What is better than a show at The Mann Center in the Summertime? Not much comes to mind. On this beautiful Saturday evening, June 4th, we were blessed with a perfect Summer night: clear skies and a light breeze. Between the weather and Wilco returning to Philadelphia for the first time in 3 years (last time performed was July 26, 2013 at the XPN Festival, unless you count front man Jeff Tweedy’s solo performance at the Merriam Theater back in September of 2014) – all the elements were present for what was surely going to transpire into a stellar performance.
Since Wilco’s last show in Philadelphia, the band has released their newest creation titled ‘Star Wars’. The group’s ninth studio album drifted away from the typical sounds of Wilco, leading to fans not receiving the album with open arms. Pitchfork even commented in their album review “For its first minute or so, Star Wars sounds like a record Wilco might have been required to give away for free.”
Despite their newest work not pleasing most die-hard Wilco fans, the Mann Center was nearly packed to the brim for the show. As we traversed the parking lot, finding our way to the entrance, we saw dads tailgating by their cars, and old friends laying on the ground enjoying the weather and catching up over red party cups. As you looked around you noticed that this was very few attendees’ first Wilco show. The group that had come out were seasoned fans ready for what would hopefully be a healthy mix of new and old pieces.
As Wilco took to the stage, the crowd rose enthusiastically to their feet, cheering and applauding. Wilco wasted no time greeting the crowd and went right into ‘More…’, one of the lead songs off of Star Wars. Unexpectedly, midway through the song, a visual LED accompaniment started to trigger. Throughout the night Wilco played classics including ‘I Am Trying to Break Your Heart’, ‘Hummingbird’, ‘Via Chicago’, ‘Heavy Metal Drummer’, ‘Impossible Germany’, and even ‘California Stars’. The song selection, mixed with the stunning visual accompaniment, the perfect crowd, and the picturesque weather, led to the night unfolding into the perfect Summer concert at The Mann.
[Photo credit: Druf]
[Article by Sarah Naji]
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