WILCO at the Bingo Hall

With a diverse crowd of young and old, hippie and conservative, curious and hardcore fan, the Halifax Forum Multipurpose room played host to the best band on the live concert scene today (in this writer's humble opinion).

Wilco hit the stage Wednesday after a short warm up from duo Bahamas. Jeff Tweedy and company began with the title track "(sort of) Wilco (the song)" from their latest pop oriented album Wilco (the album), after which the band were introduced by a disembodied robotic voice.

They then ran through half a dozen songs including "Shot in the Arm," "I am trying to break your Heart" to "Bull Black Nova" and"One Wing" from the new album, before Mr. Tweedy addressed the capacity crowd. He stated it was great to be back in Halifax and that this was the last stop on the Canadian leg of the tour which had begun for Wilco at the Olympics in Vancouver. He then introduced the crew and thanked them for their hard work as well as revealing it was merchandise/t-shirt seller Andy’s birthday.

The crowd joined Tweedy in singing Happy Birthday to Andy who had mysteriously disappeared. He then tossed a handful of paper plates into the audience and announced that Andy’s cake would make the rounds of the crowd. He then asked the crowd to participate in a sing-along. It was not hard to tell that most of the fans were dyed in the wool as the lyrics to "Jesus etc" filled the air as the band played. Tweedy appeared very pleased with the result telling the thousand vocalists how good they sounded.

About halfway in Mr. Tweedy chastised a crowd member for video taping and said that they allowed anything but video taping which he felt was fair, as did most of us. Jeff then asked what the Multi-purpose centre was used for and was told BINGO. He joked that if he had a nickel for every bingo hall they had played he would have a nickel.

Taking a request from an audience member they did a cool version of "Theologians" and after the initial set came back to play a six-song encore which included an awesome guitar duel with Tweedy, Cline and Sansome on "Hoodoo Voodoo," also throwing in "I’m a Wheel," "Hate it Here" and "Casino Queen."

I would have liked to heard "Kamera," "Sunken Treasure" and "I Must be High" but all in all this was one of the best shows Halifax has seen in a long time.

Andy’s cake did make the rounds along with plastic spoons. Jeff then had the crowd sing Happy Birthday again when the elusive Andy was located and ended the show with “See you again soon” which this fan hopes is not too long. —Swampdog

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