Wilco, perhaps one of the most versatile and critically-acclaimed bands of the last decade, performed downtown at San Diego’s Copley Symphony Hall on Sunday evening. The group is touring in support of its eighth studio record “The Whole Love.”
The Chicagoan folk-rock veterans’ comparatively small but dedicated fan base filled every seat in the vintage theater. The show sold out in less than an hour, which has been the case for most of Wilco’s tour dates.
At 8 p.m. the houselights dimmed as Jeff Tweedy and company humbly arrived onstage, opening with “One Sunday Morning.” The serene, 12-minute track allowed fans to sit and admire the elegantly decorated stage set, which looked like a papier-maché weeping willow tree growing from the rafters. The set added to the excitement and beauty of the performance. The evening’s setlistconsisted heavily of the band’s newer material, but also included favorites such as “Shot in the Arm” and “Jesus, Etc.,” along with rarely performed classics such as “California Stars” and “Muzzle of Bees.”
Aside from Wilco’s outstanding live performance, the charismatic interaction between frontman Tweedy and the audience made the show more entertaining.
After finishing the first few songs, he joked, “We have so many songs now, we barely have any time to talk.” Later on in the show Tweedy said, “I think the last time we played this song (in San Diego), we were at The Casbah,” which is another venue known for hosting much smaller artists. Shortly into the beginning of “Box Full of Letters,” Tweedy interrupted the song out of discontent with the quality. “I’m pretty sure that’s what we sounded like at The Casbah,” he said jokingly. Once more they exploded into the same song with more power and enthusiasm.
It’s a tragedy Wilco will never be widely recognized as one of the greatest live acts. Although this recognition is justifiably deserved, it’s not the center of the artists’ interest.
The members of Wilco are more focused on producing creative and genuine music for their fans, which is proof of why they are so remarkable.