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Wilco in Concert in NYC

Ellen Levitt

Posted on April 21, 2022 15:55

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The band Wilco is playing a series of shows to commemorate their album "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"

Occasionally rock 'n roll bands will play concerts (and even tours) that commemorate an album from their past. Years ago, I saw Cheap Trick at the Manhattan venue Irving Plaza. This was when they played shows dedicated to particular albums from their past (the show I saw was excellent). Now Wilco is playing a series of shows to mark the 20th anniversary of their acclaimed album "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot." 

How to describe Wilco's sound? Typically, they've been lumped into the "indie rock" genre. What does that mean? Guitar based rock 'n roll, with bits and pieces of garage rock, country, punk, synth rock, and more. Some of their songs are quite poppy while others more challenging.

I've been a Wilco fan for years but never really saw them in concert. One time I sort-of saw their show, when they played a concert at MCU Park, an outdoor minor league baseball stadium in Coney Island. It was sold out, but I, along with about a dozen other fans, stood on the boardwalk and listened to them, craning our necks to see the stage. At one point some of us strolled over to the alley and had a better, if still obstructed view!

When I heard they were playing shows at the United Palace, a gorgeous, older, rehabbed theatre in Manhattan's Washington Heights, I jumped at the chance to see them. I got a ticket in the balcony (which was cheaper), in the middle of the first row. 

As I walked into the theater, I was bowled over by the ornate ornamentation. I'm a lifelong New Yorker who isn't jaded. Some theaters of the past, such as the Kings Theatre near me in Brooklyn, were like United Palace, full to the brim with opulent details. I had to snap some pix

The opening group was a string quartet, the Aizuri Quartet. They played an intriguing mixture of new music, jazz, and bluegrass pieces. They also performed with Wilco.

Wilco played the whole set of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, including my favorite song "Heavy Metal Drummer" (which I have to admit I originally thought was recorded by another band). Their encore section was eight other songs, one a cover. I really enjoyed "A Magazine Called Sunset" and "Monday." Lead vocalist Jeff Tweedy spoke to the audience in his laid-back style, and drew hearty laughs a few times. (I really like his effortless, slightly nasal vocals which sometimes have a tinge of heartache.)

I enjoyed the show greatly and there was a certain intimacy to the performance, even though this wasn't a small club venue. I also liked the fact that there were a few empty seats to each side of mine (yes, I was one of the fans who wore a mask the whole time). In fact, I had an excellent view, and the sound was fine, warm and full.

Bands usually play tours to promote their new albums, but sometimes they play more retrospective shows. Rock on, Wilco.

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on April 21, 2022 15:55

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