“We tried to mix it up from last night. So if you don’t like what you hear tonight, you should’ve bought tickets to both nights.” Said Jeff Tweedy as Wilco started into an odd version of “Via Chicago” that featured flickering strobe lights, a heavy metal drum session and astonishment from a crowd that simply didn’t understand what was going on. Then again this is Wilco, a band that refuses to be put into a box and categorized. They rocked, then swayed, played deep cuts and well known anthems, played some old, some new and only stopped when the Berkeley noise ordinance made them at 11 pm precisely.
I saw Wilco one other time when I was living in L.A. and that show didn’t nearly have the same feeling as this one did. There was a genuine affection for the crowd when Tweedy exclaimed, “You guys invented rock n’ roll. This is where it came from. I love this place.” And then went into “Outtasite (Outta mind)”. Opening for Wilco was the nonsensical and extremely untalented Jonathan Richman, who I’ve now had the displeasure of sitting through twice as well. I know he’s a punk rock legend and blah blah blah, but forget all that. Jonathan Richman is bad at music. It was like an eight year old on stage at a talent show, but we had to be subjected to the horror because we were waiting for our kid to perform. If I ever see Jonathan Richman again it’ll be too soon.
When Wilco came on they were far and away better than the awful opening act whose name shall not be mentioned again on this site. Their deep cuts were real deep, not Yankee Hotel Foxtrot deep, but Being There deep. The Greek makes almost any show better, but when the weed smoke is in the air and the crowd is as invigorated as Saturday’s was then it makes it even better. Wilco is an absolute must see for anyone interested in seeing these living legends in their prime.