As I’ve done the past two years after seeing Wilco live, here’s a bunch of the (many) highlights of Monday night’s amazing show at Keyspan Park in Coney Island. In list form no less.
1. Yo La Tengo opened and ran through about an hour’s worth of material, much of it I enjoyed without being very familiar with. I was catching up with some old friends (re: annoying the people around me who were paying close attention) for much of their set, but am pretty sure I heard “Autumn Sweater” from I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One and “From A Motel 6” from Painful. They also played “Periodically Double Or Triple” from their upcoming album Popular Songs. It was a raucous, feedback-heavy set that was well-received by the crowd.
2. Wilco held absolutely nothing back on Monday night - after opening with a crowd-warming “Wilco, The Song” they played classic after classic with a few new songs thrown in there. There’s a reason why war horses like “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”, “A Shot In The Arm”, and “Handshake Drugs” are played almost every night - they fucking rock.
3. There was a nice balance of songs from Wilco‘s entire career, save A.M. Being There could have gotten some more love (just “Misunderstood”), but who cares with a mid-set “I’m Always In Love” and “Can’t Stand It”.
4. The new songs sounded really good and fit into the set nicely. I think they played the first 6 songs from The Album plus “Sunny Feeling”. “Bull Black Nova” was snuggled in between the war horses early in the set and fit right in, and I thought the intricate “Deeper Down” came across really well despite being quite a bit mellower than much of the rest of the songs played.
5. The set was light on Sky Blue Sky songs. No “Side With The Seeds”, which was appreciated by yours truly. Only “Impossible Germany” (with another incredible guitar solo from Nels Cline), “You Are My Face” (nice), and obligatory versions of “Hate It Here” (eh) and “Walken”.
6. I was really surprised that Jeff didn’t do more to acknowledge the real Mermaid Avenue being, like, literally right across the street from Keyspan Park. Before a set closing “Hoodoo Voodoo” (with dueling guitars from Nels and Pat!) he mentioned the song was written “a half mile from here”, but I really thought they’d tip their collective hats to Nora Guthrie and play maybe “Airline To Heaven” or “Hesitating Beauty” or “Remember the Mountain Bed” or something. “California Stars” was in there as well, but there was no other mention of a very important part of their catalog when they were in the very place where many of those songs originated. Weird.
7. It was cool to see Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear come out to sing back up (and Wilco acknowledge a band who’s probably at the same point of their career that they were 10 years ago), but you couldn’t hear him at all, and at one point on the video monitor it looked like he didn’t even know the words to “California Stars”. It was a big surprise though, and he got a pretty good reception from a crowd full of aging hipsters many of whom probably had no idea who he was.
8. Feist came out to sing “You and I” and that was great. I know it wasn’t the first time she’s joined them on stage on this tour, but it was still a welcome surprise, she sounded great, and the crowd ate it up. See the video below.
9. Wilco + Yo La Tengo + “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” = INSANITY!!!! (See video below)
10. I may be a little hard on Wilco at times, but it’s certainly more tough love than discontent. My friends gave me some flack for that the other night, and it’s probably deserved. Wilco is my favorite band (probably of all time) and it can be frustrating at times to watch them put out albums that don’t match the creative heights of their recent past, especially knowing what they are capable in the live setting. But, by all means, see Wilco live if you have the opportunity. This line-up is capable of some sick shit on stage. Keyspan was my 8th show, and was, arguably, the best yet.
Here are some of those fan videos that have been circulating of the all-star jams of the legends of indie-rock- past, present, and future:
“You and I” (w/ Feist):
“You Never Know” (w/ Feist & Ed Droste)
Most of “Siders (Kidsmoke)” (w/ Yo La Tengo):
“Hoodoo Voodoo” (w/ dueling guitars from Nels and Pat):