David Letterman’s legacy is amazing not just for his uniquely off-kilter sense of humor, but also for the role he assumed in his original late night gig, giving a platform to interesting lesser-known bands out there when no one else would. For example…there’s the network television debut of that little band you may have heard of, once or twice, R.E.M..
Now, clearly, Wilco isn’t R.E.M. in 1983, but Jimmy Fallon continues in the tradition that Letterman started over thirty years ago, giving a nightly platform to acts with no aspirations to be Top 40 tripe (not to mention that the show maintains a similar brand of humor). And, if these lesser known bands do happen to break into the pop charts…then everyone else benefits from hearing good music.
One of the interesting things about this performance — from a band with an admittedly strong following — is that they chose a slow burning jam that clocks in at 6 minutes and change, in an era when most acts are given 3 or 4 minutes, tops. It’s not a radio-friendly single, by any means. Further, the high esteem with which Fallon and his network overlords (rightfully) hold Wilco is further proven by the fact that they were also given the opportunity to perform a second song, “Laminated Cat,” a 5-minute Loose Fur song that they have been playing in recent shows. A rare treat, indeed, and a welcome reminder that rock and roll is not yet dead.