Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wilco at the Beacon Theatre

Jeff Tweedy
Jeff Tweedy began playing guitar when he was 12, after a bicycle accident caused him to recover at home in Belleville, Illinois. Two years later, he befriended schoolmate Jay Farrar. In the early 1980s,they played together in a rockabilly band called the Plebes, which became the Primitives in 1984, and evolved into the alternative country band Uncle Tupelo in 1986. Conflicts peaked between Tweedy and Farrar after Uncle Tupelo's fourth studio album, and so in 1994 Ferrar left to form Son Volt and Tweedy gathered the remaining band members and formed Wilco, named after the military and commercial aviation radio voice abbreviation for "will comply." Wilco changed personnel several times, but since 2004 has consisted of original members Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt, along with guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, keyboard player Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche. Wilco released its 10th studio album, Schmilco, on September 9, 2016.

Wilco announced four concerts at the Beacon Theatre, and each show was assigned a distinct set list. Amidst forest scenery onstage, the stage lighting often reflected the mood of the song, from very dark and shadowy to a lighter, tentatively hopeful view. Opening the set with "Normal American Kids" and "If I Ever Was a Child," Wilco exhibited its proficiency in folk country roots, but the center of the show seemed to dwell in pop tunes and the end leaned more towards a driving rock that was radically different from where the set began. The final encore, "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" even started with a random cacophony and featured several grungy guitar leads. It takes a fairly open rocker to absorb and appreciate Wilco's eccentricity, such that even the biggest fans may find the entire set challenging, but Wilco performed these diverse sounds well, and Tweedy's vocals proved to be the thread that held it all together.

Visit Wilco at

  1. Normal American Kids
  2. If I Ever Was a Child
  3. Cry All Day
  4. Radio Cure
  5. Company in My Back
  6. The Joke Explained
  7. Misunderstood
  8. Someone to Lose
  9. Shouldn't Be Ashamed
  10. At Least That's What You Said
  11. Reservations
  12. Impossible Germany
  13. California Stars (Billy Bragg & Wilco cover)
  14. We Aren't the World (Safety Girl)
  15. Forget the Flowers
  16. Jesus, Etc.
  17. Locator
  18. Dawned on Me
  19. Theologians
  20. I'm the Man Who Loves You
  21. Hummingbird
  22. The Late Greats

  1. Random Name Generator
  2. Red-Eyed and Blue
  3. I Got You (At the End of the Century)
  4. Outtasite (Outta Mind)

Encore 2:

  1. Spiders (Kidsmoke)