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.
Today is being called the Super Tuesday of new music because of the abundance of album releases. On my radar: Black Mountain, Superchunk, Walkmen, Vaselines, Mavis Staples and Grinderman.
There were a number of really strong sets the first day of Lollapalooza, and I didn’t even see Lady Gaga’s performance (which reportedly sucked).
The 71-year-old Mavis Staples smoked, introducing some new songs and closing her set with her classic I’ll Take You There. As I suspected, Jeff Tweedy, who produced her upcoming album, joined Staples on stage for a couple of songs.
The slightly younger Jimmy Cliff, 62, also sounded great, playing a high-energy show just before the headliners. I also caught strong sets by the Walkmen, Drive-By Truckers, Devo, Dirty Projectors and the Black Keys.
Trying to stage a comeback, the Strokes needed to give the performance of their career. They didn’t disappoint, opening with a raging version of New York City Cops. It was an interesting choice for an opener. The band removed the song from the U.S. version of its 2001 debut, Is This It, out of respect for the cops on the scene after the September 11 attacks.