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Wilco — 24 June 2024, New York, NY (Beacon Theatre) [Night 3 of 3]

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Midway through the final night of a three-night run at the Beacon Theatre, during one of his sporadic audience check-ins, Jeff got interrupted by some louder-than-usual song requests shouted from the crowd. He has, by now, perfected his method of dealing with rogue requests, telling the requesters that they must fill out the “requisite forms” on Wilco’s Web site.


“I think it’s a pretty good way to do it,” Jeff said. “We’ll get to all the songs some of you want to hear.”


What was clear — and I think Jeff himself even said at one point, if not in so many words — was that he and his bandmates enjoyed getting to come to New York for a few days and play their music for sold-out crowds in a nice theater. (Perhaps Jeff didn’t enjoy so much the audience member who mistook his hair for a hat, but that’s another story that we probably don’t have time to get into here.)


At any rate, I suppose that the vast majority of those crowds at the Beacon enjoyed attending the shows just as much as the Wilco men did playing them, though again while most of the folks on the floor tonight that I could see stood up from the start, only a fraction of them in my eyeline seemed to show consistently visible signs of life. And in my humble opinion, what’s the point of standing if you’re just gonna cross your arms and not move a muscle? (During a moment of distraction, I admit my mind briefly wandered to the famous Bruce Springsteen admonition, “Is anybody alive out there?” And then I wondered what Bruce, as a younger man, would have been like as an audience member at one of his shows. Would he have been “low key” like Jeff? But I digress…)


For those who might have been expecting a few more nuggets on Night 3, well, they probably walked away slightly disappointed. There were only four songs — Muzzle Of Bees, You And I, Ashes Of American Flags and Monday — that hadn’t been played at either of the other two shows. Of Muzzle, Jeff alluded to all the recent talk about the 20th anniversary of A Ghost Is Born when he introduced it by saying, “This song came out 20 years ago. That’s what they say.”


As for two of the other non-repeated tunes, they came in the encore. Ashes was a nice surprise to lead things off and to lead right into an accelerated version of Spiders (Kidsmoke), which culminated in the usual audience clapping and “ba ba bas.” Jeff tried to up the stakes, as he usually does, by saying no one was too cool to participate, that the crowd could do better than the Saturday night audience before admitting they didn’t play the song on Saturday and then finally pausing for a moment and bringing everyone back together for one last unified chant. But surprisingly, the show wasn’t over yet because Jeff — as he doesn’t always do — took the opportunity to play Monday on a Monday night (but sadly, cut the ensuing Outtasite (Outta Mind), which was on the printed setlist).


In terms of visits to Banter Corner, Jeff didn’t swing by too much on this final night at the Beacon. Must have been saving his strength for the upcoming Solid Sound Festival. He did have a moment with Nels toward the end and after Impossible Germany, though, staying more over toward Nels’ side even after the conclusion of the guitarist’s solo when Jeff usually drifts back to the center of the stage to play with Pat for a bit. Jeff and Nels exchanged a few words after the song as Jeff gestured toward Nels to receive the deserved round of applause and then the two shared a brief hug, which doesn’t always happen. “You keep playing like that, we’re gonna buy you a new guitar, one that’s not so beat up,” Jeff said to Nels, who had a good laugh.


And one other amusing moment came after You And I when a guy toward the front must have apparently said something or requested a song that Jeff heard and responded by gently calling him out and reminding him he wasn’t at a Neil Young show. It happened right at the moment when Jeff’s guitar tech brought out a black guitar, either a Gibson or Epiphone Les Paul I think, that was reminiscent of Neil’s “Old Black,” and Jeff reiterated it wasn’t a Neil show but he was going to use this guitar, which he then did to great effect on I’m Always In Love (though there were a few lyric struggles, ahem).


So now it’s onto Solid Sound, and specifically this much-anticipated “Deep Cuts” set. Will we see some truly “out there” tunes, or more likely album tracks that haven’t been played as often over the years? None of the shows on Wilco’s summer tour so far have really given much indication of what Jeff and Co. have in store, so I guess we’ll all just have to pile into a field in North Adams, Mass., on Friday night and find out for ourselves.


Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 3 at the Beacon (as mentioned, Outtasite (Outta Mind) was listed as the final song on the printed setlist, but wasn’t played):


Via Chicago

Infinite Surprise

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

Muzzle Of Bees

You And I

I’m Always In Love


Forget The Flowers

Bird Without A Tail/Base Of My Skull



Impossible Germany

Jesus, etc.

Heavy Metal Drummer

A Shot In The Arm


Ashes Of American Flags>

Spiders (Kidsmoke)


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1 hour ago, bböp said:

only a fraction of them in my eyeline seemed to show consistently visible signs of life

Ta. I suggest you get in the habit of prodding them in the buttocks as a precautionary measure. You might just save someone's life.

On tenderhooks for the deep cuts, cough, Unwelcome Guest, cough. (John can sing - JT do the harmonies).

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I heard they're going to do a "Deepest Cuts" set in a secret location, with the set list consisting of only "Half Life" and "I Can't."


...But seriously, at some point, they need to play "I Might" followed by "I Can't." I think they're saving that combo for the Mixed Messages Tour.

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