If, say, Sufjan Stevens is the pretty face of independent-minded music, Jeff Tweedy is its undeniable spirit. Under the cool Chicago stars last night (Sept. 12), Tweedy and the rest of Wilco held court for more than two hours during a set that spanned the depth and breadth of the band’s impressive catalog. The scruffy-faced frontman was engaging and droll, playfully scolding the Jewish members of the audience for skipping Rosh Hashanah and wryly commiserating with the fans at the back of the gorgeous Jay Pritzker Pavillion: “Hey you guys on the lawn, I wish you could see us…we look awesome!”
They sounded even more awesome, as Tweedy calmly delivered his iconic tunes amidst the whirlwind of Glenn Kotche’s mind-blowing percussion and Nels Cline’s frenetic guitar work. Fan favorites like “Via Chicago” and “Jesus, Etc.” laid the groundwork for the incredible second encore, a strut back in time that included a rare live performance of A.M.‘s “Casino Queen” and a heart-tugging “Red-Eyed and Blue.” Though the crowd was diverse, running the gamut from parents with youngsters in tow to overzealous dude-bros to hardcore Wilco nerds, one thing was as clear as the early fall evening in Chicago: none of the 10,000 people in Millennium Park last evening walked away without knowing that Wilco may be the finest band working today.
We asked: Chicago has always been a prominent theme for Wilco, in lyrics, artwork, and the like. What’s your favorite Wilco reference to the Windy City and why?