What began on Monday as a far more serious affair fitting of its surroundings inside the Civic Opera House took a far more laid back approach Thursday night at the Vic.
Following Monday night's show at the Civic Opera House, I mentioned that Wilco hadn't played anything off of the A Ghost is Born or Mermaid Avenue albums... Thursday night, Wilco took care of all of that and more as what the band has continually referred to as their "Incredible Shrinking Tour" rolled into the Vic Theatre for the third of a sold out, five night, Chicago residency.
(Click HERE for a review of night 1 at the Civic Opera House)
Fresh off delivering the "seven day forecast" earlier in the day on the WGN Morning News, Jeff Tweedy delivered a solo early on in the set that rivaled the one he played Monday night with the edge of a license plate as he launched into a raucous version of "At Least That's What You Said," from 2004's A Ghost is Born.
Not to be outdone, Nels Cline once again shined on the new "Art of Almost" but it was his blazing solo on the seldom played "Hotel Arizona" that was the evening's stand out. The guitarist teetered on what seemed to be the brink of out of control nevertheless managing to say within the boundaries of the song, never overtaking it.
In addition to "Hotel Arizona," the band dug deep into Being There for "Say You Miss Me" and "The Lonely 1." But once again, one of my favorite moments of the night was a deep cut from Summerteeth as the band harmonized Beach Boys style on "Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again)."
It was quite appropriate given the venue (Wilco recorded its 2005 live album Kicking Television at the Vic) that Wilco reminded people of just how hard they can rock with a rollicking, punky rendition of "Kicking Television."
Opening the final encore, the band turned the rock vibe they had just established with "Kicking Television" into an all-out, triple guitar assault on "Hoodoo Voodoo" from 1998's Billy Bragg collaboration Mermaid Avenue. Complete with cowbell, the track was a virtual hootenanny.
What's often missed about Wilco is the fact that Jeff Tweedy is a really funny guy. "This is the first time since Krokus wandered the midwest that someone used two doubleneck guitars in one set!" said Tweedy in regards to Nels Cline's arsenal. "Ah, I forgot about Cheap Trick... Sh-t!" he responded as people yelled to him from the crowd.
Playing "Outtasite (Outta Mind)" second to last, the band finished in a nearly identical and yet radically different way than they did Monday opting for the full on rock as opposed to the more laid-back, acoustic version (they finished the main set on Monday with "Outta Mind (Outta Sight)."
Having dug a bit deeper on Thursday, it should be interesting to see where the band takes the final two shows of this residency on Friday at Metro and Sunday at Lincoln Hall.
Filed under: Concert Reviews
Tags: A Ghost is Born, Being There, Billy Bragg, December Residency, Glenn Kotche, Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Jon Langford, Mermaid Avenue, Mikael Jorgensen, Nels Cline, Pat Sansone, Rivera Theatre, Skull Orchard, Summerteeth, The Riv, The Whole Love, Wilco, Winter Residency 2011