Review of Wilco show at Northrup Auditorium, U. of MN, 10-11-07
I'm slowly getting more familiar with the University of Minnesota campus. Last night, my nescience cost me about five songs of Wilco.
I've heard some live cuts from Wilco's shows, and frontman Jeff Tweedy sure is talkative. "What does this mean?" he asked the audience after seeing someone give him a sign. "Okay? It means 'okay?'" he paused. "Hey, you're okay! ... Rock and roll sure has changed," he said, to many laughs from the audience.
Tweedy has a lot of rapport and charisma, which he's willing to use when he performs. His voice was surprisingly good, and I couldn't believe he could belt out song after song without even getting a drink of water.
Our seats -- my brother Paul came -- were excellent: the front row of the balcony, no obstructions at all, which was really lucky, as the place was sold out. The venue seems kind of cavernous, and the sound quality was more "rock show" than intimate than I expected.
With my cell phone, I recorded all of the songs I heard, not for the quality, but just to recall the gist of the songs to recall.
"Jesus don't cry / you can rely on me, honey"
"Impossible Germany / unlikely Japan / wherever you go / wherever you land"
Many of the songs that haven't touched me in album form got to me during the show, like "Too Far Apart", from Wilco's first album A.M.
It was great hearing songs that I just love, like "Shot in the Arm". And the new material, off of the Wilco album Sky Blue Sky came off really well.
Jeff Wilco is so chill; it's great. I think the earth tones can do that to you.
(not my picture)
Tweedy's groove is beautifully offset by lead guitarist Nels Cline, who is insane good and seems close to collapse when he performs a solo. An accomplished jazz guitarist, he mixes technical prowess on hitting his notes with crazy Eric Clapton speed and usually finishes with a crazy reverb noise that is completely unique. He jumps around and gyrates close to paroxysm, seemingly close to getting carpal-tunnel disease.
"The ashtray said / you'd been up all night / when you went to bed / with your darkest mind ... "
Wilco finished with a medley that brought together some of their best songs. They finished pretty early in the night -- 10:30 p.m. -- with "Spiders (Kidsmoke)", their jam song.
Thank the lord they played "California Stars", which was a singalong.
Overall, Wilco offers a truly positive vibe to their live show. There's a dearth of poseur antics, and the songs are offered up as no more than nice things to enjoy. Tweedy's dark material turns into a picture of the human psyche when placed next to his fun songs and interaction with the crowd. This band has no enemies and no bad blood, which contrasts beautifully with our political climate today.
"She fell in love with the drummer / another then another / I miss the innocence I've known"
Money well spent.
By the way, geez, it would be awesome to teach at the U of M. Nice urban campus.
No profanes - sacred