I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from a Wilco gig, having never seen them live before and possessing only three of their albums in my collection, but The Whole Love is arguably the best record released this year and so I had some anticipation when I entered the attractive Royal Concert Hall building (although at £4 a Jack Daniels the architecture was about the only attractive feature of the venue!)
When a band opens a show with an eleven minute acoustic performance of the closing track from their latest album you know you are in for a good night. One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend) was a surprising opener, and one played with beautiful intricacy. In fact, so intricate are this band that the first three songs of their set consumed around twenty minutes, including the breathtaking Art Of Almost.
The gig ticked away without a hint of a lull (well, except for perhaps the interruption of the whispering Rising Red Lung by the outbreak of a fight somewhere on the balcony!) and, during the encore, I finally got the two songs that I decided on the bus down that I really wanted to hear – Heavy Metal Drummer and I’m The Man Who Loves You.
For a band whose line-up has changed many times over the years and who constantly strive to re-invent their sound this was an extraordinary gig and a thoroughly enjoyably musical experience.
It is clear that Wilco are a band who are at the very top of their game. Perhaps amongst the best currently performing in the world? Certainly on the evidence of last night they are. An easy gig of the year contender.