Although Wilco released Sky Blue Sky in May 2007 the band's subsequent (and multiple) U.S. tours never hit St. Louis. The grumbling increased earlier this year after Jeff Tweedy and Co. announced a five-night stand in Chicago — a slap in the face to those in town who most remember the Belleville, Illinois, native from his stint at Euclid Records in the '80s. But these sins were forgiven in May, when Wilco camped out in town for a three-night residency at the Pageant. The trio of shows felt like a raucous, drunken family reunion, thanks to song dedications to Tweedy's dad (Uncle Tupelo's "New Madrid," A.M.'s "Passenger Side"), plenty of references to local lingo ("slingers") and band participation in the city's traditions (attendance at a Cardinals game). Naturally, perhaps the biggest ovation came before the band played Yankee Hotel Foxtrot's "Heavy Metal Drummer." (That's the song whose lyrics — "I sincerely miss those heavy metal bands/I used to go see on the Landing in the summer" — precisely capture the Lou's ever-present nostalgia for bygone days.) Tweedy playfully asked the crowd if they still go to the Landing — and when they screamed in the affirmative, he quipped: "You shouldn't!" That loose, lighthearted attitude also permeated Wilco's performances, during which the gentler Sky material came alive with nuance and older numbers ("Misunderstood" in particular) thundered with passion. St. Louis holds grudges against native sons who leave for greener pastures — but Wilco's extended residency did wonders to reassure the city that Tweedy hasn't forgetten his roots.
© 2022 Riverfront Times