Monday, February 22, 2010
Snowflakes break through the atmosphere
Califone opening the evening with an excellent, if extremely short, set. They sounded great in the expanse of Overture Hall - indeed, Tim Rutili commented on how very far away the top tier was. But when they had to wrap up after barely half an hour I was extra glad I saw a full show last month at the Hideout. After more catching up with local and semi-local friends between sets, it was time for Wilco.
I definitely felt more engaged on Saturday than I did the last time the band played the Overture in 2007. Our seats were closer, which may have been part of it, but things just seemed more energetic. My favorite songs of the night were the less-often-heard "Nothingsevergonnastandinmyway(again)," "When the Roses Bloom Again," and (gorgeous) "Country Disappeared," not to mention the intricate cover of Buffalo Springfield's "Broken Arrow." However, even songs that make an appearance at virtually every performance stood out. It was one of the best "Impossible Germany" versions I've heard in awhile, and the audience responded accordingly - with, dare I say it, near-Spanish levels of appreciation. (Well, near.) I enjoyed the singalong to "Jesus, Etc." and appreciated Jeff's lyrical coaching beforehand and miming assistance during the song.
The band seemed to be in good spirits, tossing the occasional Olympic mascot across the stage. Jeff ribbed Madison's mayor for not giving them a key to the city like Duluth did, but hey - not every city feels the need to pander! There was faux curling with guitars, and we all learned what a flexatone is - thanks for the demo, Glenn. This was my first experience with the band's new lighting setup, and I was impressed. The deep colors, textured backdrop, and flickering "candles" enhanced the show without distracting from the music.
Finally, after 28 songs, Wilco left the stage for the last time. I may not have made it to Michigan for a double header, but I can't complain that I didn't get enough bang for my buck on night one. Still, I can't help looking forward to next time.