Wilco at The Mountain Winery, Tweedy lets loose on a fan. [Concert Review]

by oz on June 27, 2009

mountain winery

Not really a pic from Wilco’s show at Mountain Winery, but a nice image of the venue.

Wilco made a tour stop at the amazing Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA last night. The show had everything you’d look for in a concert – a great opening act, an amazing set list, a gorgeous venue, short beer lines with Sierra Nevada on tap and a dash of drama between Tweedy and a pesky fan to entertain between songs. It might be the best concert I’ve ever seen.

Led by a fully bearded Will Sheff, Okkervil River opened just before nightfall with a brief 30-minute set as people trickled to their seats. The crowd? Mostly 35 and over professional Silicon Valley types. The folks seated around us hadn’t heard of Okkervil River, but the band slowly won the audience over and sealed it with “Lost Coastlines.” They walked off to a standing ovation.

Wilco took the stage as the sun was setting and played through my favorites, as if I’d picked the set list. I’ve been to several Wilco shows but have never been so fully satisfied with the song choices. The biggest highlight for me was an acoustic “Remember The Mountain Bed” while others included “Forget The Flowers,” “Jesus, Etc,” “Impossible Germany,” “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” and “California Stars.” The night was clear and the moon and stars created a tapestry over the Paul Masson winery and adjacent rolling vineyards. A stunning scene to say the least.

Throughout the show, however, Tweedy and a front row corner stage fan engaged in some banter that the rest of the crowd thoroughly enjoyed. Apparently the fan was upset with Wilco because the vocals weren’t up loud enough. Tweedy’s response was something like: “I’m sorry you can’t hear, but I’m not the sound tech. Do you go to a Who concert and tell them to get new monitors? By the way, I am equating us with The Who right now.”

Another song later, it continued.

Tweedy: “That’s what happens when you come to shows in a place as beautiful as this. There are neighbors and we can’t play as loud as usual. Maybe you could hear better if you would stand up!” The crowd applauds, then Tweedy continues: “When I saw the tour schedule, this was not the stop where I thought I’d lose control.”

You’re getting the picture. It continues throughout the concert and it is awesome.

Tweedy: “Dude, how are you complaining?! Your seat is 5 feet from Nels Cline! You should be happy!”

The guy actually approached the stage at one point and Jeff leaned down to hear what he had to say. Tweedy then jumped back to the mic and said “Whoa, whoa. Don’t blame your wife. LAME!”

Kudos to Tweedy and Wilco for keeping a great sense of humor throughout the dialogue and for continuing to perform like pros. I can understand the fan’s frustration. I’m sure they thought they lucked out with the corner stage seats, but most concert goers know that there’s a good chance the show will sound like shit from that location. I was further back, center stage and found the sound to be damn-near perfect.

All in all, it was truly special night. I was able to enjoy a California summer night with my lady, listening to two of my favorite bands playing my favorite songs, all while drinking my favorite brand of beer. What more can you ask for?

Fan Video: Wilco – Hummingbird, Live at The Mountain Winery. Notice the stage antics.

Here’s a full set list courtesy of The San Jose Mercury News.

Wilco (the Song) / I Am Trying to Break Your Heart / Bull Black Nova / Remember the Mountain Bed / One Wing / Muzzle of Bees / Shot in the Arm / At Least That’s What You Said / Impossible Germany / Forget the Flowers / California Stars / Jesus, Etc. / Handshake Drugs / You Never Know / Hate It Here / Walken / I’m the Man Who Loves You // Ashes of American Flags / Heavy Metal Drummer / Hummingbird // The Late Greats / I’m a Wheel

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Woody June 27, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Maybe you should be a little nicer to Tweedy next time.

Starkey June 28, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Oh, how I long to see Okkervil River again.

Jeffrey Greenblatt July 8, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I was actually at the show and was a couple of rows behind the guy in the front row. The vocals were definitely getting drowned out at times by Nels which was a bit frustrating, but I moved back during the encore and the sound mix was fine.

The Tweedy banter and interaction was all time classic, especially when the guy in the front was slow dancing with his wife during Jesus, Etc. – Jeff glanced over had a laugh and then put his hands over his eyes.

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