Wilco - Hollywood Palladium - 1/24/12
"Everybody okay?" Tweedy asked the sellout crowd. "Do you guys know what this next song is? It starts, 'Hey! You! What's for lunch?'" He repeated the phrase in rhythm, and Kotche played the opening beat. The group launched into "I Must Be High," one of the very first Wilco songs. The playfully hooky song was like getting in a time machine headed back to 1995, when alt-country was a real thing.
They cruised along until one little blip. Well, two little blips actually. "Capitol City" (sadly, not the song from The Simpsons) was enjoyable but slight, with a bicycle bell chiming while Tweedy sang about bike messengers. It left little impression. The next track, A Ghost Is Born's "Handshake Drugs," was the weakest of the evening. The track came off stifled and bass-heavy, never taking off until Cline turned it into a trademark guitar exercise. Things would pick up soon after, however.
Tweedy recounted recently watching Sammy Hagar perform. "He said 'pussy' a lot. I've never said the word pussy onstage before. He said it more like 'PUSS-AYYYY!' Now I said it for the first time. Pussy!" He laughed and added, "I feel like a big weight has been lifted off me." They launched into new song "Dawned on Me" which is one of the sleekest rockers they've ever released. Nels Cline broke out his double-necked guitar for the occasion, making their '70s rock indebtedness gloriously explicit. "A Shot in the Arm" is a highlight from 1999's Summerteeth, arguably their best record and one very well represented in the concert. It really didn't get any better in turn-of-the-millennium rock music, and it sounded great live.
After a short breather, the boys returned to perform "Via Chicago." Both creepy and inviting, it begins with the immortal line: "I dreamed
of about killing you again last night/ And it seemed felt all right to me." Accordingly, the tune drifted along on mournful lap steel and synth strings until incorporating shockingly noisy blasts from the instrumentalists. Tweedy just kept singing his gentle vocals through the maelstrom. "Monday" closed the first encore, and it was a dirty, Stones-y capper. Wilco are one of the few bands around who can celebrate and poke fun at their influences and write a damn good tune in the process.