Live review: Wilco, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, Thu 26 Sep
- Craig Angus
- 27 September 2019
Jeff Tweedy's iconic country rockers make a stunning return to Glasgow
It's a good sign when a band can leave out a dozen stone cold classics and still leave a crowd satisfied. That Wilco leave the Barrowlands audience gushing tonight is a testament to their discography, but also to their musicianship. It's an outstanding gig in a special venue that seems to bring out the best in whoever takes its stage. That goes too for the band's opening act, Chicago band OHHME, who are the subject of much buzz in the downstairs bar after their set.
There's a strong focus on the band's upcoming 11th album Ode To Joy, the band easing into things with 'Bright Leaves' and 'Before Us', later dropping the shimmering single 'Love Is Everywhere (Beware)', which is met with some whooping and hollering. 'If I Was A Child' from 2016's Schmilco gets one of the evening's loveliest singalongs too, albeit a hushed one.
While the newer material is popular and takes nothing away from the occasion, the really outstanding moments come from the older stuff. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot's 'I Am Trying to Break Your Heart' and 'Kamera' get an early airing, the chaotic drum breaks that see Glenn Kotche hammer at his kit throughout 'Via Chicago' are positively intoxicating, and Nels Cline's guitar work on 'Impossible Germany', a four minute solo that you'd watch for another ten. The band can rock out as good as any, but the restraint in some of the softer arrangements is outstanding too.
Jeff Tweedy keeps chat to a minimum ('we don't have long', he says, but they still manage a 26-song set), keeping it to a 'it's good to see you again', before a majestic 'Handshake Drugs', and his dry response to some persistent requests from the audience. 'We're just gonna play the one we were gonna play', laughs Tweedy, before kicking off the evening's highlight, a stunning rendition of 'Jesus, etc'.
Michael Jorgensen windmills throughout the encore of 'Red-Eyed And Blue', 'I Got You (At The End of the Century)' and 'The Late Greats' and it's the most relatable display of showmanship I can recall. It's been a weird old week, but we've still got rock and roll, and yeah – we still love rock and roll.
Reviewed at Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, Thu 26 Sep.