Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Review + Photos + Set List | Wilco at The Pageant in St. Louis

ALL PHOTOS BY TIM BOTTCHEN

You're irresistible when you get mad
Isn't it sad, I'm immune

Sometimes I don't know what it's gonna take.

The steps from the car to the venue, the hours waiting, the hoping -- that maybe they'll play this song or that one -- that it might really be better than last time, the feeling that happens to my entire being when it's about 9 PM and the lights go off, and then Jeff Tweedy arrives, opening with the quiet and somber (and then cathartic) "At Least That's What You Said," the first song from both A Ghost is Born and last night's show at The Pageant.

Sometimes I wonder what it's gonna take for all of that to mean less, for it to mean nothing.

When it does, that's when I'll leave. I'll take and keep all of these moments -- the ones Tweedy and Wilco have given me -- and I suppose I'll drift away. It will all become a kind of my own personal folklore somehow.

But maybe this doesn't end.

Maybe Nels Cline's solo during "Impossible Germany" keeps evolving into something a little more magical. You know the one -- if you were at last night's show you definitely know the one. Cline was convulsing. He was scraping together every ounce of movement that was possible from his brain to his fingers to his guitar -- up and down the neck, and finally moving so furiously that when he ends it, there's a release from the audience. People still cheer for a great solo, as they should.

There's the beauty of Sky Blue Sky's "Either Way," when Jeff Tweedy sings lines like "maybe I won't feel so afraid," and somehow it means more because he's doing it right there in front of you. I know this has to mean something more to someone other than me. How could it not?

When Tweedy calls out his son, Spencer, and the rest of the Tweedy band to join Wilco on "California Stars," the song isn't just another way to close out a main set. This night was billed as Wilco's 20th Anniversary show, but there were moments like these where the future called stronger than the past.

Even a reach back to play Uncle Tupelo's "We've Been Had" didn't feel like an obligation to St. Louis -- the city that hosted Tupelo's final show at Mississippi Nights on May 1st, 1994. It was during a brief and incredible acoustic segment that ended the show, one that included a cover of Doug Sahm's "Give Back the Key to My Heart," a song that Tupelo often covered (and released), and  A.M.'s "Casino Queen" and "Too Far Apart." The set ended with a beautiful "Misunderstood" from Being There, but the real treat was seeing Tweedy and Stirratt really dig deep for "We've Been Had." I'll never forget that, and it reminded me of a great set of lyrics from a Bob Dylan song called "Shooting Star."

Seen a shooting star tonight
And I thought of me
If I was still the same
If I ever became what you wanted me to be

20 years into their journey, Wilco is still who they want to be.

SET LIST

01 - At Least That's What You Said
02 - I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
03 - Art of Almost
04 - Hummingbird
05 - Panthers
06 - Handshake Drugs
07 - Camera
08 - Either Way
09 - Secrets of the Sea
10 - Heavy Metal Drummer
11 - I'm the Man Who Loves You
12 - Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway(again)
13 - Far, Far Away
14 - Impossible Germany
15 - Jesus, Etc.
16 - Born Alone
17 - Dark Neon
18 - Red Eyed and Blue
19 - I Got You (At the End of the Century)
20 - Dawned On Me
21 - California Stars
Encore:
22 - Hate It Here
23 - Kingpin
24 - Monday
Encore:
25 - Casino Queen
26 - Too Far Apart
27 - We've Been Had
28 - Give Back The Key To My Heart [Doug Sahm cover]
29 - Misunderstood







1 comment:

  1. I have only seen Wilco four times, but I did enter the Pageant Monday with a hint of dread. What if this was the show where it was over for us? Time to break up? Time to move on from my Wilco semi-obsession? Time to search for my next "Favorite Band to See Live"? No fear. Didn't happen. They continue to get better. For me, their best show ever. And the acoustic finale was the perfect way to calm us all down and send us home. Happy. Eagerly awaiting the next time.

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