"If I knew the... words, I would take you home!"
So sang Jeff Tweedy, cracking himself up on a spontaneous version of "Ripple" during the All-Covers, All-Request Wilco show at the Solid Sound Festival at MASSMoCA.
Wilco took requests from fans in advance and were thrown some curveballs by comedian John Hodgman onstage to form a set list that was all over the map.
The great run of songs opened with "The Boys are Back in Town" and ended with "The Weight." The Kinks, Stones, Dylan, Uncle Tupelo, Big Star, Pavement, Abba and Daft Punk were all represented as Wilco proved once again that music fans make the best rock bands. Wilco shuffled through "Ripple," got twangy on "Dead Flowers," hit pure pop on "In the Street" and disco-ed us through "Get Lucky."
Some songs showed their influences, others showed their sense of humor, some showed their love of all kinds of music.
A highlight for me was Television's "Marquee Moon" and the Beatles' "And Your Bird Can Sing." You can draw a line between "Marquee Moon" and "Impossible Germany," and it was great to hear the tribute come to life. (I've done that segue on the air, so this was particularly great for me.) The guitar solo was, as they say, pretty epic. A fine tribute to the great Tom Verlaine.
After a heartfelt but somewhat disintegrating version of "And Your Bird Can Sing," Jeff said, "I can do that better!" and they did the song again, and absolutely nailed it. He added, "it was a lot of a work for a two-minute song."
Solid Sound is a unique festival, more than just music, with the grounds of MASSMoCA bringing art and design to the forefront. It's a polite crowd of families with a wide age range and enough love of music to stay through three hours of joking around with Wilco after a long day in the sun.
Here's the All Request set list:
1. The Boys Are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy cover)
2. Cut Your Hair (Pavement cover)
3. In the Street (Big Star cover)
4. New Madrid (Uncle Tupelo cover)
5. Dead Flowers (The Rolling Stones cover)
6. Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan cover)
7. Ripple (Grateful Dead cover)
8. Who Loves the Sun (The Velvet Underground cover)
9. And Your Bird Can Sing (The Beatles cover)
10. And Your Bird Can Sing (The Beatles cover)
11. Psychotic Reaction (Count Five cover)
12. Tom Courtenay (Yo La Tengo cover) (with Yo La Tengo)
13. James Alley Blues
14. Waterloo Sunset (The Kinks cover)
15. Waterloo (ABBA cover)
16. (What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding (Brinsley Schwarz cover)
17. Marquee Moon (Television cover)
18. Happy Birthday To You (Mildred J. Hill cover) (to Pat Sansone)
19. (Don't Fear) The Reaper (Blue Öyster Cult cover)
20. Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young cover)
21. Get Lucky (Daft Punk cover)
22. Surrender (Cheap Trick cover)
23. Color Me Impressed (The Replacements cover) (with Tommy Stinson)
25. Thank You Friends (Big Star cover)
26. The Weight (The Band cover)
28. Roadrunner (The Modern Lovers cover)
Our friends at Paste Magazine have a link up to download the whole shebang.
Funding for WFUV's ongoing coverage of live concerts and festivals comes from The Agnes Varis Trust, supporting affordable access to the arts, education and healthcare.