WILCO @ FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | 1/19/12
"I'd like to thank the Fillmore for having us back," Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy told a capacity crowd last night. "It's a pretty sweet joint you got here. It's a good rock and roll joint with chandeliers. I don't think anything rocks without chandeliers. It's just where I am in my life. I need a fucking chandelier to rock."
While the band did bring the rock, particularly during the eight-song encore, Tweedy and company eased into the set, opening with "Poor Places," which started fairly tame and ended in a crescendo of swirling feedback. Following with "Art of Almost," from the band's latest effort, The Whole Love, the band locked into a riff-heavy groove near the end with guitarist Nels Cline digging into one his many fiery solos of the night.
Throughout the night, Wilco dug into another five songs from The Whole Love, attacking them with similar fervor, especially notably rocking takes of "I Might" and "Dawned on Me." The bouncy shuffle of "Capitol City" recalled Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman, while "Whole Love" had a buoyant playfulness.
After touring a fair amount already with The Whole Love, the band clearly has a good handle on the new material, but the older songs were just as compelling, maybe even more so. "Misunderstood," from 1996's Being There, and "She's a Jar," from 1999's Summerteeth, were fine renditions early in the set, even if Tweedy did jack up the harmonica part of "She's a Jar."
"I know a poor craftsman blames his tools," Tweedy said after the song. "That was a bad harmonica. That was not my fault. There's something wrong with that harmonica. I mean, that's such a simple part. Who could mess that up? Jeff Tweedy did, that's right."
But Wilco more than made up for it on "Impossible Germany." Sure, the band usually plays the hell out of it, and it's become a staple of the band's shows, but there's always something kind of magical when Cline takes his guitar solos. Last night the solo opened the same way it does on 2007's Sky Blue Sky, with flashes of Tom Verlaine's playing seeping through. But that was just a launch point, and pretty soon the guy was knee-deep into a insane solo filled with flutters and tremolo picking high on the neck of his Jazzmaster with his neck and shoulders tightened up.
Then Cline played a riff that cued Tweedy and Pat Sansone, who were facing each other to start playing their repetitive harmonized riffs, while Cline guitar playing intensified. When he finished soloing there was a thunderous applause. The guy standing next to me proclaimed, "That was ridiculous." Indeed.
While the crowd seemed a bit restrained for the most part throughout the night, sometimes just bobbing heads and mouthing lyrics, there were moments where the band summonsed some strong reactions from the audience members, like when Wilco closed out the first set with a righteous take on "A Shot in the Arm" which had some folks pumping their fists and singing along to the lines "something in my veins bloodier than blood."
The eight-song encore was particularly energetic. Closing out the night with a feverish one-two-three punch of "I Got You (At The End of the Century)," "Outtasite (Outta Mind)" and "I'm a Wheel" was a hell of way to close out the two-hour long show.
Austin's White Denim opened the night with a solid half-hour set, walking the line between jam and progressive and a bit of indie rock. While it was a slightly bizarre mix of genres, it somehow worked. With two guitarists who both had serious chops, the guys stretched out a few cuts.
Personal Bias: While Wilco has songs they play at every show, the band always seems to add something fresh to them. I just wished the band played "Handshake Drugs."
Random Detail: There was a creepy brown macramé owl that blinked hanging near Cline's amp.
By the Way: Just before starting the encore, Tweedy, "I don't know if we've started a lot of tours here, but I can really feel this altitude in my haunches."
Wilco Fillmore Auditorium - 1/19/12 Denver, CO
Poor Places Art Of Almost I Might Misunderstood Side With The Seeds I Am Trying to Break Your Heart One Wing She's A Jar Impossible Germany Via Chicago Kamera Born Alone Capitol City War On War Box Full Of Letters Pot Kettle Black Dawned On Me A Shot in the Arm
Whole Love Heavy Metal Drummer Walken I'm The Man Who Loves You Red-Eyed and Blue I Got You (At The End of the Century) Outtasite (Outta Mind) I'm a Wheel
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