Wilco / Jim Campilongo -The Kings Theatre

February 16, 2016 by
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Kings Theatre Marquee /photo by Howard B. Leibowitz /B.L.Howard Productions

Wilco’s new Star Wars album release and tour was perfectly timed as far as the landmark Kings Theatre was concerned. It enabled Jeff Tweedy and his bandmates to invite their legions of followers to help Brooklynites celebrate the first anniversary of the reopening of this magnificently inspiring venue.

These anniversary performances added to Wilco’s Brooklyn music connections, forged during the recording of Mermaid Avenue, as a tribute to Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday in 2012 and their appearance at Celebrate Brooklyn!  during that summer.

The  historic sold out opening performance dazzled the many first-time visitors to the Kings Theatre from the moment they strolled around the cavernous lobby, until the last notes of the two-hour, 27-song concert.

Jim Campilongo was the last-minute opening act replacement for Bill Frisell, who was unable to get to Brooklyn from Quebec City, due to the inclement weather in Canada.  Campilongo proved to be more than up to the challenge, playing the set with Bill Frisell band members Kenny Wollesen and Tony Scherr, and was enthusiastically received by the 3,000 or so Wilco faithful — no easy task.

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Jim Campilongo /photo by Howard B. Leibowitz / B.L.Howard Productions

Original Wilco members Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt have been joined in this incarnation by guitarist Nels Cline, multifaceted musician extraordinaire Pat Sansone, keyboardist Mikael Jorgenson and drummer Glenn Kotche.


Wilco /photo by Howard B. Leibowitz / B.L.Howard Productions

When Wilco took the stage, the two-hour musically transportive adventure began with “EKG”, “More” and “Random Name Generator.” They seamlessly worked through the rest of the 11 tracks of the Star Wars album, much to concert goers delight. The spectacular stage lighting featured a universe of cascading stars and colors, subtly adding to the other-worldly mood.

The second segment had a generous sampling of songs from other Wilco albums, including fan favorites such as ““Heavy Metal Drummer,” “Via Chicago” and “Born Alone.” The all-acoustic four-song encore brought additional accolades, as Wilco closed out the spectacular evening with “Space Oddity,” a moving musical tribute to David Bowie, which added to the special flavor of this very special musical event.