TVD Live Shots:
Wilco at Auditorium Theatre, 4/24

It was 20 years ago to the month that Wilco released their seminal album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. To commemorate the occasion, the band played the record in full for eight special shows: five in NYC and three in their hometown of Chicago. On the final night of the run at the Auditorium Theatre, Jeff Tweedy acknowledged that the experience was “emotional. It was weird.” And, I imagine, cathartic (and not just for the band).

The entire evening was thoughtfully curated and nuanced. Opening the show and setting the mood was tremendous local quartet, The Magnificent Strings. They played a series of songs and snippets from YHF before the curtain opened and Wilco—Jeff Tweedy; John Stirratt; Glenn Kotche; Nels Cline; Patrick Sansone; and Mikael Jorgensen—took the stage. And we were off: the album, as promised, from start to finish. As beautiful and crushing as ever, and lush with backing from The Magnificent Strings and a three-piece horn section. The musicians on the stage seemed to pour their hearts and souls into the performance—no detail too small. It was simply stunning.

The band returned to the stage to make a couple dedications in the form of B-sides from the YHF era and a few fan favorites from their earlier years (“Monday,” “Outtasite”). They first covered Bill Fay’s “Be Not So Fearful” for Jim O’Rourke because of “all the amazing work he did on the record.” The remaining songs were devoted to the memory of Jay Bennett, “for all his contributions to the band and particularly [YHF].” Bennett, who died in 2009, was a multi-instrumentalist with the band from 1994 to 2001.

On Wednesday Wilco announced a new double disc album, Cruel Country, that will be released at the end of May and coincides with the start of their music festival at MASS MoCA, Solid Sound.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in full:
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
Radio Cure
War on War
Jesus, Etc.
Ashes of American Flags
Heavy Metal Drummer
I’m the Man Who Loves You
Pot Kettle Black
Poor Places

Be Not So Fearful (Bill Fay cover)
Pieholden Suite
Cars Can’t Escape
A Magazine Called Sunset
The Good Part
Outtasite (Outta Mind)

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