Wilco & Sleater-Kinney played “A Shot in The Arm” together at rainy Forest Hills Stadium (pics, video, review)
Wilco's tour with Sleater-Kinney and NNAMDÏ hit NYC on Saturday for a show at Queens' Forest Hills Stadium. The impending rain meant sets were a little abbreviated but they made it through to the end. People were soaked but spirits remained undampened. Photos from the whole night are in this post.
With the sun shining and patches of blue sky peeking through clouds, Chicago-based artist NNAMDÏ kicked off the evening at Forest Hills Stadium. I was quite happy to see him perform, having enjoyed his 2020 album, Brat. He sustained a fractured wrist a few weeks ago earlier on tour, and missed opening the show at Red Rocks in Colorado. Fortunately, he was able to schedule surgery on his injured wrist quickly and rejoined the tour later that week. NNAMDÏ has been performing with a cast on, which has impeded his ability to play any instruments himself, but thankfully his vocals are unaffected, and he's got a solid band backing him during his half hour set. We wish you a full recovery soon, NNAMDÏ!
Next up on the stacked bill were co-headliners Sleater-Kinney. Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker released Path of Wellness last year which was their first album since longtime drummer Janet Weiss left the band. For this tour, they assembled a bunch of backing musicians, including Bill Athens on bass, Fabi Reyna on guitar, Vincent Lirocchi on drums, and Galen Clark on keyboards. While the approaching Hurricane Henri cut their set short, the band still got in nine songs, drawing mostly from Path, 2019's The Center Won't Hold and 2015's No Cities to Love. The crowd erupted when they heard the opening notes to "Jumpers" from 2005's Woods.
As the clouds thickened, and occasional raindrops could be felt, Carrie, Corin & Co's set was cut 40 minutes in, and an announcement was made for the audience to evacuate the seated areas and to seek shelter underneath the stadium for an estimated half an hour due to flashes of lighting and rain starting to fall more steadily. Sadly, the half an hour turned into about 75 minutes as the rain grew heavy, thus ending any chance of Sleater-Kinney returning to the stage. The question then became whether the rain was going to let up soon enough for Wilco to play their set, and as the rain delay went past Wilco's intended start time of 8:30, some of the audience headed out and called it a night.
The faithful were rewarded, however. An announcement was made over the PA system that Wilco would indeed perform that evening, and by 8:40 or so, the weather had stabilized enough for people to return to their seats, many with flimsy ponchos bought at the merchandise booth. The stagehands had set the band's equipment towards the rear of the stage, much farther back than normal, presumably to avoid the wind-blown precipitation.
The band (Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Nels Cline, Glenn Kotche, Mikael Jorgensen, and Pat Sansone) hit the stage at about 8:50, and quickly jumped into the song that has been at the top of their setlists throughout this tour - the very appropriately named "A Shot in the Arm," which has found new meaning in the age of Covid. For it, they were joined by Carrie and Corin of Sleater-Kinney, which was especially fitting since Sleater-Kinney had covered it for the split 7" that they're selling on this tour (with Wilco on the flipside covering Sleater-Kinney's "Modern Girl"). You can watch video of "A Shot in the Arm" here:
The guys played a set full of classics and the crowd savored it, even as the rain fell quickly and heavily. So much for the forecast suggesting that the hurricane would miss New York City. We were so happy that Wilco was playing and didn't care that we were getting soaked. And while the band might have had to speed through their set a little and cut back on the banter, Jeff Tweedy did remark that it was probably a good thing that their set up had been moved to the rear of the stage as there was a hole in the tarp above it, allowing a leak to hit the stage every once in a while, right where he would have normally been standing, but he also noted that it might not have been such a bad accompaniment to some of the songs.
Wilco approached the standard 10 o'clock curfew that Forest Hills Stadium usually has, and many of us expected the show to end right then, but the band was granted a reprieve, going past the top of the hour with a few more songs -- the summery "Heavy Metal Drummer" and the uplifting "Always in Love," which was a great way to end the show. There was no real encore, but I don't think anyone in the crowd who bothered sticking around for Wilco's set could have been disappointed. We got a helluva show under terrible weather conditions, and still had an amazing time.
Check out setlists for Wilco and Sleater-Kinney, along with pictures from the whole night, below.
photos and review by Ellen Qbertplaya
SETLIST: Wilco @ Forest Hills Stadium 8/21/2021
A Shot In The Arm (w/Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker on backing vocals and percussion)
Random Name Generator
At Least That's What You Said
Love Is Everywhere (Beware)
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Art Of Almost
If I Ever Was A Child
Box Full Of Letters
Dawned On Me
I'm The Man Who Loves You
Heavy Metal Drummer
I'm Always In Love
SETLIST: Sleater-Kinney @ Forest Hills Stadium 8/21/2021
High In The Grass
Hurry On Home
Down The Line
Can I Go On
Path Of Wellness
A New Wave