On Tuesday, Wilco brought their “Incredible Shrinking Tour” to the Riviera Theatre for the second show on their citywide tour. The venue, which is a little more than eight miles north of the Civic Opera House, has seen better days, but is rich with Wilco history.
There was definitely an energy in the air that carried over from the from the night before. The memory of Mavis Staples, Nick Lowe and Jeff Tweedy taking turns signing verses of The Weight was still very fresh in people’s minds. I took a pass on trying to squeeze onto the main floor and grabbed a seat in the last few rows of the balcony.
The lights dimmed and the band arrived on stage at 9:16 and thus began one of the best Wilco shows I’ve ever seen. The band was oozing with creativity and were exploring soundscapes that would make Phish fans blush. Less Than You Think > Art of Almost laid the groundwork for the exploratory theme that developed throughout the show. Bull Black Nova was jammed out a bit and the harsh sounds of Nels Cline’s guitar revived a crowd that was lulled to sleep by the previous song, Black Moon.
The first curve ball of the night was the early set Red-Eyed and Blue > I Got You (At The End of the Century). Both of these songs usually show up next to each other in the encore, but the band had different plans. You Are My Face made its first appearance since May 5, 2010 and was welcomed home with open arms.
While tonight’s double encore didn’t feature any special guests, it did however, pack a pretty mean punch. I was hoping for a Via Chicago on Monday night, but it was very fitting due to the fact that Tweedy had mention a couple times that “It’s good to be home.” Just a Kid was a fun song that lightened the mood before a supercharged version of Monday > Outtasite (Outta Mind) closed out the first encore.
The second encore was worth the price of admission alone! Reservations saw Jeff Tweedy quietly singing the song while the rest of the band added subtle textures to the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot ballad. Spiders (Kidsmoke) took the sold out crowd on a 15 minute sonic adventure. Bassist John Stirratt and drummer Glenn Kotche anchored the song while the rest of the band pummeled the crowds eardrum with power chords, snare hits and some sweet noise.
Wilco’s “Incredible Shrinking Tour” rolls tomorrow night at The Vic Theatre.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The Riviera Theatre
Set: 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, Kamera, I’m Always In Love, Capitol City, Handshake Drugs, Can’t Stand It, Dawned On Me, Hummingbird
Encore: Via Chicago, Whole Love, The Late Greats, Walken, Just a Kid, Monday > Outtasite (Outta Mind)
Encore 2: Reservations > Spiders (Kidsmoke), I’m A Wheel