Concert Review



December 13, 2011 @ Riviera Theatre


By Mark Hornok


I was lucky enough to catch the second of Wilco's five Chicago shows. I have seen Wilco before, but I am not nearly the expert on their live show that some local fans might be. With them being a Chicago band, I know many people have seen them countless times. The Tuesday show at the Riviera Theatre was my fifth time and it was by far the best Wilco show that I have seen.


The performance worked for me for three reasons. The first is that the band seemed loose and happy. Jeff Tweedy will never be considered a physical performer. He does not move around much on stage. On thight night though, it was clear that he was having fun. He smiled much more than usual. He joked with his wife, who sitting in the side balcony, that she needed to stop texting during the show. He wanted the fans to be part of the concert. In the middle of the show, Tweedy had a back-and-forth exchange with an audience member about the hat he was wearing. It was playful and fun, but the singer must have thought he had gone a little far with the fan. After finishing the next song, he stopped the show and apologized. Some people I talked to complained that the Civic Opera House might not have been the best venue for them. In the smaller and more intimate Riviera, the band seemed right at home.


The second reason I liked the show was the setlist. I have always been more partial to the band's first three albums. A good portion of songs from these records often go ignored in concert and, if they do get played, they are tacked on the end of the show. That was not the case on this night. The seventh and eighth songs of the night were "Red-Eyed and Blue" and "I Got You (At The End of the Century)." Both are from the classic double album, Being There. The first of these two was played louder and stronger than the original, giving it more power. The next song turned up the volume and made the main set feel like the encore. Another older song that got a big crowd reaction was "I Must Be High" from their first record, A.M. It does not get played much, but sounded really good.


The last reason this show was so good is that Wilco has made a really great new album, The Whole Love. They have always been a band that plays a large portion of their latest album on stage. While the album is loaded with good songs, some really stood out. The best of the these might have been "Dawned on Me." It is a great live song and I imagine they will be playing it live for years to come. "Capitol City" and "Art of Almost" also sounded even better live than I imagined they would.


From what I have read, the rest of the shows later in the week might have been just as good. After what I saw last Tuesday, I would have loved to have seen a few more.


The setlist:


Less Than You Think

Art Of Almost

I Might

Black Moon

Bull Black Nova

Side With The Seeds

Red-Eyed And Blue

I Got You (At The End of the Century)

Born Alone

You Are My Face

Open Mind


I Must Be High

I'm Always In Love

Capitol City

Handshake Drugs

Can't Stand It

Dawned On Me



Via Chicago

Whole Love

The Late Greats


Just A Kid


Outtasite (Outta Mind)



Spiders (Kidsmoke)

I'm A Wheel


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