Monday, February 18, 2008

Wilco and Nels Cline

Just got back from the Wilco concert, which was unbelievably amazing. I'm so sorry all of you could not have been there to join me. It's been said many times, but this version of the band is just so good live it's scary. I can't even remember what they sounded like lice before this.

Anyway, here's my question for you: Is Nels Cline the best guitarist in rock right now? I say yes. If you disagree, prove me wrong.

Here's some fun footage to help back my point, and yes, I do see the irony in posting this not long after the fantastic guitar wankery videos.


texplush said...

you know my feelings on the subject.

F- was this the fabled "wilco plays everything they've ever written" run of shows?
do you have a setlist? highlights? did they play Stirrat's track from AM? Outtaside Outtamind and Outtamind Outtasite at the same show?


Via Chicago said...

More detail now that I am fully awake...

Yes, this was night 3 of 5 nights in the "Wilco plays everything" run. Here’s what I saw:

blue eyed soul
remember the mountain bed (w/ andrew bird)
bob dylan's 49th beard (w/ andrew bird)
hesitating beauty (w/ andrew bird)
that's not the issue (w/ andrew bird)
wishful thinking
you are my face
side with the seeds
a shot in the arm
we're just friends
handshake drugs
how to fight loneliness (w/ andrew bird)
jesus, etc. (w/ andrew bird)
should've been in love
pick up the change (w/ andrew bird)
walken (w/ horns)
i'm the man who loves you (w/ horns)
via chicago
impossible germany
she's a jar (w/ andrew bird)
say you miss me
box full of letters
i'm always in love
hate it here (w/ andrew bird & horns)
the late greats (w/ andrew bird & horns)
red-eyed blue (w/ andrew bird) >
i got you (at the end of the century) (w/ andrew bird)
monday (w/ horns)
my darling
can't stand it (w/ horns)

So, very AM heavy as you can see, which I was happy with. I mean, I love I Am Trying… and Misunderstood but I’ve seen them play those songs a lot, and it was nice to see some weirder things, like Bob Dylan’s Beard, and That’s Not the Issue.

Andrew Bird was fantastic to see but sadly he was barely in the mix (as in, inaudible). He had an awesome violin solo once where they brought him up (though I can’t remember what song) but otherwise his violin was largely lost to me. Bummer. He did however have a little whistling duel with Tweedy during Red-Eyed and Blue that was awesome. In fact, Red-Eyed and I Got You was tremendous, best I’ve ever heard it live.

It was pretty mellow for awhile, but again, I liked it. Made for a different, less Nels/Glenn heavy vibe, but a chance to really just bask in the Wilco glory and be reminded why I got into them in the first place.

When they did start to rock in that huge crazy way they do it was amazing. Side with the Seeds was probably the highlight for me – I really am struck by how amazing that song is live. In fact, everything from Sky Blue Sky sounded great here – far better then it did when I saw them this summer. Maybe that’s because they stuck to the Sky Blue Sky rockers, but still, they all sounded great.

This was my first time seeing this line-up up close (I was about 5 rows back dead center) and it was interesting. You always hear what Nels is doing, but actually watching him work is fantastic. He does so much, it just blows you away. And I gained a new appreciation for Pat Sansone last night, who clearly is just having a blast up there, and it shows. Still don’t have a good sense what Jorgensen brings to the band, but that’s OK.

Encore was a kind of amazing concert moment, as they said good-by then started to leave after Monday. Then Tweedy came back out and said he wanted to play us a lullaby, and the band came out for My Darling. Then they leave again, the house lights come up, the PA music comes on, the sound guys start unplugging guitars but the crowd just keeps clapping and screaming, and after about 5 minutes (during which time the Presidents of the US’ “Peaches” is playing and the audience is clapping along to) the lights go back out and Wilco returns for the last 2. It was awesome.

So yeah, great, great show. One of my top 2 Wilco concert experiences ever, along with the last show of theirs I saw at the Auditorium. Well, and the Wilco/Minus 5 show at the Abbey, but I’m not sure if that counts.