Wilco: Tiny Desk Concert Armed with acoustic guitars, tiny amps, a desktop percussion unit and a ton of grace, Wilco plays three new songs from The Whole Love and an old favorite in a stripped-down but powerful set at the NPR Music offices.

Tiny Desk

Wilco

Wilco: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/141331825/141400352" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

There comes a point at the height of a band's career where its members don't have to wake up on a Saturday morning during a tour to go play some office concert. For young acts, that sort of appearance can be about reaching new fans. But for Wilco, it's about pleasing those who've come to care passionately about the music.

Just a week before our first-ever Saturday Tiny Desk Concert, Wilco members Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt and Pat Sansone took questions from fans on All Songs Considered about their fabulous new record, The Whole Love. Then, on an early-autumn Saturday morning, Wilco came to the NPR Music offices armed with tiny amps, a desktop percussion unit, acoustic guitars, a keyboard and a ton of grace, to play three new songs and an old favorite for NPR staff members and their families.

For my money, Wilco is the best rock band in America, made up of brilliant songwriters and players. They're subtle at times, but they also have Nels Cline, whose outbursts on the guitar are pure intensity, even here at my desk. Confined to our small space, the band brought a little ingenuity: With Tweedy singing and strumming and Stirratt's melodic, solid bass making it possible for his bandmates to stray wildly, drummer Glenn Kotche played on percussive toys and noisemakers, even using a padded envelope as a drum head. And Pat Sansone, who on stage plays everything from maracas to electronics, here played guitar, sang vocal harmonies and even shook a paperclip holder. Mikael Jorgensen stays in the background, playing keyboards and various electronics, but he makes so much of that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sound happen on stage that he's essential to the texture and dynamic of the band. It was an unforgettable day.

Even at a seemingly comfortable point in its brilliant career, Wilco has an abundance of both fire and craft. As you'll see in this Tiny Desk performance, the group's songs still glow beautifully when stripped of their pyrotechnics.

Set List

  • "Dawned On Me"
  • "Whole Love"
  • "Born Alone"
  • "War On War"

Credits

Mito Habe-Evans, Michael Katzif, Becky Lettenberger, Claire O'Neil (cameras); edited by Michael Katzif; audio by Kevin Wait; photo by Emily Bogle

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

J.S. Ondara performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Nov. 5, 2019. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

J.S. Ondara

After first trying to win our annual Tiny Desk Contest, the singer-songwriter from Nairobi decided to put out a record, got nominated for a Grammy and wound up here anyway.

Max Richter performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Oct. 21, 2019. Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Max Richter

The eclectic composer joins members of the ACME ensemble for some of his most affecting music, which moves the audience to tears.

Wale performs a Tiny Desk concert on Oct. 30, 2019. Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR

Wale

The Washington D.C. rapper gives a charismatic performance full of humor, heart and plenty grooves, for the Tiny Desk Fest.

Yola Carter performs during tiny desk on December, 12, 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Yola

The singer who once sang for Massive Attack and sampled by Iggy Azalea and The Chemical Brothers, is front-and-center at the Tiny Desk.

Joyce DiDonato performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Nov. 11, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Joyce DiDonato

Watch the celebrated opera star deconstruct old Italian love songs with her signature flair, backed by a crack jazz ensemble.

Jordan Rakei performs during Tiny Desk on Nov. 15 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Jordan Rakei

Despite some unexpected gear problems, the soulful R&B artist and his band locked-in and played a phenomenal set behind the Tiny Desk.

Brownout performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 18, 2018. Cameron Pollack/NPR/Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR/Cameron Pollack/NPR

Brownout

The Austin, Texas band brought old-school R&B horns, bongos and deep grooves to the Tiny Desk.

Bridget Kibbey performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Oct. 24, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Bridget Kibbey

The irrepressible harpist proves that the instrument can be as tempestuous as a tango, as complex as a Bach fugue and sing as serenely as a church choir.

Jon Batiste performs during Tiny Desk on November, 8 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste's Tiny Desk Concert was published prematurely. The new publication date is March 2020.

Daniel Norgren performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Sep. 25, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Daniel Norgren

The Swedish singer sways and writhes as he and his band create a dream state calming enough to slow the day's hectic pace to a crawl. Take a seat on a comfy couch and have a listen.

Back To Top