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Concert Reviews:
Wilco Wins Hearts At Fox Theatre Show

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2007

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DETROIT -- Wilco's Jeff Tweedy informed us that he was trying to break our hearts early in Wilco's concert Wednesday (Oct. 17) at the Fox Theatre.

But the only heartbreak came when the houselights came up and fans realized there would be no more music.

Since its formation in 1994 from the ashes of the legendary Americana group Uncle Tupelo, Wilco has been one of American rock's most consistent bands. But it's hit a particularly strong groove in the past three years thanks to the sextet's longest-lived lineup and a series of adventurous albums -- including this year's "Sky Blue Sky" -- that have further expanded Wilco's idiosyncratic blend of rock, pop, country and soul.

On Thursday, Tweedy and company spent most of their two-hour, 23-song set concentrating on Wilco's last three albums, also including 2002's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and 2004's "A ghost is born." Sporting a flashy white Nudie suit to bring a touch of the Grand Ole Opry to the Fox, Tweedy led the group through the "Sky Blue Sky" tracks "Either Way" and "You Are My Face" before working into "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot's" "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" and "A ghost's..." "Handshake Drugs," all mixing melody with dissonance brought by Nels Cline's avant guitar heroics.

But there was restraint, too, on songs such as "Pot Kettle Black," "Side With the Seeds" and "A Shot in the Arm," and Wilco surely delighted its older fans by reaching back for early career favorites such as the moody "Via Chicago" and rockers like "Too Far Apart," "Casino Queen" and "Outtasite (Outta Mind)." Opening act Andrew Bird joined Wilco for four songs, his violin bringing an extra layer of drone to the epic "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" and the soulful "Jesus Etc." -- the latter part of a sublime three-song first encore set that also included sharp performances of the new "Hate it Here" and the college radio hit "Heavy Metal Drummer."

Ever droll, Tweedy saluted the exuberant Fox crowd for holding up the reputation of Detroit Rock City -- especially compared to what he said was a "lame" crowd in Columbus, Ohio, the night before. Wilco's performance, however, made that enthusiasm inevitable.

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