This young lady made yet another appearance on-stage at last Saturday's Wilco blowout in Charlottesville, VA. That's right, Lilac Rain joined Jeff Tweedy on-stage during "Hummingbird" and sang right along with him, much to the delight of all those in attendance. I was proud to be able to capture the moment once again, as I was up close—front and just left of center.
My Wilco-mate and I lined up well in advance, and it paid handsome dividends, as we knew it would. Charlottesville is the last stop on the North American tour (if you don't count the Voodoo festival in N'Orleans, which is a truncated set) and they pulled out all the stops on this one. It seemed to me that this show was a real gift to the fans—a 2 1/2 hour long set to tide us over until 2008.
[further reading] More Lilac Rain moments & photos from Charlotte, 2007 and Chapel Hill, 2006.
The setlist was as follows:
You Are My Face
I am Trying to Break Your Heart
Shake It Off
Sky Blue Sky
It's Just That Simple (w. John Stirratt on vocals)
Muzzle of Bees
A Shot in the Arm
Side With the Seeds
War on War
Too Far Apart
I'm the Man Who Loves You
Hate it Here
Heavy Metal Drummer
Red-Eyed and Blue >> I Got You (At the End of the Century)
Outtasite (Outta Mind)
For much of the show, I was torn between watching Tweedy and watching Nels Cline. He is without a doubt, their secret weapon on the electric guitar. He'll enter a near-trance during songs such as "Impossible Germany" and "Spiders" attacking the strings (up & down the fretboard) with various objects, including a screwdriver, and some other kind of whirly-gig device. Add to that a myriad of pedals which he operates with his hand and multiple electric guitars, and you have a formidable musician which adds layers upon layers of electric frenzy to the songs.
John took center stage, and sang his "It's Just That Simple" drawing back some 12 years ago, while Jeff picked up the bass and let John have the spotlight for a change. This rarity produced immense applause, and a genuine smile of humility crept across John Stirratt's face as he accepted it. An updated (read: rocked-out) "Too Far Apart" and "Casino Queen" were also sweet tracks coming from A.M.
It's Just that Simple.mp3
Wilco 20-OCT-2007, Charlottesville, VA
Jeff commented about the audience being "off the hook" and the band really seemed to feed off of our energy, which was no doubt markedly different than that of previous nights. This due in large part to the fact that it was a GA show in a college town—not the kind of show one sits down for, nosiree. In fact, the entire second encore was a blistering crowd pleaser that ended with one of my favorite tracks from the Mermaid Avenue recordings: "Hoodoo Voodoo".
The night wrapped up with the epic "Spiders" and had it not been for the curfew, I believe the band could have gone on for a little longer. This was certainly one of the musical highlights of my year. I can hardly wait to hear whats next.