What was missing from last evening’s Wilco show at McCarren Pool? It’s difficult to be exact, with so much that seemed right: cool breezes, cold beer, greasy pork sandwiches (served by Fette Sau, and not in dirty ashtrays). Plus: the big hits, multiple encores, a high ratio of tune to noise. Perhaps it was the proverbial cock tease — not wanky enough. Let us, first, lay to rest the lazy idea that McCarren Park Pool is some hipster refuge. Yesterday, if anything (and this is taking into consideration the hipster lovelies occasionally seen cantering, foal-like, to join friends in beer lines, or perhaps simply share sweet nothings), the venue harbored middle-stream preps, members, one gathers, of New York City’s more productive industries, glad to stop off at home on the way from work to, sartorially speaking, revert — also attitudinally, perhaps — to their college days. This is all to say that the band had a golden moment: casual rock fans, but serious about a favorite group, looking for a chill time. And it was chill. But it was not bluegrass-in-a-big-field chill. Maybe it was the concrete. Maybe it was the concision of the band’s discordant eruptions. Maybe it was us, all of us — middlestream and hip of center — not quite dissolving into the moment. It was a fine time. But not quite beautiful. —Nick Catucci
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