Wilco in the RainSeptember 26th, 2011
Wilco – Rumsey Playfield – September 23, 2011
A poncho-clad crowd braved the pouring rain as esteemed Chicago band Wilco played the second of two sold-out shows at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Friday night. Leading up to the release of The Whole Love, the band treated the crowd to a mix of songs new and old, with numbers like “Passenger Side,” dating way back to their 1995 debut album, A.M., and favorites from all the years between.
As the rain waxed and waned throughout the night (but mostly waxed), frontman Jeff Tweedy declared, “You guys are kind of nuts,” and voiced his appreciation that not only was the crowd standing in the rain, but standing in the rain listening to “a bunch of new songs.” Of course the spirited crowd hardly minded the new material, heartily welcoming songs like “Art of Almost,” which demonstrated the band’s stellar musicianship with skittering rhythms and spare electronic elements, and “Born Alone,” quite possibly the poppy-est song to contain the lyric “I was born to die alone.” On the other side of the spectrum, new songs “Dawned on Me” and “Whole Love” harkened back to the group’s alt-country roots, and the gentle finger picking of “Black Moon,” augmented by slide guitar, provided a sweet interlude for some romantic swaying beneath umbrellas.
Throughout the set, songs from Wilco’s 2002 hit album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, were very well represented, with the band playing renditions of “Heavy Metal Drummer,” “Poor Places,” “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” “I’m The Man Who Loves You” and sentimental favorite “Jesus, Etc.” As the show wound to an end, the crowd was still hungry for more, leading Tweedy to instruct: “We’ll be back. Now go get dry.” —Alena Kastin