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Wilco — 23 October 2023, La Vista, NE (Astro Amphitheater)

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One night after Jeff admitted to struggling a bit with his voice, I'm happy to report that he returned to his usual tendency of not taking a sip of any liquid on stage — which I can only assume meant that he was feeling better in that regard. Not that he didn't have at least one case of vocal difficulties on a lovely Monday night in Nebraska, but at least that was caused by something mental and not physical.


What I'm referring to is Jeff's mind getting ahead of himself during Hummingbird when he came to the lyric, "A fixed bayonet through the great southwest..." I'm not sure if something random occurred to Jeff precisely at that moment, or if his mind for a second maybe considered changing the line to "the great midwest," but whatever it was, the words that came out of his mouth then were basically gobbledygook. It almost caused him to stop the song and start over because clearly he had made a mistake, but he ultimately pushed on and sang the rest of the song without any other snafus.


Then of course, Jeff owned the flub afterward in self-deprecating — and amusing — fashion. "You know, you get tongue-tied up here sometimes," he said. "I don't know what I sang there, but I definitely didn't sing 'the great southwest.' I have a song when I play by myself (Nobody Dies Anymore) that has a line, 'No badge knock on a dark front door," and I swear I once sang, "No fart knock on a fart front door.'"


That was by far the best visit to Banter Corner during tonight's show at the Astro Amphitheater in a suburb of Omaha, not to be confused with the more intimate indoor Astro Theater where the show was originally supposed to be held (which apparently has a capacity of about 2,500). Instead, construction delays on the new venue forced the show to move outside and out back to the amphitheater directly behind it that is significantly bigger (maybe 5,000). An outdoor show in Nebraska in late October could have been troublesome, but fortunately Mother Nature cooperated with an unseasonably warm day and the rain stayed away. "Thanks for inviting us," Jeff said. "This is really nice weather. It's terrifying. But it's good for a show."


Jeff also noted that this was the "second venue we've opened on this tour," the first being the clunkily named Scottsdale Civic Center East Bowl in Arizona — which was Oct. 3, but feels like months ago. "Ever been here before?" Jeff asked the crowd at the Astro. "We're like a test band." (It's unclear if Wilco actually was the first band to play this venue, but since most of the audience hadn't attended a show there before, I guess who's counting.)


For the most part, from a banter standpoint, Jeff otherwise stuck to his strategy of "brief check-ins" with the crowd and occasionally asked if everyone was having a good time. He explained that something had happened about halfway through this tour that told him this was the best way for him to interact with audiences moving forward. "What happened?" someone yelled out. "What happened?" Jeff replied, with Glenn cracking up behind him. "Well, I said some stupid shit into the mike and decided I shouldn't talk anymore."


Musically speaking, of course, my personal highlight was finally getting to hear Levee live. You go to enough shows, and eventually you get lucky, right? Seriously, though, it was getting comical to miss the song every single time I couldn't make a show on this run. Here's hoping our paths collide at least once more the next few days. It was lovely to hear, and to see Jeff playing a bouzouki-shaped guitar on that one. And every time I hear both Meant To Be and Soldier Child, the more those hooks take hold in my head. I suppose that's how a lot of the more recent Wilco albums have worked for me, so I'm not surprised that's been true with Cousin as well.


Of course, it was the older tunes in the band's catalog that most captivated the Astro audience (which judging by some of the conversations I heard in line waiting to get in and before the show started, featured quite a few people seeing Wilco live for the first time, which is always shocking to me). So every time Impossible Germany wows another audience, I have to remember this is why the band plays it every night. Jeff even gave Nels a little tribute afterward tonight as the crowd cheered him, quipping, "Didn't you see the hearts in my eyes?"


As the tour rolls on, I have to remind myself that these shows aren't for me. And that anyone who might gripe about setlists should remember the same. The band is putting on the show it wants to present at this time, and doing so as consistently as possible. Not that there aren't little details that don't keep things at least a little fresh, like the little instrumental intro to California Stars that might have sprung out of a moment a few weeks ago when the start of the song had to be delayed briefly for technical reasons and the rest of the band started to put an almost-exotica little spin on the start. Those little bits keep things interesting for the band, I'm sure, and for at least a few of us watching closely.


Here was the complete setlist, as played, at the Astro Amphitheater (only caught a glimpse of a printed setlist, but it didn't appear there were any changes/omissions):


Infinite Surprise


Handshake Drugs

I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart>


Meant To Be

Side With The Seeds

Soldier Child

Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull



Via Chicago


Impossible Germany

Jesus, etc.


I'm The Man Who Loves You

A Shot In The Arm


Falling Apart (Right Now)

California Stars

Spiders (Kidsmoke)

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21 minutes ago, bböp said:

I can only assume meant that he was feeling better in that regard


You cannot exclude the other possibility Sherlock - that he did wet his pants and decided not to do it again. "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth", and "the truth is out there".


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22 hours ago, Albert Tatlock said:


You cannot exclude the other possibility Sherlock - that he did wet his pants and decided not to do it again. "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth", and "the truth is out there".



Funny, I'm currently reading The Devil and Sherlock Holmes by David Grann for a book club and that quotation just came up. And you are absolutely correct, my dear Tatlock, that this is indeed a possibility. However, in the context of the recounting of a rock concert, it is a possibility (pissability?) that I simply prefer not to discuss...:ninja

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13 minutes ago, 50footqueenie said:

That's a tasty set list. 


And you got Levee at last.


You've been moaning about that for ages and now you're all meh about it. 


Never any pleasing some folk.


I acknowledged it! I am easily pleased...

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3 hours ago, Madcap said:

Have they been doing the Many Worlds coda after VC this tour?  I had to miss the one Riv show this spring where they did it so I'm hoping to see it at the Metro next week!

Mostly they haven’t been. They did it twice in LA, the second of three nights at the Ace and then Night 2 at the Bellwether. Before that it had been since the end of the spring tour in April. They only even played Via once in Europe this summer, at the very last show in Ireland before coming home (nudge, nudge).


Anyway I wouldn’t count on the Many Worlds coda at Metro since I think the intent is to showcase Cousin, but it always could happen…

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