At the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, the group Wilco recreates “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”


Blue lights pierced the smoke as frontman Jeff Tweedy sang about love, cigarettes and Chicago. The crowd rocked back and forth, standing for the duration of Wilco’s performance on Friday.

April 22 marked the first of three Chicago shows commemorating the 20th anniversary of the band’s seminal album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” Wilco attempts to recreate studio recordings for live audiences.

“Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” stands out as one of the band’s most beloved full-length albums, known as a turning point where Wilco began to find their unique sound and voice.

According to Shanlie Stead, who attended Friday’s concert, the tour is a measure of change. She said the album, her favorite from Wilco, reflected the urban environment in which it was created.

“It was the lyrics, the sound (that resonated with me). It was avant garde,” Stet said. “It’s one of those albums you listen to from start to finish.”

Josh Rosenberg, host of the “Roadcase” music podcast, became a Wilco fan when Nonesuch Records released “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” He said the concert was particularly special to him as the album was his introduction to the band’s music.

“I like the cohesion (of the album), the production, the feel of it. The way it’s tracked is awesome,” Rosenberg said. the test of time.”

Audiences Patrick Zakem and Mick Johnson, who both grew up in St. Louis before moving to Chicago, said they were thrilled to hear the album’s original arrangements. Friday’s performance marked the 45th Wilco show Zakem has attended.

Tony Guillen said “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” stands up to other landmark alternative albums like Radiohead’s “Kid A”.

“A band develops a kind of signature over time,” Guillen said. “For me, I think that’s their kind of file where they found (their signature).”

After performing the album, Wilco played a number of covers and closed the evening with a series of previously unreleased excerpts from the album.

Stet said he left the venue very pleased with the band’s performance. She said the highlights of the evening were “Poor Places” and “Reservations.”

“It was amazing. You could see how they grew,” Stet said. “You can see how they still have that heart. They got older and more confident.

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