Thanks to virtual reality photography, you can feel like you were at Wilco's show at The Orpheum last night, but with 30 percent fewer plaid, pearl-snap shirts.
[Updated] In July, Wilco surprised fans be releasing its new album, Star Wars, and making it free for download. Monday night at The Orpheum, Wilco further surprised its fans by opening the show by playing the album in its entirety.
That was surprisingly well-received, though the moderate response made me wonder how many people had actually heard Star Wars, which I find pretty accessible. After that, the show settled into the band's sweet spot--thorny, but it wasn't the ball of soundfight that some shows have become. Nor did it get stuck in a grumpy mid-tempo--also a distinct possibility. Despite (or maybe because of) the opulent setting, Wilco seemed to be in the mood to rock in their Eno art-rock sort of way.
For more on the show, see my review of it for The New Orleans Advocate. In it I wrote:
Throughout its career, Wilco has synthesized the history of popular music into its songs, so no matter how obtuse a structure or abrupt a sonic shift, the band always provides familiar markers to keep listeners from getting lost.
It was easy to hear Bob Dylan in singer Jeff Tweedy’s vocals on the new “The Joke Explained,” and late in the set the version of “Kidsmoke” obviously borrowed from the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” and the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
I heard references to David Bowie, Todd Rundgren and Television over the course of the night, and the new “Taste the Ceiling” was Americana made for the day scientists announced finding water on Mars.
While there, I took two virtual reality photos--one between opening act William Tyler and the start of Wilco's set, and one taken during "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," the first song after the "Star Wars" part of the show. To see the photos in 360 degrees, hold down your mouse and move the cursor.
Updated 2:10 p.m.
The Wilco song in the 360-degree photo was misidentified. The text has been corrected.
Updated September 30, 9:30 a.m.
The photo has been updated and the link and quote from the review at The New Orleans Advocate have been added.