Wilco Rehearses ‘The Weight’ Backstage in Chicago with Mavis Staples and Nick Lowe

In December, the alternative rock band Wilco played a special series of hometown shows called the "Incredible Shrinking Tour of Chicago."

The tour kicked off on December 12 at the majestic Civic Opera House and continued over the next four nights, moving to successively smaller and more intimate venues: the Riviera, the Vic, the Metro, and finally Lincoln Hall, with a capacity of only 500 people.

At the opera house on opening night, Wilco played a 24-song retrospective of the band's 18-year history, followed by an extended series of encores featuring Mavis Staples and Nick Lowe. The grand finale was a stirring rendition of The Band's classic "The Weight."

Photographer Zoran Orlic caught a special moment before the show (above), when the musicians gathered in the dressing room to rehearse "The Weight." You can see amateur footage of the on-stage performance of the song here, and learn more about the concert (plus see a clip of the band performing "One Sunday Morning") on the WXRT website.

And for an interesting comparison, watch The Band's performance of "The Weight" (below) from Martin Scorsese's film The Last Waltz, which also features a guest appearance by Mavis Staples, along with her father and sisters in The Staple Singers. Although the film consisted mostly of footage from The Band's farewell concert on November 25, 1976, Scorsese filmed "The Weight" afterward, on an MGM soundstage.


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