Live Review, 1/29/12: Wilco Airs a Gorgeous Melancholy at the Warfield


White Denim

Jan. 29, 2012

The Warfield

Better than: Being sad in less beautiful ways.

Nine songs into Wilco's performance last night at the Warfield, Jeff Tweedy stopped to check on his audience:

“This has been kind of a morbid show so far. Are you guys okay?” he asked, seemingly more serious than joking. “We figured if you're here, you probably enjoy being sad — at least a little bit. I know I do.”

Tweedy excels at writing pained songs — some as miserably precise in their lyrics as they are desolate in their sonics. But last night, even with a setlist that included some of this Chicago band's bleakest and best moments, Wilco's two-hour performance was never morbid. Instead it felt like a solemn celebration, a bracing reminder of the magic that can happen when a songwriter, a rock band, and a relatively small audience come together in just the right way. The songs themselves may have expressed misery, but the grace and energy given to them imparted a kind of a buzzing, heartworn elation.

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