I have seen Wilco perform seven times before, but never have I seen them put on a show like they did last night at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. Simply put, Wilco is more vibrant than ever before. Jeff Tweedy appears healthier than Iâ€™ve ever seen him. Iâ€™ve never seen him play so passionately, interact with the fans so personally, or smile so much. If it werenâ€™t for Wilco fine-tuning their music so magnificently, their enthusiasm could have deceived me into believing this was one of their first performances ever as a band.
Wilco performed many of their older songs that they donâ€™t typically play. Perhaps it was the bandâ€™s decision to play their whole discography over a five-day period at Chicagoâ€™s Riviera theater that gave them this new renewed energy. Browsing their setlistâ€™s from other shows though, including those in Chicago, I am led to believe that Wilcoâ€™s performance yesterday was one of their best ever. I would be surprised if it doesnâ€™t eventually become a live album.
The 9:30 Club is a small-medium sized venue, perhaps housing a little less than a thousand people. Tickets for both shows sold out within ten minutes, which means the venue was packed with loyal fans (I mean, I wasnâ€™t even able to pick up a ticket). Of course, many scalpers got their hands on tickets, but only loyal fans would pay the 200-400% increase from face value. With that said, it was awesome to see so many people singing along with songs from Mermaid Avenue, A.M., Being There, and Summer Teeth. At a break, a fan gave Jeff Tweedy a homemade Grammy, as the Foo Fighters robbed the band from the real one. Jeff Tweedy jokingly responded, â€œ Thanks for the Grammy. We already decided we didnâ€™t want one.â€
Nels Cline and Glenn Kotche are amazing musicians and fascinating to watch. I heard that Nels Cline is touring with 16 guitars, and he plays like a crazy man. Glenn Kotche is a phenomenal percussionist, and his creativity in making certain sounds is really entertaining. For example, last night he used a bunch of keys on the end of one of his sticks. I have no idea how he plays so much at one time, but respect him a lot for his talent. You should check out Kotche’s side project, and if you live in NYC, he is doing two solo sets with Bryce Dessner (The National) and Matthew Ritchie on March 13 & 14 at The Kitchen.
Thanks to Vox Populi (good review), here is an almost complete set-list (click “continue reading” to see it). I will be updating the list as soon as possible.