Wilco kicked off a week full of performances in Chicago with a big show at the Civic Opera House Monday night. Playing almost 30 songs, the band ran through its catalog from A.M. to its newest album, The Whole Love. The band drew heavily from both The Whole Love and the classic Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, playing more than half the songs off each album. (Only one song from the brilliant Summerteeth was played – Shot in the Arm.) The new songs worked their way into the set seamlessly alongside Wilco classics. Almost every song seemed to be played with added vigor, contributing to an even bigger sound in the acoustically blessed venue. The stage’s wintery backdrop gave the show a theatrical feel.
It was a great start to what promises to be an exciting string of shows in Wilco’s hometown. The two-hour concert was punctuated by two encores. For the final encore, opener Nick Lowe joined the band to play his late ’70s hit Cruel to Be Kind and Mavis Staples came out to sing You Are Not Alone from her Jeff Tweedy-produced album from last year. To finish up, Staples and Lowe joined Wilco for a cover of The Band’s song The Weight, sending boomers in the audience into a frenzy.
XRT just posted a clip of the first song from last night’s show, One Sunday Morning, on YouTube:
For last night’s set list, click here.
Wilco’s The Whole Love isn’t as cohesive as the band’s two best albums, Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Indeed, it doesn’t rank among the very best Wilco albums, but it is the strongest release the band has put out in years. Rather than a thematic offering, The Whole Love seems like more of a collection of songs spanning the band’s various styles over the years. There’s nothing wrong with that. I like the album so much that it will rank second on my list of top albums this year behind Girls’ Father, Son, Holy Ghost. (Look for the list this week.)
Wilco starts a five-night stand in Chicago tonight, playing the Civic Opera House. I’m excited about the show as this is a new and unorthodox venue. The band previously played some great shows at another historic setting, Auditorium Theatre, several years ago. After tonight, Wilco plays the Riv, the Vic, Metro and Lincoln Hall. Nick Lowe opens tonight. There will be different opening acts throughout the week.
Check out Wilco’s new video for Born Alone, a song off the upcoming album The Whole Love. The album is set for release September 27 and you can pre-order here. A new Wilco album is cause to rejoice and Chicago fans have another reason to celebrate: A homecoming show at Civic Opera House December 16.
Jeff Tweedy just played at the Hideout for the book release of Dan Sinker’s The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel. Tweedy performed a great version of the Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling. Take a look: