Friday, June 11, 2004

Wilco at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC - Roll Another Number

Photo by Jesse Hamm

When Wilco hit the stage at Washington, DC's 9:30 Club, Jeff Tweedy strolled out onstage in a suit and tie. "I just came from delivering a eulogy", Tweedy commented in reference to President Ronald Reagan's funeral procession that had just rolled by a few blocks away. So it went -- just another historic day in Washington.

Looking all cleaned up and refreshed, Wilco's new lineup with John Stirratt on bass, Glenn Kotche on drums, Mikael Jorgensen on keys and laptop, Pat Sansone on keyboards and guitar, and Nels Cline and guitar were a formidable stage presence giving every indication that the upcoming "A Ghost is Born" will live up to the expectations.

The show was incredibly paced with Tweedy alternating between acoustic and electric guitars between nearly every song. Doing what Wilco does best -- going from a whisper to raging feedback within a single song -- the band performed a mix of new material, as well as, gems from "Yankee Foxtrot Hotel", "Summerteeth", and "AM".

By the time Wilco reached their 3rd encore -- after the house lights had come up and the crowd began to exit -- fans had already been treated to one of the finer Wilco performances. On Via Chicago, A Cherry Ghost wrote "Easily, the best show I have ever seen in my entire life."

Also on Via Chicago, gabepride posted:

    "Holy hell, what an amazing show. The best Wilco show I've seen (out of 4), and the best crowd I've seen at the 9:30. I could've done without the crowding, but I was dancing like a fool anyway. Almost everybody was singing along to every song, and the band was greeted with really loud cheering. Everyone in Wilco was very animated, especially Jeff Tweedy (breaking the trend of the last tour). During I'm A Wheel, Pat adopted a Pete Townshend early-Who stage persona, complete with windmills and kicks (but no jump kicks, unfortunately)."

Highlights included "Heavy Metal Drummer" which got everybody pogo-ing, "Jesus, Etc." which was just simply sublime, and "Via Chicago" a somewhat rarely performed tune. At one point, as the crowd enthusiastically applauded for more, Tweedy wryly noted that "It's good to see everyone out on such a somber occasion."

So when Jeff brought out his guitar tech Frankie to sing Happy Birthday, folks were in a singing mood and happily obliged. And when Wilco launched into "Passenger Side", the crowd roared in delight. One fan made a hand rolling gesture during the lyrics "Roll another number for the road", which Tweedy acknowledged with the slightest wink. Just had to add a little Neil Young connection to make the evening complete.


The concert was webcast on Wilco World and will be repeated at a later date. Here's the setlist:

9:30 Club - Washington, DC (June 9, 2004)
Late Greats
Company In My back
At Least That's What You Said
War On War
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Jesus, Etc.
I'm Always In Love
Hell Is Chrome
Muzzle of Bees
Shot In The Arm
Radio Cure
I'm The Man Who Loves You
One By One
Poor places
Handshake Drugs

Encore 1:
California Stars
Heavy Metal Drummer
I'm A Wheel

Encore 2:
Via Chicago
Spiders (Kidsmoke)
The Lonely 1

Encore 3:
Happy Birthday - (For Frankie, the guitar tech)
Passenger Side

Some more photos by Maudie of Wilco @ The 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C..

A review of Sunday's Pittsburgh Three Rivers Arts Festival by Ed Masley summed up where Wilco stands today:

"If 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' was Wilco's 'Sgt. Pepper,' then 'A Ghost is Born' is their 'White Album,' sprawling all over the map and taking Wilco with it, from the electronic throb of 'Spiders' to the barnyard stomp of 'Late Greats'; from the Beatlesque piano pop of 'Hummingbird' to the album's most inspired cut, 'At Least That's What You Said,' a stunning show of force that evolved from nearly whispered verses steeped in sadness through a bludgeoning Crazy Horse power-chord stomp to a wide-open jam as transcendent in concert as it is on record."

(thanks e2f!)

More on Wilco and Neil Young's influence on their sound.


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