Venue: The Fabulous Fox Theatre, Atlanta
Support: None needed
In the Company of: Peter & Shazia
Wilco (The Experience)
The Wilco experience is something to anticipate and savor. Jeff Tweedy leads a group of musicians who are dedicated to making excellent music. From back in his Uncle Tupelo days, Tweedy has weaved his craft, balancing alt-country with alt-rock on the high wire of everything in between. Touring in support of their latest album, Wilco (The Album), the band played an inspired two hour and fifty minute set at the sold-out Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
As the lights dimmed, fans heard a robotic voice discussing “What we don’t want you to do” (pictures, video) and “What we do want you to do” (audio recording, sing along, song requests). Shortly afterward, on came the Price is Right theme song and Wilco took to the stage to screaming fans. The band began the evening with – what else – “Wilco (The Song)” (“Are you under the impression / This isn’t your life / Do you dabble in depression / Is someone twisting a knife in your back / Are you being attacked / Oh, this is a fact that you need to know oh, oh, oh, oh / Wilco, Wilco, Wilco will love you baby”). Between notes as the song ended, that robotic voice introduced each member of the band.
“Passenger Side” tells the story of riding with someone less than sober (“Hey, wake up, your eyes weren’t open wide / For the last couple of miles you’ve been swerving from side to side / You’re gonna make me spill my beer if you don’t learn how to steer”).
Before the beautiful “Jesus, Etc.” was performed, Tweedy asked the audience to sing along. Then he said, “Why don’t you just sing it on your own?” So, the crowd of Wilco fans sang every word as if they had been rehearsing for this. It was a glorious sound. Afterward, he exclaimed, “That was really good…that was exceptional…that was ground breaking!” The band went on to dedicate another song to the future wife of their drum tech (she was in the audience). “I could have done it tonight,” Tweedy said, “because I’m an ordained minister.”
As the evening progressed, the fans remained standing. The lush padding of the Fabulous Fox Theatre’s comfy seats was never utilized. The Crowd stood the entire show (even much of the balcony). Tweedy recognized this and was impressed.
After they said their thank yous and goodnights, there was one encore. “This is for Alex Chilton,” Tweedy announced, and proceeded to play Big Stars’ “Thank You, Friends.” Most of the band took a shot at singing a verse or two, to honor the late Chilton. There was no opening band, as no one else could really live up to this night.
Wilco (The Song)
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
Bull Black Nova
You Are My Face
A Shot in the Arm
Side with the Seeds
Far, Far Away
You and I
War on War
Airline to Heaven
You Never Know
Heavy Metal Drummer
Can’t Stand It
Hate It Here
I’m the Man Who Loves You
I’m a Wheel
Thank You, Friends