04 July 2016 (gig)
05 July 2016
In the majestic setting of the Piazza Castello in the medieval city of Ferrara, magical things happen when bands come to play here. Tonight with a double bill of Wilco and Kurt Vile and the Violators, expectations for an evening full of enchantment and wonder are high. As the crowd begins to assemble in this wondrous square,with the hot day’s sun just starting to set, Kurt Vile(ex The War On drugs) begins the show and immediately finds a melodic groove that captures the attention of this mixed crowd, both young and old, boys and girls, all seemingly cool, smoking cigarettes and sipping mojitos and beers. It’s very relaxed, no jostling or pushing today!
Kurt’s vocal inflections are very “Dylanesque” and along with his guitar playing, full of Neil Young style melodic instincts, that interweave within these grooves, means The Violators and he are very appealing and indeed rather soothing. For me the stand out and simply outstanding tracks are ‘Girl Called Alex’ and ‘ Goldtone’ that absolutely need to be checked out.
Wilco come on about 22.00 with the crowd nicely filled ou now. To describe the next two hours can be succinctly done by saying I have never seen Jeff Tweedy so happy. He is absolutely 100% on top of his game having assuredly steered the ship that is Wilco through the troublesome seas of lineup changes and artistic differences to a Caribbean style desert island destination where the sea and sky are always blue and the sun always shines.
The superlative crew which has taken this voyage with Jeff for the last 8/9 years since the ‘Sky Blue Sky’ album really, by name are, John Stirratt (bass), Nels Cline (guitar), Glenn Kotche (drums), Pat Sansone(a bit of everything), Mikael Jorgensen(keyboards) and they deserve to be mentioned because along with Captain Tweedy, they make up the best live band that currently tread the foreign seas.
It’s a sonorous sound, grandiose in it’s experimentation and execution. The band have evolved together, always exploring avenues to stimulate and entertain firstly themselves, and secondly their audience, never bowing to trickery but only to skill, patience and temptation. The Piazza Castello is acoustically perfect allowing Jeff Tweedy’s wondrous melodies to totally captivate the listener. He can sense it, feel his band playing 'in the moment', hence his happy state.
Certainly they need to project better on their vinyl performances because live, tracks from ‘The Whole Love’ and ‘Star Wars’ albums for example which may seem tame, come alive and ignite the crowds feverish passion.
Jeff thanks the city of Ferrara for a wonderful day, this being Independence day (4th of July) in America, and the trials and tribulations of long tours seem all but forgotten tonight for him and the band.
Some highlights were a riveting ‘Cold Slope’, a truly mesmerizing ‘Spiders’, a brooding ‘Via Chicago’, the collective sigh of the crowd as ‘Impossible Germany’ started up with Nels Cline virtuoso amazing guitar solo but I could mention many others.
Coming back for an acoustic set on the edge of the stage, added to the heartfelt warmth created with the crowd and allowed John and Pat to shine as they added glorious backing vocals to Jeff Tweedy’s enchanting voice; indeed, who has a better voice than he in the rock’n’roll circus.
Be good to yourself and your loved ones and try and catch Wilco live this year. They will be touring USA, South America and Europe again later on in the year. Who doesn’t know of them, and there are still many, need to be told.
Is it the best guarded secret that they are the best live band on the touring circuit?
Well not for long my friends, surely not for long.
“Random Name Generator”
“I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”
“Art of Almost”
“King of You”
“Box Full of Letters”
“Heavy Metal Drummer”
“I’m the Man Who Loves You”
“Dawned on Me”
“The Late Greats”
“It’s Just That Simple”
“War on War”
“I’m Always in Love”
“A Shot in the Arm”