Although most of the setlist is familiar to anyone who has seen Wilco since the releases of Ghost and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the songs seem to possess a new zest about them with Tweedy’s newfound joy. “Sunken Treasure,” a Wilco classic once performed as gut-wrenching poetry, has been reinvented as a plodding, build-and-release number with an energetic finale. 

Tweedy’s stage banter included a dedication of “I’m the Man Who Loves You” to his wife Sue, as well as a rant about the importance of crowd participation prior to “Heavy Metal Drummer.” Always one to encourage sing-alongs, the crowd happily obliged during “Jesus, etc.” 

The highlights of the night were two songs from the Wilco/Billy Bragg Mermaid Avenue release, which features previously unheard lyrics by Woody Guthrie: “Airline to Heaven,” now performed with twangy fills from Cline, and the rare “Remember the Mountain Bed,” a song often performed by Tweedy solo but a treat for a full Wilco show. “Via Chicago,” a mandatory Windy City selection, showcased Glenn Kotche’s frenzied drumming at it’s best, with arms and legs flying and cymbals crashing.

In typical Wilco fashion, the encores stretched out almost beyond the length of the original set. During “Hummingbird,” Tweedy ventured to the front of the deep stage and smiled brightly and genuinely. He dedicated the newer “What Light” to bassist John Stiratt’s new baby and insisted on another sing-along to the classic “Kingpin” to close the show. 

At the end of the night, it was hard to tell who had more fun, the band or the fans recovering from the previous night’s Thanksgiving feasts.

Wilco Setlist
Chicago Theater Auditorium
Friday, November 24

Shake It Off
Hell Is Chrome
Handshake Drugs
A Shot in the Arm
Impossible Germany
I am Trying to Break Your Heart
Muzzle of Bees
Company in My Back
War on War
Sunken Treasure
Mountain Bed
Airline to Heaven
Jesus, etc.
I’m The Man Who Loves You

Encore 1
Via Chicago
What Light
Late Greats

Encore 2
In a Future Age
California Stars
Heavy Metal Drummer
Let’s Not Get Carried Away

Bonus video: Here’s a brilliant version of Jesus, etc. from Leno:


Bonus audio: For the uninitiated or the bored at work, here are some of the Wilco tunes mentioned in this review, courtesy of StreamStash: Handshake Drugs (live), Hell Is Chrome, Jesus, etc., Heavy Metal Drummer, Via Chicago and I’m the Man Who Loves You.

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0 Responses

  1. It’s good to know the only things Tweedy nailed on this night were the music and his wife (and maybe a groupie or two), not any drunk fans that think it’s cool to hop on stage.

  2. Fantastic review. You made me upset to realize that it’s been since 2004 since I last saw Wilco. Thanks a lot Hidden Track senior hipster correspondent Luke Sacks. Real nice.

    By the way, is Tweedy now going on his fifth consecutive year of NOT firing a guy named “Jay”? I’m surprised he didn’t fire Leno in that Late Night appearance just to break the streak.

  3. nice review – I’m actually listening to the ‘Kicking Television’ CDs today so I had Wilco on the brain

  4. Thanks for the review. These guys are just getting better and better. Can’t wait until they make it to Arizona again… a shameless plug, for those that are interested in finding out more about Nels Cline, I had the chance to interview him a couple weeks ago. Really nice, gracious guy. My interview, along with some Nels tunes for download, is right here.

  5. Plug away, Pete, we’re a springboard. I read that interview the other day actually, nice job.

    “By the way, is Tweedy now going on his fifth consecutive year of NOT firing a guy named “Jay”? I’m surprised he didn’t fire Leno in that Late Night appearance just to break the streak.”

    Chilly, you should write a regular feature for us like that idiot in Sports Illustrated who does the late-night monologue. Not to say you’re an idiot, but, I mean, if the shoe fits, right?

  6. a fun show is a successful quest that ends up giving you that exhilarating feeling of unexpected perfectness sometimes alone susspended reality and sometimes energetically connected to the whole phamily. throughout your daily routine (i hate that word) let yourself fall back into one of these moments…i do this everyday. i’m sure those who are familiar do the same. the memories and emotions will always be there. lets all live as if these events in their glory will be shared in person once again.many more than once would be sufficient for this addiction. tighten up to us hollywood swingers! keep it greasy so it will go down easy. love,
    “the thrilla in the alley”
    dweezil divox

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