Wilco Welcomes Stephen Malkmus, Mavis Staples & More At Sky Blue Sky

Britt Daniel, Neal Francis and Kurt Vile were among other guests who joined the band during their final performance of the destination event.

By Scott Bernstein Jan 21, 2022 8:27 am PST

Wilco was joined by a bevy of guests including Pavement‘s Stephen Malkmus, legendary vocalist Mavis Staples, Spoon frontman Britt Daniel and Chicago-based keyboardist/vocalist Neal Francis on Thursday for their final performance of Sky Blue Sky 2022. The band delivered a 23-song show and didn’t play any repeats over the course of their three concerts at the destination event held at the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Once again, Liam Kazar and Ohmme‘s Sima Cunningham shared duties filling in for Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen, who missed the event after testing positive for COVID-19. Kazar augmented the band on the “A Shot In The Arm” opener as well as the “Random Name Generator” that followed. Next, Sima Cunningham joined in for the Wilco live debut of The Whole Love track “Sunloathe.”

Wilco then dusted off “Handshake Drugs” with Kazar and “Can’t Stand It” with Kazar and Cunningham for their first plays since March 11, 2020 as per Setlist.FM. An even bigger bust out followed as “In A Future Age,” complete with Liam on keys, saw action for the first time since December 11, 2014. Later in the set, Daniel emerged to lead the band through “Kamera” before Neal Francis played keys and fronted Wilco on “Theologians.” Jeff Tweedy told the crowd Francis came to rehearse “Theologians” and “he sang the shit out of it, so he’s gonna sing it.” Both Spoon and Neal Francis played sets of their own earlier in the event.

The set rolled on with “Born Alone” and beloved favorites “Jesus, Etc.,” “Hate It Here,” “Heavy Metal Drummer” and “I’m The Man Who Loves You.” Tweedy and his bandmates along with Kazar then revived “Candyfloss,” which was last played at the inaugural Sky Blue Sky in 2020. Next up were “Casino Queen” and “Outtasite (Outta Mind).” Then, fellow Sky Blue Sky performer Stephen Malkmus came out to front the Pavement classic “Cut Your Hair” to close the main set. Wilco previously played the song at their Solid Sound Festival in 2013.

Mavis Staples returned for her third appearance at the festival to lead a two-song encore. Up first was The Staple Singers gem “I’ll Take You There,” which also featured Cunningham and Kazar on backing vocals and saxophonist Nubya Garcia. Wilco, Mavis Staples, Liam Kazar, Sima Cunningham, Kurt Vile and Spencer Tweedy then ended the night with a cover of The Band’s “The Weight.”

Watch fan-shot video footage from last night’s set below:


00:00:00
Chris Penn (See 4 videos)
Wilco (See 108 videos) and Britt Daniel (See 2 videos)

00:00:00
Chris Penn (See 4 videos)
Wilco (See 108 videos) and Neal Francis (See 13 videos)

00:00:00
Chris Penn (See 4 videos)
Wilco (See 108 videos) and Stephen Malkmus (See 24 videos)

00:00:00
00:06:45
Chris Penn (See 4 videos)
Wilco (See 108 videos) and Mavis Staples (See 24 videos)

Setlist (via bböp of Via Chicago)

Set: A Shot In The Arm (L), Random Name Generator (L), Sunloathe (L, S), Handshake Drugs (L), Can’t Stand It (L, SV), In A Future Age (L), Misunderstood (S), Far, Far Away (S), Bull Black Nova (S), Forget The Flowers (L), Kamera (L) (with Britt Daniel of Spoon on lead vocals), Theologians (with Neal Francis on lead vocals and keyboard), Born Alone (L), Jesus, etc. (S), Hate It Here (S), Heavy Metal Drummer (S), I’m The Man Who Loves You (S), Candyfloss (L), Casino Queen (S), Outtasite (Outta Mind) (L), Cut Your Hair (L, SV) [with Stephen Malkmus on lead vocals)

Encore: I’ll Take You There (SV, LV) (with Mavis Staples on lead vocals and Nubya Garcia on tenor saxophone), The Weight (SV, LV) (with Mavis Staples on lead vocals and Kurt Vile and Spencer Tweedy on backing vocals)

  • S = w/ Sima Cunningham on keyboards
  • SV = w/ Sima Cunningham on backing vocals
  • L = w/ Liam Kazar on keyboards
  • LV = w/ Liam Kazar on backing vocals
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