Wilco Gives Bowl Crowd a "Shot in the Arm"

Wilco Gives Bowl Crowd a "Shot in the Arm" title=
Wilco Gives Bowl Crowd a "Shot in the Arm"
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By Rebecca Horrigan

As fans shuffled into a busy Bowl brandishing their vaccine cards, Wilco welcomed in their loyal crowd with a roaring and apt “Shot in the Arm” from Summerteeth. That song captured the post-COVID excitement and vigor of their expansive set, which covered songs from all stages of their more than 25-year career.

Frontman Jeff Tweedy and his current line-up of stellar bandmates have been playing together for nearly 20 years. The tightness shows in every honey-like harmony, stirring solo, or sound-effect laden jam. Guitar virtuoso Nels Cline provided eye and ear candy for the gear-oriented audience, working in plenty of intricate licks on his Fender Jazzmaster.

However, Wilco didn’t come to find their steadfast fans and cult-like success due to drool-worthy guitars or fancy lighting and sets. Wilco’s always been about pure musical talent and clever songwriting that cuts straight to the heart.

It didn’t take long for fans to jump to their feet and bounce along to songs like the effervescently poppy “Dawned on Me,” and the catchy and layered “Heavymetal Drummer,” one of the few songs played from a favorite album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Rare delights included the sprawling “Laminated Cat” from Tweedy’s side project Loose Fur with artist and producer Jim O’Rourke. 

Highlights also included “Box Full of Letters,” which launched the audience into a buoyant bouncing sea, and the undeniably sing-along-able “California Stars.” 

Tweedy, obviously pleased that they could be back playing live for a full Bowl, beckoned to the crowd, “Don’t postpone your happiness.” As the stars came out and a crisp October wind blew through the bundled masses, Wilco warmed viewers with the old-familiar-sounding, but actually newer song, “Love is Everywhere (Beware)” off his latest album Ode to Joy. Looking through the smiling, swaying stands, it was impossible not to take that comforting chorus as fact. 

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