Photo via Wilco’s Facebook page

Wilco headlined a special show at Newport, RI’s Fort Adams State Park on Friday night. Though not officially part of the town’s historic Newport Folk Fest, the event took place on the festival’s site and kicked off the weekend’s festivities. Blitzen Trapper and Megafaun opened the special event.

In honor of the festival’s roots, Wilco book-ended their set with material from 1998’s Mermaid Avenue, an album of previously unreleased Woody Guthrie songs put to new music by Wilco and Billy Bragg. The group opened their set with one of that album’s tracks, “Christ For President,” before moving on to a series of Wilco originals. When asked to tell a story, frontman Jeff Tweedy recalled meeting the Ramones in St. Louis.

During their encore, Wilco brought out Woody Guthrie’s granddaughter Sarah Lee Guthrie and her husband Johnny Irion to sing and play percussion on another Mermaid Avenue song, “California Stars.” They remained onstage as the group moved into “Airline To Heaven,” a song from Mermaid Avenue Vol. 2.. Tweedy and Wilco’s Pat Sansone are co-producing the musical couple’s forthcoming album. Sarah Lee and Irions will perform with their family at the festival on Saturday afternoon.

Later, Wilco returned for a second encore featuring “Walken” and the final Mermaid Avenue song, “Hoodoo Voodoo.”
Another collaboration took place at Newport, RI’s Newport Blues later in the evening during Deer Tick’s series of post-show events. During Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons’ opening set, Deer Tick frontman John McCauley sat in on guitar.

Here’s a look at Wilco’s setlist

Friday, July 27, Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI

Art Of Almost
I Might
Poor Places
Spiders (Kidsmoke) (acoustic arrangement)
Impossible Germany
Born Alone
Laminated Cat (aka Not For The Season) (electric arrangement)
Open Mind
Handshake Drugs
Can’t Stand It
Whole Love
Box Full Of Letters
I’m Always In Love
Heavy Metal Drummer
I’m The Man Who Loves You
Dawned On Me
A Shot in the Arm
California Stars (w/ Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion on vocals and percussion)
Airline To Heaven (w/Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion on vocals and percussion)
The Late Greats
Hoodoo Voodoo (w/ bass/guitar/keyboard tech Josh on cowbell)