Wilco leaves crowd wanting more

Courtesy Hilary Saunders
Courtesy Hilary Saunders

Monday night marked Wilco’s first Miami performance in seven years, and it was epic.

Miami Beach’s Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theater was packed with both older fans (as in, reaching their 60s old) and younger, college-aged fans to see the band on the first show of its “An Evening with Wilco” tour.

The evening began with an announcement made by a robotic voice stating things the band likes, among them general merriment and requests between songs, drawing laughs from an audience that was already buzzing with energy before the first notes were played.

When Wilco finally came out, that energy came alive as the band opened with the song “Wilco” off of their latest album, “Wilco.”

The song, which introduced the band, also served as a preview of the night: Wilco’s twangy pop powerfully delivered to relentlessly devoted fans.

According to Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, even the crowd’s participation was one of the best he has seen.

In fact, he referred to the Miami audience as “better than mediocre” when everyone in attendance forcefully sang the lyrics to “Jesus, Etc.” without Tweedy’s assistance.

The band was impressive, casually switching between playing acoustic and electric songs with perfect rhythm.

Standout tracks included “Impossible Germany,” the frenzied “Misunderstood” and “California Stars,” in which the band invited a young boy holding up a sign referring to the song to play and sing with them.

Apart from their songs, the band’s witty asides offered an entertaining night.

Tweedy shared the only two facts he knows about Miami (that it was founded by a woman and that everyone wears white shoes, of course), multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone humored everyone with his caveman noises and a happy birthday was sung to one of their stage guys, Steve.

The evening included a more intimate session in which flashy lights were replaced with a variety of lamps on stage and instruments like an accordion, a standup electric bass, a banjo, a sitar and plenty of maracas.

Almost everyone present was left begging for an encore when the show was over, hoping to make what was an amazing evening last just a little bit longer.

Alexandra Leon may be contacted at aleon@themiamihurricane.com.