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Live Review: Wilco

5 April 2013 | 9:37 am | Ross Clelland

Listen, and you found one of the greatnesses of Wilco. It’s making the intricate sound easy. It all fits. And the fact they’ve all lucked into being in this band, at this time.

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There were half-a-dozen nondescript guys on stage, dressed pretty much the same as the audience watching them: jeans more 'comfortable' than 'skinny', button down shirts genuinely – rather than designer – faded. But then Wilco started to play. Not one of their 'hits', but the quieter unfurling of One Sunday Morning eased us – and them – into it.

Listen, and you found one of the greatnesses of Wilco. It's making the intricate sound easy. It all fits. And the fact they've all lucked into being in this band, at this time. Watch frontman Jeff Tweedy smile as they lock into the insistent pulse of Handshake Drugs. See drummer Glenn Kotche, sweating through his shirt from about four songs in, just pick out a delicate little bell motif that gave the soft doubts of Sunken Treasure its heart, before knowing a couple of songs later it was time to arc up, climb atop his drum-stool and flail into I'm The Man Who Loves You.

Oh – and another thing: Nels freaking Cline. You were transfixed as the guitarist throttled that battered Fender Jazzmaster to create a fearsome chop and churn. But then there was Impossible Germany, where his solo spiralled and swooped, but never detached from the song. It was extraordinary. Tweedy's and Pat Sansone's guitars entwined, but even they ended up just dropping in behind.

But whatever scheduling genius who decided on a 9.30pm start with the venue's strict 11pm curfew – “It's not really 'An Evening With Wilco', it's more just a reasonable amount of time with Wilco,” as Tweedy snarked – meant an encore was dispensed with, allowing them to fit in the swing of Dawned On Me before the final sing-along A Shot In The Arm meant it was done, when performer and crowd would have happily gone on for hours. Even so, Wilco remain supreme.

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