Music Features

Wilco: Live at Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vermont (29/06/07)

Okay, here's a setlist from memory. I might be forgetting something but I don't think so. This is in relative order of release, not performance last night:

California Stars

Via Chicago

Shot in the Arm

Heavy Metal Drummer

Jesus, etc


I'm the Man who Loved You

I am Trying to Break Your Heart

War on War

Muzzle of Bees

Spiders (Kidsmoke)

Handshake Drugs

The Late Greats


You are my Face

Impossible Germany

Sky Blue Sky

Side With the Seeds *

Shake it Off


Right, so first off it was a beautiful night out on the field behind Vermont's Shelburne Museum, with not a cloud in the sky blue sky and the temp sitting comfortably in the 60s all night. We arrived too late to see all of Low's opening set, and I don't really know their back catalog, but they generate a decent sound for two dudes and a chick on a snare drum. That being said, their tunes were down, down, down and served as pleasant backing music for my lovely companion and I to savor the romantic atmosphere by scarfing a burrito and some Magic Hat beer. Looking around it was surprising to see the number of young children in the audience, alongside their comfortably middle class progressive vegan parents. Tweedy was to later make the same observation causing him to quip that before he saw all the children he was going to "work blue" tonight.

Wilco strolled onto the stage briskly at 7:30 as the sun dipped behind the trees and tore into a workmanlike version of Side with the Seeds, with Nels Cline showing how integral he is to the new album and the current incarnation of the band. Sky Blue Sky abounds with his stellar guitar work and last night he featured as prominently as Kotche's drumming and Stirratt's harmonies. They quickly moved into You are My Face, one of the low key highlights off the new album. Pretty soon we were off into some older songs and as you can see from the setlist the selection was "heavy on the hits" but that seemed appropriate for the laid back setting. The sound was astoundingly clear and Tweedy was in excellent voice, though he avoided the shredding acrobatics he sometimes indulges. Most of the versions were faithful to the originals, though Kamera was a bit sped up. Sky Blue Sky, as relaxed as the show got, allowed me time to get the best bag of popcorn I've had in my life.

Highlights are perhaps subjective but I'm a huge fan of The Late Greats and they performed the hell out of it. It seemed tacked on to Ghost is Born but it's one of their best songs and a real crowd pleaser. A free t-shirt went to the kid who did the best Shake it Off dance, and Tweedy offered a shout out to his sister, who was in the audience taking pictures of her bro - it was family night with Wilco and as a result the intensity was kept to manageable levels. There were a couple of exceptions. Walken built up to a rousing climax and the first encore offered a tremendous version of Kidsmoke that had this reviewer making a giddy fool of himself playing air guitar. Finally, Shot in the Arm's repetitive chorus and transition from D to G is orgasmic on record and did not disappoint on stage, figuratively speaking. The obligatory Heavy Metal Drummer wrapped it up in time for curfew.

Overall, I've been to few concerts with that many great songs played so well and sounding so good. It was a terrific show, short on surprises, but not lacking catharsis, and the overall effect was joyous rather than overwhelming. Cynics need not apply. The tour continues, so try not to miss America's best songwriter when he brings his tunes to a city near you.