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Wilco — 20 August 2023, Nigrán, Spain (Pazo de Urzáiz) [Espazo Fest]

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Honestly I'm not really sure how to report on this show except that it was, well, weird. Not that the vast majority of the attendees probably noticed anything super out of the ordinary, but this is where if you've seen the band more than a handful of times, you could probably tell that something was up. And if you've seen Jeff and Co. as much as this correspondent has, well, you pretty much know that things aren't quite right.


The first clue was that Jeff came out wearing his Daniel Johnston baseball cap and kept it firmly on his head throughout the night, except when doffing it to the crowd a few times. (He never wears a baseball cap during a show, or almost never.) Then at one point, probably after Jeff said something about keeping the lights low, it occurred to me that the lights were indeed unusually low. (You can see the band OK, but even from the front row, it could be tough to see them very clearly.) Oh, and is Jeff not really playing guitar with the level of conviction that he had just a couple of days earlier in Alicante? (Trust me that the shred level was rather muted.) And then the band was done after just one hour, 48 minutes when it clearly had time to play a bit longer (Only the bare minimum of songs off Cruel Country were played, and only one real outlier that hadn't been part of the standard setlist for this tour in Kamera.)


OK, you could maybe say that this was just a "professional show," the kind that happens when a band has been on tour for a while and for whatever reason, everyone is just a little tired or it's a kind of a ho-hum venue or audience and they just kind of get through it. But no, it didn't feel like that either. That's when my friend, who's seen enough gigs to know, mentioned that Jeff might be having or had a migraine. Of course! Dense me took like half the show to realize it, and I have absolutely no inside knowledge or confirmation, but I'd be willing to bet that was the case. In which case, poor Jeff (as if he doesn't have enough to deal with already with his hip, which another friend noticed he seemed to be favoring more tonight).


And, if true, it's really too bad it happened here at the band's final show in Spain on this run and at a rare appearance in Galicia. As Jeff noted, it was a beautiful night for a show — after a week of sweltering conditions in the south, the conditions were cool and clear — and the venue was the grounds of a beautiful pazo, or Galician manor house, that made it feel like the band was playing a country wedding or something.


Additionally, the crowd seemed primed to embrace the band. Before the show, I counted more Wilco T-shirts, and in different styles, than I can ever remember seeing at an overseas gig. And according to one local newspaper report, 3,500 advance tickets were sold, which I think would have been more than any other non-festival show on the tour thus far. All in all, it seemed like a pretty impressive turnout, even though most attendees had to jump through the added hoop of parking off-site in an industrial area more than a couple of miles away and taking shuttle buses to and from the venue.


That audience, however, proved to be perhaps a little less than perfect in some respects. Whether or not it had to do with Jeff or his bandmates' somewhat muted energy level or if a bigger portion of the crowd was there simply to enjoy a social evening in a nice setting, the attendees never really seemed to get together in that great Spanish way with the "olé, olé, olé" chants that the band seems to love so much or even just in a collective mass of enthusiasm. Instead, Jeff — in his longest comments of the evening — had to single out and admonish someone fairly close to the front to his right who was apparently being a little too rambunctious. Before The Late Greats, Jeff pointed in that direction and said, "Hey you, you need to settle down. You're hurting people. ... We're all here to have a good time, and nobody has a good time when someone's jumping on their back. Well, I guess it depends." Jeff graciously, but firmly told the person to either settle down or leave and come back when they had.


It wasn't the only visit to Banter Corner, but certainly the most memorable. Other bits included a mention of the Spanish women's national soccer team — and I say, muchas felicidades a la Roja! — winning the World Cup earlier in the day. Jeff noted that he had also been in Spain on a solo tour when the men's national team last won the global trophy, so "if you want to win the World Cup, you need to invite me." He also had a weird, but amusing little line when he prefaced Heavy Metral Drummer by saying it was a song off Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. "I don't think I've ever introduced it that way before, but that's a fuckin' fact."


Musically, the show went mostly fine — and frankly, if Jeff was indeed battling a migraine, that is pretty impressive that he could still perform as well as he did. The only real noticeable flub came on the second pass through California Stars when Jeff transposed one of the lyrics, as he sometimes does. Unfortunately it came when John was coming in with the harmony vocals and Jeff had to drop out and then apologized to John in the break before they picked up the next verse.


It probably wasn't exactly the Spanish sendoff that Jeff and his bandmates would have preferred — something tells me that would have been along the lines of a rousing "ba ba ba ba" Spiders singalong, fading into an "olé, olé, olé" chant that sent them off into the Galician gloaming — but given everything, it all worked out as well as it probably could have.


Here was the complete setlist, as played (didn't get a look at a printed setlist, so can't say if there were any changes/omissions):


Handshake Drugs

I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart


If I Ever Was A Child

Whole Love



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

Heavy Metal Drummer

A Shot In The Arm


Falling Apart (Right Now)

California Stars

Red-Eyed And Blue>

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

Outtasite (Outta Mind)

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