of the encore on the printed setlist, but was replaced by Falling Apart (Right Now)):


Handshake Drugs

Story To Tell

I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart


If I Ever Was A Child

Whole Love


Sunken Treasure

Love Is Everywhere (Beware)

Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull

Random Name Generator

Impossible Germany

Jesus, etc.

Box Full Of Letters

The Late Greats

Dawned On Me

A Shot In The Arm


Falling Apart (Right Now)

California Stars

Spiders (Kidsmoke)

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During the period 2007-2011 i saw Wilco many many times during their tours in Spain. In the following tours i wasnt able to catch them till last year visit to my hometown Murcia. I couldnt be happier as they were still amazing live and they havent stuck in the past, playing many songs of the post Whole Love tour (the last i had seen).


Yesterday in Alicante was pretty much the same. Superb gig, with the best sound in an outdoors Wilco show i have never seen. I remember being thinking during Hummingbird and Dawned On Me in how much i love them and how lucky i have been of watching them so many times.


I finally got to hear Sunken Treasure live, top moment. We didnt get the rock part in the end (I got you etc) but It was a pretty nice ending with California Stars and Spiders.


Not a Big audience but a ver enthusiastic one. 


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6 hours ago, TCP said:

I know the days of the band playing yet-to-be released songs is over but it's interesting that Evicted hasn't found it's way on the setlists yet.


Yeah, I think some of the more hardcore Spanish fans were hoping for at least that one. But Glenn or Nels, I forget who, said on a local Catalan news story about the band that they didn't plan to play any of the Cousin songs until the record was actually out.


To me, it's kind of funny that Jeff shared so many new, unreleased songs on the Tweedy Show, which I commented on at least once, but he said his stance at the time was, "Well, I don't know when — or if — I'll ever get to play them, so why not?" But since the pandemic times have ended and things have somewhat gone back to normal, that stance has also seemingly gone back to pre-pandemic times. :hmm

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6 minutes ago, Albert Tatlock said:


Now go and have a well earned Costa del Sol All Day English Breakfast with an extra portion of chips.


Wish I could, but I gotta catch (two) flights to Galicia! No rest for the harried correspondencia. ;)

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5 hours ago, Albert Tatlock said:


Now go and have a well earned Costa del Sol All Day English Breakfast with an extra portion of chips.

Also, very polite applause from our hero.



LOL - you can see what he's thinking - 'this band is OK, but...'

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