Written by Bill Whiting
A highly anticipated event for most of the summer season in Columbus, Ohio, Chicago’s favorite sons, Wilco, came to the LC Pavilion on August 4, and put on an epic concert for the ages. Touring behind 2011’s rock masterpiece, The Whole Love, lead singer and guitarist Jeff Tweedy led the ensemble into the opening strains of “Art of Almost” with a disarmingly dramatic flair that accented the song’s fractured chorus. Pounding into “I Might,” the rhythm section of bassist John Stirratt and drummer Glenn Kotche gave the tune a well worn and bruised appeal. Multi instrumentalists Mikael Jorgensen and Pat Sansone fleshed the out the symphonic like touches of “Hell is Chrome,” adding depth and dimension to a shining moment on a humid August night. LC Pavilion’s patrons were pumped up to hear Tweedy announce that he was glad to be playing at “The Lifestyles Community Pavilion.” ” It just kind of rolls off the tongue,” he quipped.
“Handshake Drugs,” from 2004’s brilliant album, A Ghost is Born, followed, and the crowd sang the lyrics back to the stage in unison with Tweedy and co. “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” ended up being a showcase for lead guitarist Nels Cline, and he tore up the song’s midsection with echoing tones full of feedback and distortion. 2007’s underrated disc, Sky Blue Sky, was represented by the beautifully lilting and harmonic gem, “Impossible Germany.” Tweedy joked about swallowing bugs while singing before charging into the upbeat stomp of Whole Love’s title track. The older compositions “Hate It Here,” “Via Chicago,” and “Box Full of Letters” dominated the back end of Wilco’s set, and the group left the stage after treating their followers to a defining triple dose of improvisational glory on “Dawned On Me,” “A Shot in the Arm,” and “Hummingbird.” Wilco’s encore included the fast paced sing a long, “Standing O,” the classic pop radio ready melodies of “Heavy Metal Drummer,” and the hushed intimacy of “I’m the Man Who Loves You.” It was a perfect way to end their U.S. summer tour, and as Wilco left for Europe and beyond, one could only hope that they return soon with more good vibes and fantastic music to share with their fans.
Setlist: Art of Almost, I Might, War on War, Sunken Treasure, Hell is Chrome, Handshake Drugs, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Kamera, Impossible Germany, Born Alone, Say You Miss Me, Whole Love, ELT, Via Chicago, Hate It Here, Box Full of Letters, I’m Always in Love, Dawned On Me, A Shot in the Arm, Hummingbird
Encore: Passenger Side, Airline to Heaven, Kingpin, Standing O, Heavy Metal Drummer, I’m the Man Who Loves You, Casino Queen