Wilco Focuses On Covers For First-Ever All-Request Set


Last night Wilco headlined their own Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA by doing something they've never done before. The band played an All- Request Set to close out the first day of the festival. Jeff Tweedy and Co. promised the set would be "comprised exclusively of fan-requested songs, including covers" and they weren't kidding, especially about the covers. By the time the set was through, Wilco had performed 27 songs with one lone original joining an extremely wide range of covers.

The set started fittingly with a take on "The Boys Are Back In Town" by Thin Lizzy, as this year marks the return of Solid Sound after Wilco took 2012 off from throwing the event. From there, the sextet tackled fan-requested covers such as Pavement's "Cut Your Hair," "Dead Flowers" by The Rolling Stones and Dylan's "Simple Twist Of Fate" before comedian John Hodgman came out and picked "Ripple" by the Grateful Dead via "randomizer." For many of the songs Wilco played last night there was some sort of connection with the cover, whether it was that they once performed "Ripple" with Phil Lesh or that Tweedy's old band, Uncle Tupelo, was known to cover "Dead Flowers."

Following takes on "Who Loves The Sun" (Velvet Underground), "And Your Bird Can Sing" (The Beatles) and "Psychotic Reaction" (Count Five); Hodgman returned for another "randomizer" segment and this time selected the Yo La Tengo tune "Tom Courtenay" and since the Hoboken- based indie legends were on hand at the festival, Wilco shared the stage with Yo La Tengo for "Tom Courtenay."

Wilco didn't just debut covers they've never played before during the "All-Request Set," they also dipped back into their history to tackle "James Alley Blues" from early 20th century folk artist Richard "Rabbit" Brown. "James Alley Blues" was a regular part of Wilco's repertoire between 1997 and 1999, but disappeared after a November 5, 1999 performance...until last night.

Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of NYC's Lucius, one of the other bands on the Solid Sound lineup, came out to provide backing vocals on "Waterloo Sunset" by The Kinks and to lead Wilco through ABBA's "Waterloo." After a take on "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding" Hodgman's "randomizer" led Wilco to tackle the much-beloved Television classic "Marquee Moon" and "Happy Birthday" in honor of multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone.

Covers of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and "Cinnamon Girl" were followed by a promised "Stump The Band" segment. Wilco tried their hand briefly at "Atonement" by Lucinda Williams and The Cranberries' "Dreams" before settling in on Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." One of the evening's biggest surprises, on a night filled with them, happened towards the end of Wilco's set when The Replacements' bassist Tommy Stinson emerged for a take on The Mats' "Color Me Impressed." For the encore, Wilco dedicated "The Weight" to Levon Helm and were joined by Wolfe and Laessig for The Band cover. "Roadrunner" by The Modern Lovers with its cries of "I'm in love with Massachusetts" served as a fitting end to the show, with Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan on guitar, James McNew on keyboards and Georgia Hubley on maracas.

Wilco performs again tonight at Solid Sound and we're thinking they'll focus on originals.



Watch a brief clip of the "Boys Are Back In Town" opener:

Here's Wilco's first take (of two) on "And Your Bird Can Sing":

And the second take!

Watch Jeff Tweedy sing "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk:

Tommy Stinson joins Wilco for "Color Me Impressed" from his original band - The Replacements:

[Hat Tip - CoS]

Here's audio of the entire "Color Me Impressed" by The Replacements NYCTaper:

Take a look Wilco's version of "Who Loves The Sun" by The Velvet Underground:

Wilco tackles '90s classic "Cut Your Hair" by Pavement:

A short clip of "Marquee Moon" has surfaced:

Here's audio of the entire "Marquee Moon" cover thanks to NYCTaper:

Wilco does a good job with "Ripple" by the Grateful Dead:

Check out "Simple Twist Of Fate" from last night's set:

Tweedy and Wilco were backed by Lucius for "Waterloo Village" by The Kinks:

Take a look at 90 seconds of Wilco covering "Cinnamon Girl":

A clip of Wilco's "Don't Fear The Reaper" has surfaced:

Wilco added their own spin to "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" by their friend Nick Lowe:

The finale of last night's set was "Roadrunner" featuring Yo La Tengo:

You can now download the entire set over at NYCTaper.

[Published on: 6/22/13]

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