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Wilco — 13 March 2024, Brisbane, Australia (Princess Theatre) [Night 2 of 2]

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[Would've gotten this filed much sooner if I hadn't literally gotten back to my room last night after the show and had my head immediately sent a-spinning by the announcement of the new tour dates and all the pre-sales going live within the next hour or two, not to mention having to pack and get up and out for an early flight to the next city, so I once again apologize for the delay in posting. And thank goodness for an off day, so I can catch up before falling too far behind. I'll get it together, eventually...]


When it comes down to it, what am I going to remember about Night 2 in Brisbane? Honestly, that it was a pretty similar experience as Night 1 except that the powers-that-be at the Princess Theatre actually moved the barricade slightly closer to the stage, which I don't remember ever happening at a venue before. (This was told to us by possibly the friendliest security guard in history, who chatted with some of us early queuers before the show and even shook some of our hands and told us to have a good show. He said he admired that we seemed to know the words to the songs and shared that he hadn't been familiar with Wilco before the previous night's show, but thought Jeff and Co. were a very good band).


Unlike the first night, however, there wasn't a delivery of canned water by security — at least not until much later in the set, possibly — that seemed to perk up the audience. Both the crowd and the band in general seemed to be slightly more subdued than on the first night. Maybe there was a little natural comedown from that initial wave of excitement surrounding their first performance in Australia in 11 years, or maybe it was just the natural rush of trying fit all of the songs they wanted to play into the allotted time, but for whatever reason, Jeff wasn't nearly as chatty as a night earlier.


He didn't say anything until nine songs in when he introduced Cousin by joking about how someone had yelled out the previous night, "Come back!" and Jeff replied, "Here we are, and here's the title track from our newest album." A couple of songs later, after watching Pat and Nels dazzle the crowd with their guitar duel on Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull — the first performance of that song in Australia — Jeff looked back and forth at the two of them and quipped, "The sad part is they don't get along." Glenn, somewhat uncharacteristically but with a big smile on his face, followed that up with a rim shot, and Jeff looked back at him and immediately gestured toward the drummer and told the audience, jokingly, "We really don't get along."


That was, almost certainly, the most amusing visit to Banter Corner on this night. Whether it was just reticence or a matter of time, Jeff really didn't have too much else to say for the duration of the show other than one brief moment toward the end of main set when he told the audience, "I'm glad we came back. We missed you."


Instead, we got a setlist that featured 13 different songs than Night 1 (out of a 23-song set) and if it wasn't exactly the full-on 25th anniversary celebration of Summerteeth or deeper dive into Cruel Country or Cousin that some might have hoped for, well, I'd say it was still pretty good variety for a place the band hasn't performed in more than a decade. And within the nooks and crannies of every setlist, there are always gems such as Sunken Treasure that I personally will never get tired of hearing — and I think people who don't get to see them as frequently maybe don't realize how relatively rare they are (even though I think it was the same annoying-voiced guy who was ticking off Jeff with his Casino Queen requests a night earlier chose just before Sunken Treasure to make an ill-timed Passenger Side request tonight, which caused a brief eye roll from Jeff).


Once again, we had hometown hero and former guitar tech Matrix back on the Wilcrew for the night. He helped with all aspects of the stage setup and breakdown before and after the show and once again took on his old role of bringing Jeff his guitars between songs, but fortunately wasn't called into action to deal with any hecklers (or annoying song requesters, as it were). Actually, Jeff didn't even say anything about Matrix tonight so I guess it was just a case of "If you know, you know."


You knew after the Spiders ending on Night 1 that we were almost certainly headed for the "rock songs, etc." conclusion on Night 2, but even then, you're never quite sure how that will play out. As it turned out, they must have been some concern about running over the 11 p.m. curfew, so they cut Red-Eyed And Blue from the printed setlist and launched into I Got You (At The End Of The Century) straightaway after Falling Apart (Right Now), which always makes for a bit of a jarring transition. Those two songs — Red-Eyed and I Got You — really work best together and a build-up and release, don't you think? Ah well. I guess it was ultimately for a good reason because we got I'm A Wheel added on as the last song of the show, which wasn't on the printed list.


Oddly enough, another cut off the printed list was I Must Be High which was slated to be played between Jesus, etc. and Heavy Metal Drummer. I suppose it makes sense to try and squeeze an A.M. cut in the set somewhere, but I think that one at that point in the set would have been a surprise — albeit a pleasant one — to me.


So that was it for the band's long-awaited return to bustling Brisbane, which seems to be growing by the day. Here's hoping that Jeff and his bandmates return here again before the Summer Olympics arrive in 2032, and I would certainly not complain if they played the Princess Theatre for multiple nights again. What a nice, intimate venue in which to see the band, I believe the first time it has played a venue in Brisbane other than the more spacious Tivoli (and on the very same night that Teenage Fanclub was also in town, at the even tinier Triffid...what are the odds?). Maybe next time we'll even get more of a full-on rock show going from the Brissie audience, befitting Aussie traditions. The band did its part at the end of Night 2.


Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 2 in Brisbane (as mentioned, Red-Eyed And Blue was on the printed setlist in the encore but wasn't played, replaced by I'm A Wheel, which wasn't listed but was plahyed as the last song; meanwhile, I Must Be High was on the printed list in the main set but wasn't played):


Infinite Surprise

At Least That's What You Said

Handshake Drugs

Story To Tell

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart>

One Wing

How To Fight Loneliness



Sunken Treasure

Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull


Impossible Germany

Jesus, etc.

Heavy Metal Drummer>

I'm The Man Who Loves You

The Late Greats

A Shot In The Arm


Falling Apart (Right Now)

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

Outtasite (Outta Mind)

I'm A Wheel

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One thing I've often wondered. Do people in Sydney just call it 'the Harbour Bridge'?


Also, heard this by accident on the radio for the second time when it was repeated recently. Someone has recorded it. There is an Australian connection so thought I'd post it here. Ray Davies performs and co-wrote it. 



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12 hours ago, knotgreen said:

Interesting how AGIB-heavy these sets have been. Gearing up for Friday night's SSF show, perhaps? 

Safe travels, Setlist Jotter!


Yeah, I took note of that as well. Who knows, but it is moderately interesting...

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I visited the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary earlier in the day and lo and behold, Glenn is in front of me buying tickets for the Koala hold. So I got to see him hand-feeding some roos and posing for a picture while holding a koala. Absolutely adorable!

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Deeper setlist, closer rail, laid-backer crowd. 
That’s pretty much the story there for night 2 imho. Give me a Sunken Treasure and a How to Fight Loneliness and it’s a good night for me. We could tell that the crowd wasn’t going to be as rabid as night one while we were out on the sidewalk, as the line at 15 minutes till doors was nowhere near what it was the night before. Not a bad crowd at all (unless you were the opener - see below), just not as much excitement flowing back to the stage I thought. But a funner show at least for me in terms of setlist selection. 

About that opener - Leah Senior. She’s a pretty typical Jeff-friendly female folk rock indie singer songwriter, playing acoustic guitar and piano. She had two others with her for various songs - an electric guitar player and (more sparsely used) backup singer. Those two had to be brother and sister in my book. Her songs were pleasant enough, and the night one crowd was reasonably respectful, save for the couple songs she chose to perform purely solo acoustic.  For night 2 she decided to forego the solo songs and keep things a bit more upbeat with a fuller band staying up there. But the talkers toward the back of the room had also upped their game, and you could see a bit of annoyed frustration on her face as some of her songs hit quiet spots. She deserved better I thought. But a GA room with bars in the back are gonna be tough for openers and that’s just the way it is I suppose. 

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