Wilco At Wolf Trap

 

iPhone 4S

Wilco are virtuosi, we’ve known that for years, but the last few times we’ve seen them, there has been a level of perfection that belied spontaneity.  Not so last night at Wolf Trap, where a band that plays tighter than a rusted rivet was loose, and frisky, and don’t even get us started on Nels Cline.  At one point — maybe it was after “The Art of Almost” and “Handshake Drugs” had Cline’s left hand working the frets with the force and precision of pistons in a V12 Aston Martin, or it could have been just before the Duane and Dicky harmony guitar in “Impossible Germany” — Tweedy looked over at his unlikely partner, and then at us in the crowd, and all he could do was smile, as in, “Do you believe this guy?”

 

iPhone 4S

Somehow, we lucked out and glommed what we were forced to refer to as the Mitt Romney tickets — not just in the 1 percent, but in the .01 percent, you know, so close we were listening to the band directly from their amplifiers, not via the ginormous sound system way above us that pumped out the songs all the way to the folks on the lawn, but in the range of the band’s own monitors — and inside that auditory bubble, Wilco was as fine as we have ever heard them, going all the way back to the Jay Bennett days.  Relaxed and having fun, with essentially the same physical set and playlist as on their tour last Autumn, Wilco’s making the most of their summer vacation.  We look forward to new music, but are grateful they played songs from throughout their magnificent and storied career.

Lee Ranaldo played a fine set to kick things off, and with Cline doing double duty and playing with his friend, you could imagine, from the guitars, that couples therapy had done the trick, and Sonic Youth were reformed.

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