Wilco Kicks Off ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ 20th Anniversary Shows in NYC With Three Song Rarity Encore

Wilco performed last night (April 15) at NYC’s United Palace Theatre, the first of six shows celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of their seminal album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but the short show resulted in many fans sharing on social media their disappointment with the set.

The band, accompanied by the all-female Aizuri (string) Quartet, played Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in its entirety, from “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” to “Reservations,” and encored with a trio of fan favorites that haven’t been played live for several years — the Billy Fay cover “Be Not So Fearful” (lasted played June 24, 2017), “Pieholden Suite” (December 8, 2014), and the beloved “A Magazine Called Sunset” (December 6, 2014).

Wilco announced the shows on February 8 through their WilcoWorld email newsletter, and it included the statement, “The band will play the YHF material on a special run of tour dates in NYC and Chicago. That’s it.”

Ever since fans have speculated exactly what “That’s it” was supposed to mean. Were they referring to the limited dates? Or did they mean they were only going to play an 11-ish-song set? Wilco, of course, is well known for playing 2.5-hour, 20-plus song shows. For instance, the band’s three performances last January 17, 18, and 20, at their annual Sky Blue Sky festival in Riviera Maya, Mexico, contained 23, 22, and 23 songs, respectively. 

Some speculated on Reddit that last night Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy didn’t feel so hot. 

“Jeff had his hands on his knees and was bending over by the end of the YHF set,” williamanly posted. “The encore was honestly the best part of the gig.”

“In this case maybe the show was cut short because Jeff didn’t feel comfortable or something?” ben_heff10 wrote. “Only speculation of course but Wilco have a history of long sets so it doesn’t totally add up.”

“I don’t really buy this,” nuko-nuko posted. “They play these songs all the time. Maybe not in sequential order and sure the small orchestra adds a bit of practice but of all their albums this is one they were more than equipped to play front to back from a technical perspective. I didn’t feel like they were ‘recreating’ anything more than any other time I’ve seen them play these songs.”

Like the band stated in their February newsletter; for this special run of shows they are performing Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in its entirety, and that’s it. 

Wilco will perform YHF again tonight (April 16) at United Palace in New York. Tickets still are available.

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