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Wilco — 20 June 2024, Vienna, VA (Wolf Trap National Park For The Performing Arts [Filene Center])

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Ah, the large-scale summer show at a venue like the venerable Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park For The Performing Arts. So pleasant, so chill, so made for the maximum enjoyment of the maximum number of people. Is it an indoor show? An outdoor show? Would you call it a shed? I don’t know exactly how to describe it, to be honest. I just know I’m glad that I don’t have to see all the artists I like at places like that…


Nothing against Wolf Trap — I’m going to use its common moniker — of course, or places like it such as Ravinia outside of Chicago or Tanglewood outside of Boston. As I said, they were designed to be summertime pastoral retreats for a relatively large number of people to escape to and enjoy music. Wolf Trap has a large wooden covered pavilion with orchestra-level seats as well as a balcony with box seats and more seats behind those, and then a general admission lawn beyond the pavilion, where people arrive early to stake out their spots and picnic before the show. So in general, it’s not necessarily the kind of place that lends itself to a rock show where people are standing and participating the entire time.


Forgive me if I’m being overly judgmental here, but if the row I was sitting in was any indication, this was the kind of place where people want to hear Heavy Metal Drummer and then leave early to beat the traffic. Now I know there were also plenty of serious fans in attendance who stayed “ba ba ba-ing” to the end of Spiders (Kidsmoke), but my point is that with this size and type of venue, the crowd just runs the gamut from casual to diehard and everywhere in between. So it’s hard to get any sort of real feel from the audience, and I imagine Jeff and Co. just trying to entertain as many people for as long as they can.


Thus we got the crowd-pleasing (and somewhat surprising, given recent setlists) Being There opening duo of Misunderstood and Forget The Flowers, followed by the A Ghost Is Born tandem of Handshake Drugs and At Least That’s What You Said. It wasn’t enough to get most people in the orchestra section out of their seats for the duration, but nevertheless made for a rollicking start to the show. That continued along, a few songs later, with Meant To Be, the Cousin closing track that continues to remain on the setlist, and then Theologians complete with the riff ending.


While Jeff didn’t have the best night from a vocal standpoint, obviously flubbing lyrics during I’m Always In Love and Falling Apart (Right Now), he was nevertheless in a relatively chatty mood — though his banter was usually aimed at the mass audience, rather than any single person or group that caught his eye (with the exception of a guy with a crutch during Spiders).


For instance, Jeff complimented the crowd — and the setting as a whole — after Cousin. “You guys look amazing,” he said. “Earlier, when the sun was setting, it looked like the back of a Meat Puppets record. That’s cool.” A few songs later, he commented on his periodic check-ins with the audience: “Every once in a while, I’m gonna ask how you’re doing. Otherwise, we don’t know. It’s in the rule book.”


One of Jeff’s other visits to Banter Corner came after Meant To Be when he joked that it was a good song to play on the day before the Summer Solstice because of the lyric, "Each day is longer than the one before..." and how when he sang the song the next day, that wouldn't be true. Another came when I guess some folks closer to the stage must have been asking about his hip replacement at a rare moment when he actually had to do a little tuning on stage. “You guys know a lot,” Jeff said after If I Ever Was A Child. “Hip’s doing good. Let’s hear it for titanium, though. It looked like I was (getting) a bamboo one until my insurance came through.”


Such is life, I guess, when you open your life up via platforms such as The Tweedy Show and the Starship Casual, and I saw T-shirts from both sported by people at the Wolf Trap gig. But if that is what it takes to bring more people into the Wilco fold at this stage of the band’s career, then I guess Jeff must be willing to endure the occasional personal intrusion. And if more fans bring about more venues like Wolf Trap — from time to time, anyway — then I guess it’s something I can accept. Certainly it didn’t seem like Jeff or the band had any, ahem, reservations.


“It’s been a really wonderful night,” Jeff said near the end of the main set. “Thanks so much for having us.”


Here was the complete setlist, as played (there weren’t any changes/omissions from the printed setlist I saw):



Forget The Flowers

Handshake Drugs

At Least That’s What You Said

I Am My Mother

Cruel Country

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

Meant To Be

If I Ever Was A Child



Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull



Box Full Of Letters

I’m Always In Love

Jesus, etc.

Impossible Germany

Heavy Metal Drummer

A Shot In The Arm


California Stars

Falling Apart (Right Now)

Via Chicago>

Spiders (Kidsmoke)

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Fantastic show! It’s been nearly 5 years since we’ve seen them (my second longest hiatus, first being from birth until I was 5). 
I was so ecstatic when they opened with Misunderstood; it’s been my all-time favorite song since I was 3, and it’s possibly the reason why I’m so passionate about drumming today.

I agree with you about the crowd - there were definitely a fair bit of people there who seemed to just be there to hang out, not enjoy a rock show.

Nonetheless, I certainly had a spectacular time!

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On 6/21/2024 at 11:10 AM, LittleDrummerBoy said:

I was so ecstatic when they opened with Misunderstood; it’s been my all-time favorite song since I was 3,


Your parents must have loved hearing their three-year-old screaming, "I'd like to thank you all for nothing!," not to mention singing about the cigarettes tasting so good.

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55 minutes ago, Brian F. said:


Your parents must have loved hearing their three-year-old screaming, "I'd like to thank you all for nothing!," not to mention singing about the cigarettes tasting so good.

They literally got me to eat my vegetables if they promised to play the “nothing song” afterwards.

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