Jump to content

Wilco — 12 March 2024, Brisbane, Australia (Princess Theatre) [Night 1 of 2]

Recommended Posts

Apologies for the delay in getting this one posted, but the jet lag has been real...what can I say? Not to mention it's beautiful outside and one wants to soak up at least a bit of the Australian lifestyle during the day before congregating inside the intimate Princess Theatre in the evening. Anyway, tonight's first Wilco show on Australian soil in nearly a decade was a special one both for the band — and for those in its past, present and perhaps future orbit.


OK, from a setlist perspective, one might look at the list of songs played and simply shrug their shoulders and say, 'Well, it doesn't look all that different from what they played in Japan a few days ago.' Or even since Cousin came out last fall, for that matter. But that wouldn't take into account the feeling in the room — the excitement of the folks from Perth standing next to us who had traveled across the country to see the band live for the first time, the giddiness of those of us who spotted the familiar figure on stage before the show helping Wilco's crew like he used to do and then bringing out guitars to Jeff during the show instead of Jeff's regular guitar tech, the warmth of a Brisbane audience that remembered how to re-engage with the band again for the first time in nearly 14 years.


For those of us old-timers, I guess I should start with the return of Matrix, who Jeff only actually mentioned once during the show but who everyone certainly saw even if they weren't paying attention to him. Matrix, of course, being Jeff's longtime Australian guitar tech, who retired from the road a few years back to be closer to his family in the Brisbane area (in fact, I spotted him walking up to the venue tonight with his daughter, Kitten). It was like old times with him back on stage before the show helping out with various crew tasks, and then when the show began, it was evident that the crew had gotten up to some mischief by arranging to have Matrix bring out Jeff's guitars each time a change was called for throughout the set. Finally Jeff acknowledged it when there was a bit of an unruly fellow in the crowd who kept yelling out for Casino Queen, and Matrix apparently asked Jeff when he brought out a guitar if he wanted him to quiet that guy down.


"There's a lot of people who used to work for us here at the show tonight, and one of them keeps bringing me guitars," Jeff said after Jesus, etc. "He asked me if I wanted him to take care of that guy (requesting Casino Queen). You don't wanna mess with Matrix."


As you might have expected, it seemed like there were more visits to Banter Corner than in Japan (though I wasn't there, I'm assuming this was the case as it usually is when Jeff is back speaking his native tongue). Ever the observer of crowd dynamics, Jeff astutely picked up on the fact that for whatever reason, the mood seemed to lift a bit when security guards toward the front apparently got the go-ahead to start passing out cans of water to those who needed them about halfway through the show. Conveniently, this happened to be right during Hummingbird and Jeff went with the flow, took a can himself and actually appeared to drink more than a few sips (gasp!)


"That was a can of water, by the way," Jeff told the audience afterward. "It's been 20 years since I went to the hospital this month and (I've been drug-free) except for the one Dilaudid when I had my hip surgery recently." Then a woman interrupted him by shouting out, loudly, "Please come back!" Jeff paused, and then replied, "Please come back? We're here! How about tomorrow night?" And then he joked to the rest of the crowd, "Are you OK? I knew I shouldn't have taken that can of water..."


Another funny bit came a bit earlier between Random Name Generator and Muzzle Of Bees when Jeff stepped to the mike with a somewhat sour look on his face and jokingly said he was "told I have to say something to cleanse the palate" because these two songs have totally different tempos. "Are you ready now, Glenn?" Jeff said, looking back at a smirking Glenn. A bit later, Jeff also had a slightly off-putting moment when an audience member noticed his watch glowing and suggested he check it. Jeff looked at it and reported that it said something about "logging your feelings," and that had never happened before. Of course Jeff chose to parlay that into a short bit about how he thought the audience member was suggesting the band had played too long already.


Ultimately, we got a typical Night 1 encore with Spiders (Kidsmoke) to close and I must say that the Brissie crowd did an admirable job keeping the clapping on beat while also doing the "ba ba bas" and even getting some pogos in. Considering there were zero songs from Being There played tonight, I figure we're due for the barnburner encore tonight. It was weird, too, given that it was the first Wilco show in Australia since the release of Star Wars, Schmilco, Ode To Joy, Cruel Country and Cousin that every time a song from one of those records got played tonight I would make a mental note to myself, "First time that was played in Australia."


So we'll see what Night 2 at the Princess has in store. It's a nice and relatively intimate theater (capacity of just over 900) in South Brisbane that dates back to the late 1800s, set in an area now dominated by the enormous Queensland Children's Hospital. But overall, it's quite a nice venue for a rock show. My only complaint is the rail is set a bit far from the front of the stage. I'm not sure why, but it's a bit "too far apart" if you ask me. It's just been great to see some familiar faces, including that of our correspondent on the ground in Japan, theashtraysays, who I'd like to thank for his large-print reports from those shows.


Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 1 in Brisbane (there were no changes/omissions from the printed list):


Hell Is Chrome

Handshake Drugs


I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

If I Ever Was A Child

Side With The Seeds

Random Name Generator

Muzzle Of Bees



Box Full Of Letters

Jesus, etc.

Impossible Germany

Whole Love


Heavy Metal Drummer

The Late Greats

A Shot In The Arm


Via Chicago

California Stars

Spiders (Kidsmoke)

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

^ what he said. 

Indeed a fun, fun night of rock and roll. Loved the room!  Compact stage with a rather shallow floor and small balcony set way back. Sound was pleasantly loud (the big row of subs in front of the stage did the job without being jarring at all) and quite good. Just the right setup for a cozy Wilco show. Hoppin crowd with just a touch of rowdy as mentioned above. 

Tonight’s lyric flub was perhaps a result of a little too much “palate cleansing”, as Jeff totally botched the OPENING LINE of Muzzle of Bees after his comment / Glenn - jab. So we’ll never really know what kind of highway there was. Alas. Still one of my favorite things to hear them play live. 

The canned water (of which I did partake) was a very welcome little treat, as I’m still nursing the last of a lingering cough that showed up in Japan. A little weird to see Jeff with a canned beverage tho. 

Theologians got the little extra closing riff that Jeff sometimes does, which was absent in Japan. And the sustained noise-note at the end of Handshake Drugs seems to keep getting progressively longer with each show these days, leaving the audience in quite an applause conundrum. 

Oh, and Pat has NOT (yet?) shaved the beard. 


  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to Australia Paul, hope to say hello to you when I join the tour in Canberra. If you're in Canberra tonight and looking for something to do in our nation's capital, Peter Garrett of Midnight OIl fame is playing the same venue as Wilco tomorrow night. Plenty of tickets still available. I'll be there!

  • Like 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...