Infinite Surprises Wilco Live at The Forum Melbourne, Sunday 17 March 2024

By Nick Corr. (Photos by Michael Mackenzie).

Grammy Award winning outfit are on career best form for their first Australian shows in over ten years.

Opening with ‘Infinite Surprise’, appropriately enough the opening song on their most recent album 2023’s Cousin, as on record the song builds from delicate metronome tic-toc rhythm before busting into full band performance.

With the band playing three Melbourne shows back to back, they are aware many hardcore fans will attend all three shows, the six-piece outfit mixed up the setlists each show and presented a mix of material from their thirteen albums.

“Handshake Drugs” from 2004’s A Ghost Is Born was an early highlight. It was great to hear the tender “How To Fight Loneliness” from 1999’s Summerteeth performed live again; while the sole inclusion from 2007’s Sky Blue Sky “Impossible Germany” has become a showcase for guitarist Nels Cline who took an extended solo.

As band leader Jeff Tweedy joked “we’ve put out twenty albums since we last toured here” so it was great they included a couple of songs from their 2022 release Cruel Country with the pedal steel led “Story to Tell” followed by the title track “Cruel Country”.

The show included four songs from 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot with “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” including a great projection of rain falling outside a window, interspersed with strobe lights for the chorus breakdown; while mid-paced “Jesus etc” was driven by some tidy pedal steel guitar.

The stage backdrop was fantastic with giant curtains hanging down replicating the botanical sculpture that adorns the Cousin album cover. Using lights to replicate the bright pinks and orange from the album cover. This was also used to great effect with video and image projections during different songs, including brightly colour oriental wallpaper illustrations synchronised with the shuffling tempo of “Handshake Drugs” and a recurring motif of rain falling.

The show picked up the pace as the night progressed, as Tweedy mentioned at one stage “I think that’s most of our tender songs for the evening” before kicking into Cousin’s jagged title track. The momentum continued with well received upbeat material “Heavy Metal Drummer” and “I’m The Man Who Loves You” before the main set closed with “A Shot In The Arm”.

The band quickly returned for an encore that opened with Cruel Country’s “Falling Apart (Right Now)” featuring a great solo from guitarist Pat Sansone. The encore focussed heavily on 1996’s Being There with three songs of the five encore songs from that record. Just as it does on the record, the mellow “Red-Eyed and Blue” led into the rocking “I Got You (At The End of The Century)”. This was followed by the poppy “Outtasite (Outta Mind)” before the night closed with the punkish thrash of “I’m A Wheel”.

Wilco still have a few shows remaining on their current Australian tour and are in career best form so well worth checking out if you get the chance. Fans who missed out will be relieved that Jeff Tweedy remarked during the show “I don’t know why it took us so long to get back here – but we’re not going to take that long next time”.


  1. Infinite Surprise
  2. At Least That’s What You Said
  3. Handshake Drugs
  4. Story to Tell
  5. Cruel Country
  6. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  7. One Wing
  8. How to Fight Loneliness
  9. Cousin
  10. Hummingbird
  11. Evicted
  12. Impossible Germany
  13. Jesus, Etc.
  14. Shouldn’t Be Ashamed
  15. Dawned on Me
  16. Heavy Metal Drummer
  17. I’m the Man Who Loves You
  18. The Late Greats
  19. A Shot in the Arm 

  20. Falling Apart (Right Now)
  21. Red-Eyed and Blue
  22. I Got You (At the End of the Century)
  23. Outtasite (Outta Mind)
  24. I’m a Wheel