New To Circulation: Wilco At Newport Folk Festival Los Angeles In 1998

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The year 1998 was a fairly quiet one for Wilco outside of the release of their Mermaid Avenue collaboration with Billy Bragg. Wilco only played 29 shows as per WilcoBase and most were short festival sets. Recently, a rare soundboard recording of the Chicago band in action back in 1998 surfaced.

During the Summer of 1998, the Newport Folk Festival took the show on the road for its first ever traveling rendition. There were 13 dates featuring the likes of Violent Femmes, Marc Cohn, Bela Fleck, Alison Krauss, Lucinda Williams and Joan Baez. Wilco took part in many of the shows including the tour closer at The Greek in Los Angeles on September 20.

A crispy soundboard matrix of Wilco’s set from L.A. is available for download via bt.etree.org. “I would like to thank this unamed taper/transferer for all his hard work and being kind to share this recording. Many thanks to all tapers/transferer’s for all their hard work it’s greatly appreciated. All credit goes to these folks for spreading the music and allowing us/me to continue to listen, enjoy and help spread good vibes,” reads a note from the uploader.

Wilco’s set focused on material from Mermaid Avenue including “Christ For President,” “Hesitating Beauty” and “California Stars.” Jeff Tweedy, Jay Bennett & Co. also played a cover of Rabbit Brown’s “James Alley Blues,” another Bragg collab in “When The Roses Bloom Again,” “New Madrid” from Tweedy’s time in Uncle Tupelo, “Forget The Flowers” from Being There and “She’s A Jar” which would be featured on 1999’s Summerteeth.

Listen to a sample of the recording with “California Stars”:

Setlist

Set: James Alley Blues, Christ For President, Hesitating Beauty, When The Roses Bloom Again, New Madrid, She’s A Jar, Forget The Flowers, California Stars

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