Wilco @ The Paramount Theater 02.07.12

February 7, 2012

It's tough to believe it's February 7th and this is the first review I'm writing of 2012, but sometimes you just gotta wait for something great to come around, and when Wilco's in town, that's not something you miss. Running from the station to the theater at the end of my radio shift rendered useless as I still found myself late, so this review begins at song two. Which, if you've gotta kick a show off with something, it may as well be an alternate arrangement of "Poor Places".

Tassels tied to cloth hang from the rafters, setting the back drop for the scene as well as placed at intervals from over head to the front of the sta ge. Images from the American skies to random dribbles of color to the human body make their way across the plain, projected from the back of the theater, presenting a much more elaborate set up than one might guess at first glance. Tweedy and co spread across the stage jamming out in a way my friend describes as "if Radiohead started a band with Dave Matthews". You'll have to forgive her, it's her first Wilco show. If any comparisons are made I'd say they channel Pink Floyd in some ways in their extended arrangements. Very progressive, Classic yet inventive, brilliant dynamics, and unparalleled and amazing feeling. An epic jam on Whole Love opener Art of The "Almost" builds and builds and builds until it feels like guitar player Nels Cline's fingers couldn't possibly be able to move any faster but somehow as the tempo increases so does his speed resulting in a poundig climax before jumping straight into "I Might", Whole Love's first single and Wilco's reemergence back into our collective ears after 2009's Wilco(The Album).

Few Bands mix it up with the finess wilco does. Every set unique with the perfect mix of tracks pulled from a vast catalogue. Gems picked to compliment one another rather than to show off. The smell of weed trickles between the heads of the crowd, only emphasizing the mellow waves we're all surfing along together in the sounds. Jeff's first words to the crowd come before "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart". Hello Seattle! he says, before the nights biggest sing along thus far begins. Smacking us with a double whammy playing impossible Germany just a song later, it's almost too much good stuff (that's a saying somewhere, right?) the sold out paramount is mezermizd. The brilliant lighting embracing every note, emphasizing with each cue. Even the dads here are rocking out (tweedy included, his son directed their latest video) new tracks flow perfectly with old favorites. Holding their own amongst a sea of revered songs, who knows, with time they themselves may find their way into the "fan favorite" section as well.

It should be noted that there's still something special about when the band plays tracks from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I'm not entirely sure if that's a blessing or curse, but either way the band take it in stride never neglecting nor showcasing the record, which allows them the luxury of not hopping on the "classic album bandwagon" touring the nation like a traveling show playing the same record every night. Defining albums be damned, Wilco are far from a one album band. Back to back runs of "Heavy Metal Drummer" and "I'm The Man That Loves You" you are great but there's nothing more exciting than hearing a band play their latest songs live for the first time in your town, escaping your headphones and making their way onto the stage. "The Whole Love" is easily as good as anything they've put out... well, ever. And that shines through tonight as well, so they have little to hide in bringing when showcasing the new tunes.

The set reaches it's peak of intensity with the kick off track from 1996's Being There, "Misunderstood" finds the crowd locked on, mouthing each and every word. A resounding cheer ringing out as Tweedy sings "we still love rock and roll", culminating in the songs chant of NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING. It's moments like these that rarely occur on a tuesday night in seattle. The main set comes to a close rounded out by Summerteeth fan fav "A Shot In The Arm", Tweedy steps away from the mic to lead the crowd in a heartfelt gang vocal just before the song pushes to it's peak. Say what you want about Dave Grohl, gimme Glenn Kotche any day. His off kilter style, perfect timing and impeccable hit placement is unmatched by any drummer out there.

The band return for a six song encore that finds it's intensity again in a string of Being There era tracks to wrap things up. A reminder to us all that as Wilco charge into the future, prolifically putting out album after album of new late-night-under-the-moon anthems, they haven't forgotten about their past, and neither should you.


One Sunday Morning
Poor Places
Art Of Almost
I Might
Bull Black Nova
Company In My Back
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
Impossible Germany
Born Alone
Laminated Cat (electric arrangement)
Shouldn't Be Ashamed
Whole Love
Heavy Metal Drummer
I'm the Man Who Loves You
Standing O
Dawned On Me
A Shot in the Arm

War On War
Red-Eyed and Blue
I Got You (At The End Of The Century)
Outtasite (Outta Mind)