Local Current Blog

Review and photos: Wilco charm Minneapolis at Hall’s Island

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. All photos by Nate Ryan/MPR.

Broadcast update: Tune in on Friday September 9, 2016 at 10 p.m. CST to hear the concert from Hall’s Island again.

Last night, Wilco and Kurt Vile delighted concertgoers at Hall’s Island in Northeast Minneapolis. Despite the weather, people happily braved the drizzle for a chance to see Wilco perform in the Twin Cities once again, and they were not disappointed. Wilco charmed the audience and even treated the crowd to a special, acoustic double encore.

Kurt Vile and the Violators opened the show with captivating music. The weather was a bit temperamental throughout their set, with occasional bouts of rain sprinkling down on the crowd. If anything, the weather helped to set the mood: adding a tranquil, hazy scenery to the melancholy sounds emanating from the stage.

The skies cleared and the sun shone out just in time for Wilco to take the stage and blow their audience away with a set that was also broadcast live on The Current. The band wasted no time in starting, jumping right into a highly energized version of the Star Wars track “More.” Wilco powered through seven tracks before frontman Jeff Tweedy addressed the crowd. Alluding to their performance at the Basilica Block Party last summer, he mentioned how it felt like hardly any time had passed since they had last been here in the Twin Cities.

“Minneapolis, we were just here. We’re going to come back every 13 months — whether you like it or not.”

Tweedy also expressed his gratitude for the excitement and enthusiasm from the crowd and for the overall warm reception they receive when performing in Minnesota.

“This feels like a hometown gig for us, so thank you for being so nice to us for all these years.”

Tweedy, as well as the rest of the band, seemed to be truly enjoying themselves on stage Saturday night. The band had an infectious energy and the crowd was feeding off it. There was an overall feeling of camaraderie, with people of all ages dancing and singing along to the music together.

As the night went on and the sun eventually began to go down, beautiful colors played across the remaining clouds lingering in the sky. Tweedy took a moment between songs to throw in a quip about the sun setting behind the crowd.

“I think that’s an average sunset. You don’t even have to turn around, it’s not that great. People need to be warned when there’s a subpar sunset.”

Wilco played an impressive 30 songs spanning their extensive catalog. There were several songs from their latest studio album, Star Wars, as well as a few tracks from their first album, including an acoustic version of “Passenger Side.” Two songs, “If I Ever Was a Child” and “Locator,” from their forthcoming album Shmilco, were also in the mix.

They ended their set with “The Late Greats,” but were soon called back on stage by the imploring of the crowd. They played a short, three song encore and then again exited the stage. However, Minneapolis was not ready to say goodbye yet and the crowd continued to cheer until Wilco emerged for a second encore.

This time, as they came back on stage, they were equipped with a banjo and steel guitar to perform an all-acoustic set. The second encore was much longer and featured soft, folkier versions of some Wilco classics. During “California Stars,” the concert took on a truly intimate feeling, making it seem like a small-venue show despite the fact that there were thousands of people all gathered together in one big muddy field.

As they wrapped up their final encore, the band acknowledged the audience once again. “You made this a special night for us. We appreciate it; thank you.” It’s safe to say that same sentiment was felt by everyone who was there.

Wilco setlist
Random Name Generator
The Joke Explained
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Art of Almost
Pickled Ginger
Handshake Drugs
Cold Slope
King of You
Via Chicago
Spider (Kidsmoke)
If I Ever Was A Child
Jesus, Etc.
Box Full of Letters
Heavy Metal Drummer
I’m The Man Who Loves You
Impossible Germany
The Late Greats
First encore
Red Eyed And Blue
I Got You (At the End of the Century)
Outtasite (Outta Mind)
Second encore
It’s Just That Simple
War On War
Passenger Side
I’m Always In Love
California Stars
A Shot in the Arm

Lillian Speakman is a senior at Hamline University.

Kurt Vile and the Violators