Wilco/Nick Lowe: SummerStage 22 September 2011

Wilco’s shows at Central Park SummerStage sold out quickly and violaleeblue and rtb were able to get tickets but once again I was shut-out. Luckily this was a Bowery Presents show and my friend Kenny was able to get me in (Thanks! Kenny) and this time he decided to join us, which was a nice surprise.

Kenny and I walked in just as Nick Lowe was taking the stage. Just Lowe and his acoustic guitar. Nick Lowe was really the reason I was there – I’ve been a fan of his since…forever it feels like…and he never disappoints. I was afraid that big open space would swallow him up but most of the crowd was attentive and his personality is so huge that it’s like there is a big loud band on stage. There was one moment of sustained applause – the kind where the audience just washes their love all over you and Lowe was soaking it all up. Lowe told us that his job was retro-thermometer – he gauges the crowd to see how they feel about new vs. old songs and then he reports back to Wilco. He did do a couple of songs from his new cd but the crowd responded best to the older songs. Especially when he did an Elvis Costello cover – one of the most beautiful versions of “Alison” that I’ve ever heard. But the new songs are still pure Nick Lowe – witty, fun, and melodic

Set List

  • Stoplight Roses
  • Heart
  • What’s Shakin’ on the Hill
  • Ragin’ Eyes
  • All Men are Liars
  • Lately I’ve Let Things Slide
  • I Live on a Battlefield
  • (new song)
  • Cruel to Be Kind
  • Alison (Elvis Costello cover)
  • When I Write the Book
  • (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?
  • I should love Wilco – I’m a big alt-country fan and Jeff Tweedy (lead singer/guitar), along with Jay Farrar, was a pioneer of the genre with their band Uncle Tupelo. Wilco doesn’t stick to that genre but neither do the other alt-country bands that I follow. I was having a conversation about this with another alt-country fan and he said everyone either loves or hates Wilco and there’s no in-between. His reason was Tweedy because he’s so polarizing but that’s not the reason I dislike them. For me, their music leaves me cold. And they stray way too close to jam band sometimes.

    The stage design was what looked like rags hanging down with lights inside some of them. Kenny said the lights were louder than the music. There was a problem with the mix – Wilco, even with all their instruments, was getting swallowed up aurally and the light show wasn’t helping. I’m sorry that I can’t give you a set list or even name one song that they performed. Kenny and I left rtb and violaleeblue and we sat in back on the bleachers just hanging out, talking, and occasionally making a little fun of the band.

    Wilco is other founding member John Stirratt (bass), Nels Cline (guitar), Glenn Kotche (drums), Pat Sansone (multi-instrumentalist), and Mikael Jorgensen (keyboards).

    By Carene Lydia Lopez