Wilco swings for the fences at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass., then it rains

If Bob Dylan can tour minor-league ballparks all summer long, why not Wilco? Evidently, the Chicago band sees it the same way, and they’ve gone all out on their mini-stadium mini-tour with a baseball-style program (including a set-list score card), baseball caps at the merch booth and by posting the starting lineup on the scoreboard before the show.

Unfortunately, the metaphor was a little too complete Saturday night at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass., when the game — er, show — was called early on account of rain.

The band was in peak form up to then, blazing through older songs and shuffling in tunes from last month’s “Wilco (The Album).” The new songs were vivid and forceful in concert in a way that only a live setting can produce — the band dynamic on “One Wing” was jaw-dropping, with each element falling perfectly into place as the song built from Jeff Tweedy’s voice and guitar to piano, then searing guitar breaks from Nels Cline, all of it held together by Glenn Kotche’s inventive drumming.

The older tunes thrilled, too, via the roiling cacophony midway through “Via Chicago” and Tweedy’s crowd incursion, and then calisthenics instructions, on “Spiders (Kidsmoke).” It started to sprinkle during the latter song, and the droplets became rivulets during the next tune, “Hummingbird.” The band finished the song and dashed for more cover than the open-sided stage provided. An attempted return yielded “I’m the Man Who Loves You” before the musicians gave up and the soaked fans streamed for the exits.

Set list
1. Wilco (The Song)
2. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
3. Shot in the Arm
4. At Least That’s What You Said
5. Bull Black Nova
6. You Are My Face
7. One Wing
8. Handshake Drugs
9. Side With the Seeds
10. Deeper Down
11. Jesus, etc.
12. Sunny Feeling
13. Nothing’severgonnastandinmyway (Again)
14. Via Chicago
15. Impossible Germany
16. Spiders (Kidsmoke)
17. Hummingbird
Encore during a Downpour of Biblical Proportions
18. I’m the Man Who Loves You

(More photos here.)

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