October 3, 2011

Wilco @ The Ryman 2011-10-02

Wilco with Nick Lowe - Ryman Auditorium 2011-10-02a

SETLIST: 1.Less Than You Think 2.Art of Almost 3.I Might 4.Black Moon 5.Ashes of American Flags 6.I Am Trying to Break Your Heart 7.Pot Kettle Black 8.Born Alone 9.Side with the Seeds 10.One Sunday Morning 11.I'll Fight 12.Impossible Germany 13.Open Mind 14.Handshake Drugs 15.Dawned on Me 16.Shot in the Arm 17.Hummingbird Encore: 18.Whole Love 19.36 Inches (with Nick Lowe) 20.I Love My Label (with Nick Lowe) 21.California Stars 22.Late Greats 23.Heavy Metal Drummer 24.Red Eyed and Blue 25.I Got You (At the End of he Century)

Wilco put on an incredible show last night at the Ryman Auditorium, even better than I expected--and that's saying a lot! Right from the get-go, the band was on their game, opening with an unexpected "Less Than You Think," which segued into a lengthy bout of pure electronic noise before launching into the terrific new song, "Art of Almost." Whew! And that was just the beginning! The concert was just about exactly perfect, end-to-end. The light show was also amazing, expertly choreographed to the music and augmented with what appeared to be sculptural wads of tissues strung from the rafters, reflecting the spotlights and projections and which, themselves, contained even more lights. It was quite beautiful to look at without distracting too much from what was happening on the stage. Legendary New-Waver, Nick Lowe, was an inspired choice as an opener and his solo acoustic set was charming, funny, suave and debonair—and he joined the band for a couple of encores, which was a lot of fun (photo). Tweedy suggested he should join the band full time: “We could call ourselves WicLo,” he said. Ha-ha. Interestingly, Nels Cline played Duane Allman’s famous gold-top Les Paul on a few songs, borrowed from The Allman Brothers Band Museum in Macon, Georgia—and, I swear, he sounded even more inspired than usual during his extended solo on “Impossible Germany.” Tweedy remarked that they’d taken up a collection to buy it for him, since it made him so happy—but they came up “about nine-hundred-and-ninety-thousand dollars short.” I sort of wish we’d gone the night before (about half their set was completely different) but it was, according to Tweedy, a typical Saturday night in Music City: completely out of control, with pungent “whiffs of vomit” wafting through the air, a lady passed out “with her chin on the stage” and yahoos “dangling from balcony.” Uh, actually I’m probably just as glad to have missed it. Still, Wilco was so damn good it makes me want to quit my job and follow them around, Grateful-Dead-style. Well, that isn’t going to happen—but I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to see them. Wilco just gets better and better. Bravo!

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