Thursday, October 15, 2009

Show Review: Wilco Live At Massey Hall Wednesday October 14, 2009

It came as no surprise that Wilco, the godfather’s of indie-rock sold out their two night stint at one of Toronto’s most beautiful and legendary venues, Massey Hall. What sounded like a growling siren was really just guitar playing maniac Nels Cline manipulating the hell out of his instrument on the set opener, “Wilco (The Song)”. The band was eager to show off some of their newer tunes, relying heavily on material from their latest release Wilco (The Album). They have a longstanding history with Toronto and the group made sure to dig deep into their vast catalogue of often neglected songs. They pulled out the Spanish-tinged “How To Fight Loneliness” which was surprisingly enough, poorly received, as many fans chose to catch their breath and take their seats during this slow but lovely number. Tweedy, who seemed to be in especially good spirits even took a request from the audience as the band launched into Pot Kettle Black. While usually much more talkative, the shaggy haired front-man acknowledged Massey Hall’s tight curfew and said he would rather fill the set with songs rather than the usual witty banter. “Theologians” saw each axe man singing in ridiculously high, playful register, while Cline graciously gave up the spotlight for a one-footed Tweedy guitar solo during “I’m The Man Who Loves You”. In predictable Wilco style, the band left stage only to return soon-there-after for a characteristically long encore. They brought out show opener (and potential Jack Black impersonator) Liam Finn for a rousing rendition of the uber-poppy “You Never Know” before launching into the grungy, old school rocker “Can’t Stand It”. The group displayed their jammier side as the four song finale of “Walken” segued effortlessly into the garage-rocker “Monday”, then into “Outtamind (Outta Site), before capping things off with a monstrously extended version of “Hoodoo Voodoo” which featured a wild guitar duel between fan favourite Nels Cline and serious underdog Pat Sansone. Both men clearly emerged as the victor judging by the crowd’s cheers. The band set the bar extremely high on night one of the run, but it seems as though that’s all we can expect from Wilco at this point in their careers.

1. Wilco (The Song)
2. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
3. Bull Black Nova
4. You Are My Face
5. One Wing
6. A Shot In The Arm
7. Either Way
8. Impossible Germany
9. I'll Fight
10. Handshake Drugs
11. Pot Kettle Black
12. How To Fight Loneliness
13. Jesus, etc.
14. Hate It Here
15. Theologians
16. I'm The Man Who Loves You
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17. Heavy Metal Drummer
18. You Never Know (w/Liam Finn)
19. Can't Stand It
20. Walken >
21. Monday >
22. Outtamind (Outta Site) >
23. Hoodoo Voodoo

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