Monday, April 5, 2010

Wilco Played Lupo's In Providence - Pictures, Review, And Setlist

Last night at Lupo's in Providence, Wilco took to the stage as part of their current small theater tour, and delivered an epic 35 song set that not only traversed the band's career, but also offered up one of the best sets we've ever had the pleasure of seeing the band play. They have collectively gotten such a handle of their back catalog that they can delve into any point in the 15 year history, and expertly bring any song forward. Combine that with a 3+ hour electric/acoustic/electric set configuration, and you have the ingredients for a near-perfect Wilco show.

The first set could best be characterized as the more experimental and electronic set of the show, and it was loaded to the top with raucous noise and sonics. Drawing upon much of their catalog, it really emphasized the band's forays into noise cacophony and multi-guitar interplay. The chaos was somewhat balanced, however, by some more straight-ahead moments, including "Wilco (The Song)", "One Wing", "Sonny Feeling", and "California Stars". As the tail end of "Poor Places" exploded across the crowd, the band moved about to allow for the arrival of a new stage setup and instrumentation.

These items were setup for the middle set, which was ostensibly acoustic. It found Nels Cline and Jeff Tweedy both on acoustic guitars, Glenn Kotche on a reduced drum kit, and John Stirratt playing (for part of the set) an acoustic bass. In the middle set were perhaps the biggest setlist surprises for us, specifically a stripped down version (closer to its original live incarnation) of "Spiders (Kidsmoke)", and the return of "Not For The Season", a staple back on the band's tour for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The set closed with a killer version of "Airline To Heaven" that built and built as the stage returned to its original setup for the third set.

The third set was perhaps the most straight ahead of the three, and featured the band playing a rock-centric set that would have been just as comfortable in their late 90's tour configuration as it does now. It reached into the band's back catalog for gems such as "I Got You" and "Too Far Apart", but also put some of their more recent material in context with the older stuff. "Theologians" and "Walken" both felt right at home amongst their older brethren. The set closed with a cover of Big Star's "Thank You Friends".

When the band returned to an unrelenting crowd for the encore, the show was well into its second hour. Apparently of limitless energy, the band summarily delivered the 1-2-3 punch of "Dreamer In My Dreams", "Casino Queen", and "Outtsite (Outtamind)". It was a killer way to end the evening, and when it did all wrap up, even after 3+ hours of music, the crowd was still cheering for more.

In hind sight, the show was so many things at once that it was difficult to absorb them all at the time. There was the light hearted awesomeness of both the crowd and the band. There was the incredible technical skill and tightness that seems to get better every time we see Wilco. There was the unbelievable setlist of more than three hours, with hardly any breaks. More than anything, there was just the fact that Wilco, no matter what, every time we see them, reminds exactly why it is that we're so in love with live rock and roll.

If you haven't gotten the gist by now, we'll spell it out for you: now is the time to see Wilco. It doesn't matter if you've seen them before, or if one particular album is your favorite, or if you're just too tired or broke. Just do it. Get out there, go to one of these small theater shows, and be prepared to have your mind blown. And, if you really, really, can't make it, then you're still in luck: the band is webcasting Tuesday and Wednesday nights' shows. Yum.

Many more photos in the HAD Archive

Wilco (The Song)
Bull Black Nova
You Are My Face
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
One Wing
Sonny Feeling
Summer Teeth
She's A Jar
Handshake Drugs
Impossible Germany
California Stars
Poor Places ->
(Acoustic Set)
Spiders (Kidsmoke)
What's The World Got In Store
Forget The Flowers
Heavy Metal Drummer
Not For The Season
Passenger Side
Airline To Heaven->
(End Acoustic Set)
Shot In The Arm
Jesus, etc.
You Never Know
I'm Always In Love
Hate It Here
Easter Party (joke song for Easter)
Too Far Apart
I'm The Man Who Loves You
Red Eyed And Blue->
I Got You
Thank You Friends (Big Star Cover)
Dreamer In My Dreams
Casino Queen
Outtasite (Outtamind)


March to the Sea said...

Well done. I was there as well.

Anonymous said...

How did you get the camera in? I was almost tackled for opening my phone! Press pass???