Jeff Tweedy has played countless venues all over the world, but he’s never played inside a wedding cake.

At least that’s what Dublin’s Olympia Theatre looks like from the Wilco frontman’s perspective, as he drily announces upon taking the stage; to the sold out crowd, it feels more like the inside of an oven due to the unseasonal humid weather raising temperatures inside and outside the theatre.

Truth be told, Wilco ought to be playing a much bigger venue than the hallowed halls of the Olympia. While dozens of inferior bands have come and gone over their almost 30-year history - many of them sweeping through the 3Arena for a headline gig or two before sinking without a trace - the Chicago band has been an enduring presence, but also one that has remained steadfastly mid-level; enormously respected, critically acclaimed but unlikely to hit number one on the Spotify streaming charts anytime soon.

No matter. Tonight’s Dublin gig feels like a special occasion for everyone here, particularly since it’s their first show in the city since 2016. Tweedy and his bandmates have a few more albums under their belt by now, and the setlist is reflective of their ever-evolving sound; although new album ‘Cousin’ is just weeks away from being released, tracks from last year’s ‘Cruel Country’ are treated with the same enthusiasm and poise as those from 1996’s ‘Being There’. ‘Misunderstood’ is a ragged blast of ornery defiance. ‘Handshake Drugs’ is a slinky, sloping joy. ‘If I Ever Was a Child’ showcases Tweedy’s penchant for lilting, lyrical melody, while the surging ‘The Late Greats’ and the soft swoon of ‘Jesus Etc.’ are crowd-pleasers for the more casual fans in the audience (although is there such a thing as a casual Wilco fan? If you’re in, it feels like you’re all in.) It’s a thrill to hear the raucous build-up to ‘A Shot in the Arm’, while the zippy, freewheeling joy of ‘I’m a Wheel’ closes their set with a bang, as Tweedy and his comrades depart to a deserved standing ovation. 

The band play with a fluidity only achieved after decades together (the current line-up has been in situ since 2004) and a setlist that covers all bases, although Nels Cline’s tiresome soloing on songs like ‘Impossible Germany’ makes for a contentious post-pub discussion. Still, we can all agree on one thing: Wilco are simply one of those bands that will never let you down. Come back soon, fellas.