The first time I saw Wilco perform in the summer of 2006, it was my first opportunity to experience a live show from a band who has long been one of my favorites. The show immediately became one of my Top 3 shows of all time (I can’t even begin to consider what the other two would be…) and so it was with great anticipation that I took in Wilco’s show at the Halifax Forum on March 3, 2010.
The show was sold out and a swell of humidity immediately greeted us upon our entrance. Leading up to the show, I had been warned about the potentially dubious acoustics of the venue and though I personally would have liked to hear drummer Glenn Kotche’s snare drum boosted up in the mix, the overall sound of the show was decent, making the cavernous forum sound heavenly on multiple occasions that Wednesday night.
Opening their show with Wilco (The Song), the band could do very little wrong in the more than two hours that followed. The group played material from each of their records but leaned heavily upon their last four studio albums: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, A Ghost Is Born, Sky Blue Sky and Wilco (The Album). And as their set progressed, they showed their fans and the curious alike why they are one of the must see live bands in music today.
I was blown away by the sonic bombardment of Via Chicago as much as I was taken by other material like Impossible Germany (which featured an excellent guitar solo by Nels Cline), I’m The Man Who Loves You and Jesus Etc, in which the crowd enthusiastically handled Tweedy’s vocal duties for about 90% of the song.
Despite a false start on Can’t Stand It in the encore, the group is undoubtedly one of the most engaging groups you can see in concert nowadays. While some bands have to rely on gimmicks and pyrotechnics to hold your attention, Wilco rely on what they know best: Kick ass songs played by some of the most talented musicians walking the earth today.