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In concert: Wilco at Strathmore

WilcoJeff Tweedy and Wilco played a career-spanning 36-song set at Strathmore Tuesday. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Chris Klimek

“Our motto for this tour is ‘Leave ‘em wanting less,’” quipped Wilco executive chef Jeff Tweedy at the Music Center at Strathmore last night. “When you leave here, you’ll be very full.”

He wasn’t kidding. The pacing might have been haphazard, but Tweedy and his five mates served up course after tireless course, a three-dozen-song banquet of art-rock, folk-rock, country-rock, and -- once Nels Cline strapped on that double-necked guitar -- rawk-rock that ran to three hours and excavated tunes from every Wilco album, plus side projects and a gorgeous cover of Big Star’s “Thank You Friends” in memory of Alex Chilton.

(Hey, is that Rahm Emanuel? Plus full set list and more pictures, after the jump.)


The acoustically pristine, not-a-bad-seat-inna-house Strathmore proved an ideal environment in which to savor the group’s musicianship, never sharper than its current six-man lineup. Though Tweedy occasionally lamented (and indulged) the brayed-out song requests, audible throughout the wood-paneled room, the audience - which included White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel - was deferential enough to permit the band a dynamic range impossible in a club or an arena.

The Strathmore is a reverent, not a little churchy kind of place, and revealed sonic details of some performances felt otherworldly in origin: the resigned scrape of Tweedy’s voice on the stunning suite of “Poor Places” and “Reservations,” or Glen Kotche’s storm of percussion on the mournful “Via Chicago.”

Then there was the entire middle act, wherein the band parked itself on the lip of the stage in a ring lit by plain-old floor lamps for a lengthy acoustic set of rarities: “Laminated Cat,” “When the Roses Bloom Again,” “Some Day Some Morning Sometime,” the oldie “Passenger Side.” Wilco in your living room, in effect. The fans didn’t love it when Tweedy started writing about his newly tranquil home life a few years back, but this is one settled-down version of the band we’re lucky to have.


Complete set list
Wilco (The Song) w/ robotic voice introduction of band members
Bull Black Nova
You Are My Face
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
One Wing
A Shot in the Arm
At Least That’s What You Said
Deeper Down
Via Chicago
Impossible Germany
Poor Places

Spiders (Kidsmoke)
When the Roses Bloom Again
Forget the Flowers
California Stars
You and I
Someday Some Morning Sometime
Laminated Cat
When You Wake Up Feeling Old
Passenger Side
Airline to Heaven

Ashes of American Flags (w/ excess Nels - Tweedy, deadpan: "I never heard that ending before. Nels Cline, everybody."
Jesus, Etc. (singalong)
You Never Know
Handshake Drugs
Heavy Metal Drummer
Hate It Here
I’m the Man Who Loves You
Thank You, Friends (Alex Chilton)

Box Full of Letters
Hoodoo Voodoo
I’m a Wheel






By David Malitz  |  March 31, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Wilco  
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People still go to Wilco concerts?

Posted by: agl132 | March 31, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

It sold out in a snap. So yeah, they apparently do.

Posted by: justme27 | March 31, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"People still go to Wilco concerts?"

Yeah, every night, and they sell out! Why be a d**khead man?

Posted by: pcook52 | March 31, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Whoa -- that woman to the left of the photo with Rahm (in the red flannel) is really attractive. Is that some model he hangs out with or something?

Posted by: One_Who_Knows | March 31, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Hard to find a better live band today. An astonishingly good show last eve. Only thing better would have been a more immediate venue like 9:30, I think. Strathmore may be beautiful, but even from my seats center on the floor (not too far from Rahm) there's something removed about it.

In any case, nice review CK.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 31, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

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