Wilco Will Love You
Their current tour, billed as An Evening With Wilco, just rolled through Bethesda, Maryland. The venue they played, The Music Center at Strathmore, is an intimate and acoustically perfect auditorium. A short text-to-speech introduction prohibited photography, but encourage singing along with the band. The computer voice made another appearance (or the aural equivalent) at the end of the first song, introducing each band musician as the band played flourishes.
For more than an hour after the concert’s 8:15 P.M. beginning, the band played an inspired set that drew from all of its albums. During the noise outro of Poor Place, Jeff Tweedy switched out his electric guitar for an acoustic, morphing the song into Reservations in a manner similar to the songs’ placement on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. As Poor Places gave way to an ethereal close, the stage was suddenly overrun with roadies placing a modest drum kit and small keyboards in front of the band’s other equipment. The band worked an hour’s worth of songs into delicately arranged, textured acoustic interpretations.
That set ended at about 10:00, as the band used Airline to Heaven as a transition back to their electric equipment. At that point, they could have played a few songs and called it a night. It would have been a phenomenal show with plenty of surprises. But that was not to be. Instead, Wilco played for more than an hour, gaining momentum the entire time. The band was in top form, and to name the highlights of the show would take almost as long as the show itself. The set design was another star of the show; a textured white wall and understated lighting served the band without being distracting.
I’ve love Wilco for almost 10 years, and I am happy to say that this show featured their finest performances and fresh takes on their music. I can’t wait until this weekend, when I see them in New Jersey.