Wilco concerts never disappoint. The band has been known for their long and inclusive shows since the beginning. For the past dozen years with the same six-piece lineup, Jeff Tweedy has created a concert experience that ranges from soft ballads to a very loud, rock and roll sound. He also knows how to mix in the new material with songs from various stages of the band's catalog, which at this point stretches over 25 years and eleven studio albums, not to mention live shows and side projects.
In my area, Wilco has two great venues where it normally plays. The Murat Theatre in downtown Indianapolis and the IU Auditorium in Bloomington. Last night's show at the Murat was in support of their new album, "Ode to Joy." Joining Tweedy was the same group of musicians who have been together for the past six studio album. Bassist John Stirrat is the only original member along with Tweedy, both of them starting Wilco after the demise of Uncle Tupelo in the early 1990s. Glenn Kotche has been on drums for most of this century, followed in the band by multi-instrumentalist Mikael Jorgensen. Jazz guitarist Nels Cline and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone are the "newest" members, each joining fifteen years ago.
As usual, the band played for more than two hours and managed to fit in songs from all but one of their studio albums (nothing from 2011's The Whole Love) and one from the side project Loose Fur.
Here's the setlist I found online today, and it seems to be correct from what I remember.
-I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
-War on War
-If I Ever Was a Child
-Side with the Seeds
-One and a Half Stars
-White Wooden Cross
-Bull Black Nova
-Laminated Cat (Loose Fur)
-Random Name Generator
-We Were Lucky
-Love is Everywhere
-Forget the Flowers
-Box Full of Letters
-I'm the Man Who Loves You
First Encore (sort of... they never left the stage and just said it was time for the encore)
-Hold Me Anyway
Second Encore (This time they left the stage, and many people left. We had to hurry back when realized they were back on stage)
-California Stars (from the Woody Guthrie sessions w/ Billy Bragg)
-The Late Greats
Overall, a great show. They had some new (at least new to me) arrangements for some old songs, including Via Chicago and Reservations, which gave a different feel to familiar tunes. They still play Impossible Germany to allow Nels Cline to have his extended guitar solo. I had been listening to the new album "Ode to Joy" and the live versions make me want to go back to listen to the album again.
The opening band went over well. Deep Sea Diver is Jessica Dobson's band project, after years of solo projects and playing with bands including The Shins.
all photos by Mike Conway