As I meandered through the crowd as Wilco began their set on the second of 3 shows this weekend, I began to smell the familiar scent of a fall bonfire. It was a mixture of pine, burning leaves, and birch. I thought it was odd that at a venue like this, where I typically am inundated by the smell of weed or surly, that I am now able to add bonfire to the list of concert scents. But even though it was likely coming off the coat of someone who enjoyed a bonfire before the show, It was fitting. I imagined that, instead of a mosh pit someone tries to start, someone instead starts a bonfire, and we all sit down to enjoy it as the band plays. What better show to to do that than a Wilco show?
“Its our 24 hour anniversary of last night’s show” Jeff Tweedy mentioned just before beginning “I Might” off of 2011’s “The Whole Love” Wilco was smack in the middle of their stand at the Palace theatre, A full 3 night run from Friday to Sunday. I believe it was the Palace’s first 3 night stand from a band, and Wilco was the best band to do it, with enough of a catalog to comfortably repeat a few tunes all weekend, and throw in a few curveballs for fans who purchased seats for all 3 nights.
Minnesotans want so badly to claim Wilco as our own, like we do with acts like Bon Iver and Lizzo. Even though both acts are technically out of state lines, it seems like we treat those artists (and a handful of others with Minnesotan connections) like an overbearing aunt at thanksgiving who’s just so happy to see you, and hugs much tighter than you thought possible. Even when there is a slight hint that a band likes it here, people seem to go nuts. Wilco seems to have figured that out. Their tour poster was a cute Charles Schultz recreation of the band in Peanuts-like cartoon form, and their tee shirt was the spoon and cherry crossing in between the band’s name. If it was your first Wilco show and you didn’t know anything about them, you would think that they were from here. “You’re great St. Paul” Said Jeff Tweety toward the end of the night “You know that.”
Wilco seemed to get their guitar frenzy’s out of the way early in the night, With ”Handshake Drugs” and “At Least That’s What You Said” both showing off lengthly guitar solos, mostly from the band’s veteran guitarist Nels Cline. “Kamera” off of the band’s 2002 (dare I say classic) album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” was a deeper cut off of the album that was welcome in their set.
Most of the songs played during the night seemed to be a good balance between “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and the band’s latest release “Ode to Joy” that came out a little over a month earlier. “One and a Half Stars” “White Wooden Cross” and “We Were Lucky” were mixed in between more songs from the band’s catalog, all to which didn’t seem to phase fans at all. Typically when a band announces “This one is off our latest record” fans interpret that as a chance to take a bathroom break or talk to their friends. But Wilco’s fans stayed put, and seemed to really enjoy the newer tunes.
“This is typically when we leave the stage” said Tweedy just before the “fake” encore “but just pretend we did that and came back on for an encore” Before performing “Hold Me Anyway” and “The Late Greats” off of 2004’s “A Ghost Is Born” The real encore did come afterwards, and included a cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” with members of LOW, who opened the show earlier that night, and Friday night as well. Afterwards the bands took a bow together. “We’ll see you all tomorrow night” they said, speaking to a large number of fans ready for round 3 the next day.