Photos & Review: Wilco Brings Winter Tour To Kings Theatre In Brooklyn

By Scott Bernstein Feb 8, 2016 11:37 am PST

Images by: Andrew Blackstein

Words by: Scott Bernstein

Wilco :: 2.6.16 :: Kings Theatre:: Brooklyn, NY

Wilco‘s Winter Tour moved on to Brooklyn this past weekend for a pair of shows at the recently renovated Kings Theatre. Jeff Tweedy and Co. began a two-hour performance on Saturday the way they have each show this tour by presenting the material from their 2015 studio album Star Wars in its entirety, followed by choice selections from the massive Wilco repertoire. and an acoustic encore. The current formula worked well and played to the band’s strengths throughout.

The Kings Theatre reopened to the public last year as a concert venue after decades of dormancy and has won raves for its ornate interior and stellar sightlines. Tweedy took an opportunity during the show to mention how excited the band was to play a venue as pretty as the Kings Theatre. While the venue is incredibly beautiful, the sound didn’t match as it was tough to pick out the detail that Wilco works into its music. It was especially hard to hear keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen’s contributions, though thankfully the guitars and vocals were prominent in the mix.

The chemistry of the current lineup is palpable and it’s no wonder Tweedy hasn’t altered the lineup since 2004 after making multiple changes over the course of Wilco’s first decade. Guitarist Nels Cline had plenty of chances to shine as his “Impossible Germany” solo continues to be a highlight of Wilco performances and his work on “Art Of Almost” left many jaws on the floor. “Spiders (Kidsmoke),” which kicked off the post-Star Wars portion of the main set, showed Tweedy also has plenty of instrumental chops. The audience seemed to be filled with diehard fans as many tunes turned into singalongs.

By opening with Star Wars, material which came off better on the record than in concert, Wilco loaded the backend of the main set with one beloved classic after another. The band pulled from seven different albums following the presentation of their new LP, with four songs a piece from 2001’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and 1996’s Being There to the delight of fans. Tweedy and his mates paced the show well as they mixed tempos throughout the 12 songs that came after Star Wars. The show built to a peak with barn-burning renditions of “I Got You (At The End Of The Century)” and “Outtasite (Outta Mind)” concluding the main set.

In 2014 Wilco started to work acoustic encores into their shows and continued that trend in 2016. On Saturday night the capacity crowd in Brooklyn was treated to five songs featuring Tweedy on acoustic, John Stirratt on 12-string acoustic guitar, Pat Sansone on banjo, Cline on dobro, Glenn Kotche on floor percussion and Jorgenson on melodica. The stripped-down treatment gave new life to older songs including “Misunderstood,” “War On War” and “A Shot In The Arm.” Another highlight of the acoustic encore was Stirratt and his gorgeous voice leading the way on “It’s Just That Simple.” Wilco said farewell with a powerful rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” just one day after its debut at the same venue.

With such a huge repertoire it was surprising how many songs Wilco repeated both nights of the Brooklyn run. It will be very interesting to see how the band works the Star Wars material into their setlists after they stop playing the entire album at each concert. For now, Wilco has settled in on a nightly formula and for those catching just one show it’s near perfection.

Photos (by Andrew Blackstein)

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”180″ gal_title=”20160206 Wilco Brooklyn Andrew Blackstein”]

Setlist

Wilco at Kings Theatre

'Star Wars' album in its entirety
  • EKG
  • More...
  • Random Name Generator
  • The Joke Explained
  • You Satellite
  • Taste the Ceiling
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Where Do I Begin
  • Cold Slope
  • King of You
  • Magnetized
  • Spiders (Kidsmoke)
  • I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  • Art of Almost
  • Hummingbird
  • Box Full of Letters
  • Heavy Metal Drummer
  • I'm the Man Who Loves You
  • Dawned on Me
  • Impossible Germany
  • Red-Eyed and Blue
  • I Got You (At the End of the Century)
  • Outtasite (Outta Mind)
Encore (acoustic)
  • Misunderstood
  • It's Just That Simple
  • War on War
  • A Shot in the Arm
  • Space Oddity  
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