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Wilco — 8 December 2023, Guadalajara, México (Teatro Diana)

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It's almost always fun to see Wilco in a place the band has never played before, at least it is for me (and I assume it is for the guys). Especially in a foreign country, there's a different kind of energy in the audience and it's interesting to see what people respond to and how they respond. With a band that's been around as long as Wilco has, you don't often get to experience being in an audience anymore where you get the sense that the vast majority of those around you are truly seeing it all with fresh eyes.


Certainly that was a marked contrast from how the band had spent the past week or so, which was also spent playing shows in Mexico at their biennial Sky Blue Sky Festival but seemed like a world away from tonight's gig in bustling Guadalajara. The Teatro Diana is a surprisingly big multi-level theater located on a busy street adjacent to a Sears and across from a Walmart that can hold up to 2,345, but probably only had about half that for Wilco by my rough estimate (it didn't look like either of the two balcony levels was open, for example). That said, it was a pretty nice venue for those with seats close to the stage because the stage was relatively low. However, I must say that in the front the sound was pretty miserable without any "fill" speakers whatsoever. I'm sure Jeff's vocals sounded good somewhere in that room, but I can attest that it wasn't from the first few rows.


Then again, maybe it just wasn't the type of room in which sound traveled all that well in general. It just never seemed to me that there was ever a huge crowd roar, if that makes any sense. Even when people were cheering — the occasional "Olé, olé, olé, Wilco" chant sporadically broke out — it always seemed slightly muted to my ears. At least visually the band was able to once again deploy its usual lighting design with the layers of white "fringe" backdrop with projected visuals as opposed to a series of video screens at SBS.


And at any rate, Wilco still took advantage of the indoor theater setting. Even if it was the band's first time ever playing in Guadalajara, Jeff and his bandmates chose to perform a couple of songs off their most recent albums that even some veteran audiences would kill to hear, such as the full Many Worlds off Cruel Country and the delicate Sunlight Ends off Cousin. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention that the tunes I Am My Mother (with its lyric "Dangerous dreams have been detected/streaming over the Southern border") and Cruel Country didn't take on some added resonance hearing them on this side of the divide.


"It's so good to be here, finally," Jeff said about 10 songs into the show, in one of his few extended comments of the evening. "Guadalajara, thanks for inviting us. I can't believe it's taken us 30 years."


Another nice moment came when Jeff invited two members of young Mexican support act Mint Field, who also played at SBS, to come out and sing on Jesus, etc. Vocalist/guitarist Estrella Sanchez took the mike between John and Pat, while bassist Sebastian Neyra stood between Jeff and Nels. Both took the lead vocal on the second verse, got a nice ovation afterward and seemed happy to be there.


I guess you could say that for just about everybody on stage, though. Of course it wasn't playing outdoors along the sea at a resort, but it also was in some ways an even more receptive audience (one that stood from the start and remained standing throughout, I might add). And being in Guadalajara didn't preclude a sense of fun by Jeff and his bandmates, who seemed perhaps even looser at times than they had been on the beach. Jeff trying to roll his Stetson down his arm at one point? Sure. Pat almost falling over while doing his B-bender shenanigans during Falling Apart (Right Now) and having to literally be helped up by John? Yep. Glenn shaking his noisemaker contraption with a little extra gusto on California Stars? Why not.


Once again, I'm not sure how much of this goofiness was lost or appreciated by an audience mostly seeing the band live for the first time but certainly it made for an interesting dynamic. I think, like most crowds, the natural appeal of Wilco comes in fairly obvious moments like Nels' solo on Impossible Germany or "famous" songs like California Stars, but hopefully the band made at least a few fans whose dedication will be more lasting than the various goods hawked by the bootleg merch vendors outside the venue.


Even if they didn’t get Spiders (Kidsmoke) to close out the proceedings, as some had been clamoring for, I'm pretty sure I saw at least a few people pogoing around me on the show-closing Outtasite (Outta Mind), which Jeff audibled to after the weird standalone I Got You (At The Of The Century). No Spiders, no foul. Te amo Tweedy, indeed.


Here was the complete setlist, as played (as mentioned, Spiders was on the printed setlist as the final song of the show but was replaced by Outtasite (Outta Mind)):


Infinite Surprise


I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

If I Ever Was A Child

Sunlight Ends

Handshake Drugs

Many Worlds


Whole Love



How To Fight Loneliness

Impossible Germany

Jesus, etc. (with Estrella Sanchez and Sebastian Neyra of Mint Field on vocals)

The Late Greats

Heavy Metal Drummer

A Shot In The Arm


Falling Apart (Right Now)

California Stars

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

Outtasite (Outta Mind)

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1 hour ago, jw harding said:

The 2nd ever rendition of the full Many Worlds, I believe. Not played since it's Solid Sound debut. Love that song. 

It was the third complete performance of Many Worlds by the full band, I believe. They played it the second night in Iceland to start the encore, but not since then. I hadn’t realized it was quite that rare. Thanks for making me go back and check.

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I love that city. Please tell me the venue was somewhere downtown in the old Spanish architecture and not in some suburb. That's how I want to picture Wilco serenading the tapatios.


(Fun fact: Guadalajara is sister city to my hometown of Denver CO because they have nearly identical elevations and are similar in population).

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7 hours ago, lost highway said:

I love that city. Please tell me the venue was somewhere downtown in the old Spanish architecture and not in some suburb. That's how I want to picture Wilco serenading the tapatios.


(Fun fact: Guadalajara is sister city to my hometown of Denver CO because they have nearly identical elevations and are similar in population).


It was about a 15-minute walk from the Centro Historico. I wouldn't say it was the suburbs by any stretch, but I wouldn't say it was exactly near the old Spanish architecture either. Sort of in a non-descript commerical area adjacent to the historic district.

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  • bböp changed the title to Wilco — 8 December 2023, Guadalajara, México (Teatro Diana)

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