Jump to content

Wilco — 6 March 2024, Tokyo, Japan (EX Theater)

Recommended Posts

Unfortunately I’m not able to be in Japan for Wilco’s once-in-a-decade run of shows in that special land, but I know we have at least one correspondent on the ground there, so I’m just going to start this thread and let him go take the reportage reins for a few days…


For now, thanks to the good folks at Wilcoworld, here was the complete setlist for the band’s first show in Japan on this short run:


Infinite Surprise


Handshake Drugs

I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

One Wing

If I Ever Was A Child



Via Chicago

Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull


Impossible Germany

Jesus, etc.

Heavy Metal Drummer

Box Full Of Letters

Whole Love

The Late Greats

A Shot In The Arm


Falling Apart (Right Now)

Spiders (Kidsmoke)

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • bböp changed the title to Wilco — 6 March 2024, Tokyo, Japan (EX Theater)

Many thanks to bbop for starting the thread.  As I don’t have a laptop with me this trip, it was nice to get that head start so my thumbs wouldn’t have quite so much to do.  So here goes…


I was fortunate to make the trek to Japan to catch Wilco playing here for the first time in about ten years, and the opening night got off to a rousing start. 

The EX theater in the Roppongi neighborhood is a very nice modern room, with a high ceiling and deep set small seated balcony overlooking a wide standing floor that was tiered at least one level about halfway back with a rail. Terrific sound, even up front and without lip speakers on the stage. 

GA in Japan is well, different. There were two kinds of GA tickets (plus reserved balcony seats): one kind that only local Japanese folks could buy, which went on sale weeks before the second kind for foreigners could buy. The local tix had to be converted at convenience stores into numbered paper tickets, while the other tickets just had a QR code from the email. Doors opened 30 minutes ahead of music. At the door, the numberd tickets were admitted in sequence in groups of ten. Once the first 900 numbered tickets went in they started allowing the QR code people in. It allowed the locals to get in first which was good. Now, if you were clever enough to have a local buy tickets for you, you could get in early, and once you were in then it was just regular GA with no further policing.  30 minutes is not enough time to get everyone in through a single door, and I for one missed a couple songs. Other than that it was a clever way of admitting.  How the numbers got assigned was a bit of a mystery; seemed to be based on how fast you bought the ticket went they went on sale. 

The other notable entry process point was that there was minimal security.   O m teal detectors, no pat downs, no screening for water bottles, etc. In fact, folks went in with backpacks,  even saw a small roller suitcase or two.  The venue had lockers inside where, for a couple bucks, you could stash all your belongings and coats (it was hella cold) to watch the show. 


Oh, one more thing about the ticket / entry process.  In addition to the ticket, everyone had to buy a “drink ticket” for about $4 on the way in.  That could get you a water or a beer or maybe a mixed drink. There were a few stations with water but unfortunately there was only one single-thread bar which made the prospect of getting an actual drink pretty much impossible. Weird. 


On to the show… Finom opened up at 630 sharp, with Spencer on drums with Sima and Mayci on guitars.  Great set featuring their more “well known” (to us anyway) songs plus a new song Haircut that was just released that day. Catchy little ear worm that one.  

Wilco comes on at 730 sharp, starting off with a set that picks up right where they left off from their west coast run pre-surgery. The crowd is respectful but still energetic and appreciative, with quite a few fans knowing all the words. Jeff makes his requisite lyric flub early on in Handshake Drugs, giving that familiar sheepish smile to his bandmates. They rip through the set and the crowd seems to be getting more and more into it as they go, especially with the “hits” and of course Impossible Germany.  

One woman named Yuko (who was friends with our Japanese companion Shinobu) had made a very nice fabric sign that said “WILCOME BACK TO UNLIKELY JAPAN” and hung it over the front rail, which got smiles from the whole band. Speaking of the band, the rumors are true that Pat is rocking the Santa Claus white beard again, and it looked to me like Glenn had gotten a bit of a haircut but the locks are still there so  rest assured ladies. 

Hip report - to me, it seemed like Jeff was back in the proverbial saddle, with plenty of stage wandering and even the jog-dance for Hummingbird.  Nice to see that.

What about the banter, you may ask… well, it was sparse as one might expect in a foreign land.  Jeff apologized for the long absence “we’ve put out five records since we were here last and that’s too long.  Sorry about that.” Ahead of Box Full of Letters he said “This is a song that came out about 30 records ago… we’re gonna try to represent them all.” (Spoiler - they didn’t). There were lots of “Arigato’s” along the way throughout the evening but not much else. 

As the band came back for the encore, Glenn acted like he was going up to Jeff’s mic to say something, but then just slipped back to his kit.  Jeff asked him “do you have something to say Glenn?”, to which Glenn just replied “arigato”. 

The show ended with Spiders, during which Jeff started the clap sequence saying “can we do this?” before shifting to a Jeff - prompted “pah pah para” and a “you can do this!” and finally “you’re pretty good!” (which they/we really were!).

Oh, the printed setlist had cali stars in the main set, as well as I Got You / Outtasite / Wheel that were all cut.  The show ended at 930. Seemed like an early curfew but that was it.  

Till next time…. 


  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/7/2024 at 3:57 PM, bböp said:

Unfortunately I’m not able to be in Japan for Wilco’s once-in-a-decade run of shows


A Wilco Rubadub Club member and an Ultra Swiftie. Decisions, decisions . . .

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...