TVD Live: Wilco at
The Warfield, 1/29

There are two types of Wilco fans; first two album fans and the rest. Much like Radiohead, the band made two genius records to start off their illustrious career and then took a turn for artfulness.

Radiohead in my opinion went off the deep end, or as Derek Smalls would say “experimented with a free-form jazz exploration in front of a festival crowd.” Wilco on the other hand didn’t stray that far, but you do have to ask yourself, what happens in a band’s career that makes them push the envelope and become larger than life while others fail miserably? Listening to Wilco’s latest album The Whole Love, it’s a compete 360 from their first two albums, but it works, and it works very well.

Wilco claim Chicago as their home base now, but I lived in St. Louis when Jeff Tweedy was playing around town with Uncle Tupelo. When Tupelo split and became Son Volt and Wilco, this was HUGE in St. Louis. It was a battle of sorts as fans chose a side. Both Jeff and Jay (Farrar) released brilliant debut albums with Wilco’s AM and Son Volt’s Trace. It was a pretty close race out of the gate, but somewhere down the track Wilco struck a chord with old and new fans alike, leaving Son Volt in the dust.

With that being said, I have not seen Wilco play live in over ten years. I kind of lost track of them when every hipster in the world began to worship them, as I became less and less of a fan.

The band played on Sunday night at The Warfield and sold it out very quickly and played second show last night right across the Bay in Oakland to an even larger sold out crowd. It’s impressive to see a band with such devoted fans from all walks of life clamoring to see live music, but I had to see it for myself to understand why.

I missed the opening band and was escorted with 4 other photographers to the front of the stage in a very narrow pit for photos. The standard rule of first three songs, no flash, was in effect but this time I had to sign a full contract or release form (I didn’t read the entire thing) and was escorted to and from the front of the stage.

When taking photographs at a concert, light is your best friend. The problem is, there’s hardly any of it at any given time, especially during the first three songs.

So what’s the bottom line? Plain and simple, Wilco are a fantastic live band. A true class act. I would even go so far as to call them The Band of my generation.

Jeff Tweedy was personable with the crowd and dead on with every single song he performed. The guitarist, Nels Cline, is one of the most insane guitar players I have ever seen. His animosity and sheer epic guitar tone perfectly complimented the ups and downs of the songs themselves. It is truly a spectacle to watch this guy perform.

They did a great job mixing up the setlist and besides getting yelled at by a staff member to put away my phone (I was attempting to Tweet about how amazing the show was) I walked out a reborn Wilco fan. I will never question their popularity again.

The Set List: 

Sunken Treasure
Art of Almost
I Might
Ashes of American Flags
Bull Black Nova
At Least That’s What You Said
One Sunday Morning
Shouldn’t Be Ashamed
Either Way
Born Alone
Not for the Season
Impossible Germany
One By One
Forget the Flowers
Handshake Drugs
Standing O
I Must Be High
The Late Greats
Dawned On Me

Whole Love
Heavy Metal Drummer
I’m the Man Who Loves You
A Shot in the Arm
The Lonely 1

Were you at either of the Wilco shows here in the Bay Area? What did you think of the show? Please join the conversation in the comment section below.

This entry was posted in TVD San Francisco. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

  • Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text