Concert Review | Wilco at Live on Ninth Street in Columbia, MO

UPDATE: Download the show here. 

What you once were
isn’t what you want to be

Things change, people change.

There was a rather long period in my life where all I listened to was Neil Young and, to a lesser extent, Bob Dylan. And while Young is still my all-time favorite artist (just listen to “Cortez the Killer,” “Cowgirl in the Sand,” and “Ambulance Blues”), a certain song written by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco changed all of that in an instant.

The song? “Misunderstood,” from Wilco’s second album, Being There.

I didn’t hear it until 2001, thanks to a mix tape made by my cousin, and it was the first song on Side A of the cassette. Later that year, I saw my first Wilco concert at The Pageant, but they didn’t play “Misunderstood.” That happened later, during the first time I saw them in Columbia at the Blue Note in 2002, when they opened the show with it.

And it happened again last night, where Wilco set up shop on a beautiful night outside the Blue Note on 9th Street, playing to thousands who simply wanted to be there and nowhere else.

“Of all the hometown gigs we play, this one feels the most homey — the most towniest,” Tweedy said, midway through the show.

When Tweedy led the band into “A Shot in the Arm,” which closed the main set, all you had to do was look around and feel the love: many were singing along — “Something in my brains, bloodier than blood,” “Ohhhh you changed,” and “What you once were isn’t what you want to be anymore” were the lines that got the most response. I even saw one guy fist pumping the air with his girlfriend to the latter.

I was right there with them, as that particular lyric will always hold special meaning to me. I’d hate to get too personal on you here, so I won’t, but I will say this: you know you love a band when you hear a song that features a lyric that will always re-introduce a moment in your life when everything made perfect sense.

So, last night was a little bittersweet, only because that lyric means something different to me now, and I felt its revelation in that moment: that perhaps nothing is forever, and you must accept things and move on with grace. And its meaning will probably keep changing as I grow older, as it should — that’s the spirit of music that you love, the kind that you will travel to feel and experience with others.

There were other songs that brought up memories — “Impossible Germany” and its Nels Cline solo. “Bull Black Nova,” when Tweedy screamed, “pick up!” “Passenger Side,” “New Madrid,” “One Wing,” and “Via Chicago” were all perfect.

And of course, “Misunderstood.” “You hurt her but you don’t know why,” Tweedy sang. “You love her but you don’t know why.

On Wilco’s latest album, The Whole Love, the answers are still being sought. The “almosts,” the “I mights,”the idea of being born to “die alone” are still subjects on Tweedy’s mind. Perhaps no longer misunderstood, but still longing for the moment where we show each other our “whole love.”

The moment where it dawns on us, where we call our lover and say, “I love you.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Art Of Almost
I Might
Bull Black Nova

At Least That’s What You Said
Spiders (Kidsmoke) (acoustic arrangement)
Impossible Germany
Born Alone
Laminated Cat (aka Not For The Season) (electric arrangement)
One Wing
New Madrid
Handshake Drugs
Whole Love
Box Full Of Letters
I’m Always In Love
Heavy Metal Drummer
I’m The Man Who Loves You
Dawned On Me
A Shot in the Arm
Via Chicago
Passenger Side
Christ For President
Casino Queen
Outtasite (Outta Mind)

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