Volume: Wilco/Nick Lowe – Fair Park Music Hall, Dallas, TX – 11/29/2011

In the past 14 years, I had only seen Wilco 3 times. They’ve come through D/FW at least 10 times, and most of the time I just say “Next time. I’ll go next time.” Fortunately, last night ended up being “the next time”.

In the other 3 times I had seen them, I had been deceived. The first was at Trees on Being There in ’97. No frills, no production, just a very young Wilco, playing their songs in earnest. The next two times would be at ACL 2004 and 2007, on A Ghost Is Born and Sky Blue Sky respectively. Neither with any production, again, just Wilco, older versions mind you, playing their songs, the latter even more subdued due to the record they were touring for. Therefore last night’s performance was, pardon the pun, nothing less than a shot in the arm.

As I was witnessing the power of Wilco last night, many things came to mind. The one that stayed with me was that this isn’t the band that made A.M.. That statement is true in many ways and can be evidenced just by listening to every record since. But it was driven home to me as they played the almost out of place “Passenger Side” near the close of the show. Jeff Tweedy has surrounded himself with a bevy of musicians who can take his vision to whatever level the songs dictate, and while on record they are creative, live is where this band shines. Newer tracks from this year’s The Whole Love such as the Kraut-rock journey of “Art of Almost”, “Whole Love” and “Dawned On Me” felt progressive yet right at home with fan favorites “Impossible Germany”, “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”, and “Hummingbird”.

Opening was British legend Nick Lowe, whose solo acoustic performance was very well received, pulling out “Cruel to Be Kind”, bringing to life the Elvis Costello classics such as the Lowe penned “(What’s So Funny About) Peace Love And Understanding” and “Alison”.

In short, there’s really nothing I can tell you about Wilco that someone else hasn’t already said. They are arguably the best band in America right now, continually outclassing all in their way.

I hope they make it back through again. Soon.

 

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~ by thesynaptic on December 19, 2011.

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