My right eardrum has yet to recover from the double-header I took in at Brooklyn’s Keyspan Park last night. Man, does that faint yet persistent ringing sound nice! The evening began with a spirited set from Yo La Tengo, whose guitarist Ira Kaplan filled the minor-league stadium with epic swells of feedback and even tossed out a few underhand pitches for fun. After putting out albums for close to 25 years, YLT still jam with the reckless energy of teens in a basement — and I mean that as a compliment. Their noisy display was just the thing to get the crowd primed for Wilco, who opened their headlining set with “Wilco (the song),” naturally, and didn’t look back for the next two and a half hours (full set list after the jump).
Frontman Jeff Tweedy (pictured at another recent gig) was in rare form, cracking dry jokes, whipping his microphone around like a lasso, and generally having a grand old time through the main set and two encores. It had been way too long since I’d seen Wilco in concert; much though I’ve always respected their live chops, I don’t remember them being quite so fun before. Or so loud: Guitar wizards Nels Cline and Pat Sansone, who joined the band in 2004, got plenty of chances to show off their smashing, squealing, screaming fretwork, as did Tweedy himself. And as reinvigorated as the band seemed during new cuts like “Bull Black Nova” (amazing!) and “One Wing,” they rocked perhaps even harder on reworked versions of older songs like “Can’t Stand It,” “I’m Always In Love,” and “A Shot in the Arm.” (For the record: It may not necessarily be Wilco’s best album, but 1999’s Summerteeth will always be my sentimental favorite.)
We got some nice extra-inning action during the encores, when Wilco brought out a parade of guests. First came Feist, who sang her part on the new album‘s “You and I,” then the always-excellent Edward Droste of Grizzly Bear, who joined her on backup vocals for a few tunes — you can imagine how thrilled I was to see that — and finally all three members of Yo La Tengo, who returned to the stage for a truly massive “Spiders (Kidsmoke).” It was sweet icing on an already tasty cake, or tangy mustard on a well-grilled stadium frank. As I filed out of the ballpark, I promised myself not to let another five or six years go by before I see Wilco again. Have any of you seen them on this tour — or were you there at Keyspan Park last night?
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