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Jeff Tweedy -- 1/30/11, Chicago, IL


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I'm not necessarily a Rahm supporter and I don't even have a voting interest in the mayoral race yet, so I won't get into the political/other stuff that was being discussed in the Just A Fan thread. I literally decided to go to the show about an hour before doors because I was sitting at home not doing anything. But I'm glad I did...

 

First because Jeff did come out and play (or rather, sing) on I Am Trying To Break Your Heart with opening act JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound. If memory serves, he took the second verse as well as the "Theologians" interlude that JC normally inserts into his cover version. Jeff and the Uptown Sound had played within a few hours of each other at the Letters to Santa event at Second City last month and the Uptown Sound played IATTBYH there as well, but there was no collaboration. So it was nice to see them finally get together! :thumbup

 

As for Jeff's set, which went about 50 minutes -- it seemed as if there was a 9 p.m. curfew -- of course the highlight was getting to hear a new song for the first time. I'm always hesitant to try and describe a song after just hearing it once in the course of a show, but I can say that to my ears it was a pretty simple folky number the way he played it. I jotted down a couplet that I'm not sure was a chorus or not, but it was repeated at least once, so anyway: "I would only dream of the dreams we dreamed if you were so inclined/I would love to be the one to open up your mind." The only other line I managed to jot down was the opening one, something like "I would throw myself underneath the wheels of any train..."

 

Someone mentioned that it reminded them a little bit of Woody Guthrie, which I would agree with to an extent. Of course we have no idea yet what the final arrangement or result will be, so it's all just a guess at this point.

 

The rest of the set was pretty standard, though Jeff had some funny banter as usual. Before playing the new song, he explained that he couldn't really remember any of the older songs (and subsequently proved that a couple times. Haha.) When someone yelled out for a second new one, he demurred, saying the one he had played was probably already on YouTube and that we had to save some for the album.

 

Jeff also related how he had gotten an e-mail titled "Rahm Requests" with about seven songs that Rahm knew and wanted to hear. Not sure how many Jeff wound up doing, but after "Hummingbird," he said that had been one of the requests and that it "should be good enough for Tweedy Boulevard." :lol

 

And one last funny bit, lest I drone on too long, was when Jeff basically aborted "The Late Greats" halfway through when he momentarily couldn't remember how to play the piano part on guitar. He let it go and played "Jesus, etc.," without incident, but you could tell the flub from before was still bugging him, so when someone yelled out for "The Late Greats" again, he picked it right up where he had messed up and finished the song. He said afterward that his kids were in attendance and, with a smile, said he thought it was a good lesson for them in perseverance, whatever it took. Haha. :lol

 

Anyway, here was the complete setlist as played for the Rahm show:

 

Spiders (Kidsmoke)

new song-Open Up Your Mind?

One Wing

Hummingbird

New Madrid

Walken

The Late Greats (aborted)

Jesus, etc.

The Late Greats (finished)

Heavy Metal Drummer

I'm The Man Who Loves You

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I live 2 blocks from the Park West, so I decided to go at the last minute as well. Apparently, Rahm introduced the best "band" in Chicago not realizing that Wilco wasn't about to take the stage. Rahm mentioned how great the "band" was a few different times in his intro. Clearly, Rahm is not that familiar with Jeff's work and has no idea how amazing Jeff is. So, Jeff opened by saying, "it's just me." The political rhetoric was at a minimum, maybe 3 minutes in all. Jeff played for about 50 minutes, and I think 10 of those minutes he spent tuning his guitar. Or the tuning was some sort of acoustical version of Less Than You Think? Just kidding. Jeff actually joked how great of theatre it is to watch him tune his guitar. Rahm also mentioned something about 7 songs, and 7 Supreme Court Justices when wrapping the evening up? I thought there were 9 Supreme Court Justices? Anyways, Jeff was great, and hilarious as always. It was cool to see Jeff sing with JC on the funky version of IATTBYH. I was happy that I attended the event even though it was expensive and a very short set. I've spent $85 in many worse ways.

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Rahm also mentioned something about 7 songs, and 7 Supreme Court Justices when wrapping the evening up? I thought there were 9 Supreme Court Justices?

 

Rahm was refering to the Illinois Supreme Court, not the U.S.

 

 

Rahm mentioned how great the "band" was a few different times in his intro. Clearly, Rahm is not that familiar with Jeff's work and has no idea how amazing Jeff is. So, Jeff opened by saying, "it's just me."

 

That's pretty funny. Thanks for the reports.

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I forgot to mention Jeff's best quote of the night after he was having trouble with the Late Greats and tuning his guitar. He said, "Rahm is much more prepared to be mayor than I am for this show, which isn't saying much." I bet there were some Rahm supporters there that had never heard of Jeff and weren't impressed considering he stopped mid way through the Late Greats. Little do they know that they were watching one of the best (if not best) singer/songwriters playing today.

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Somebody has posted a snippet of the sound check for IATTBYH on youtube. It's hilarious! I want more!!

 

I was going to ask why you said hilarious, but I think I found the clip and "somebody" looks like it was JC Brooks himself! That is pretty hilarious that he was shooting video while simultaneously soundchecking the song...:lol

 

It was fun to see that performance. It looked like Jeff had some lyric sheets at his feet (perhaps Dude can confirm?), which I can almost understand because the JC Brooks version has such a different rhythm from how Jeff/Wilco does IATTBYH/Theologians that it would be easy to get tripped up lyrically if you're used to singing it another way.

 

Oh, and on a different but also funny note, I was curious about the quotation so I went and looked it up. When Rahm was making his concluding remarks after Jeff's set, he mentioned that Jeff has a son who's a freshman in high school and he (Rahm) has an eighth grader so they related to each other that way. Rahm then cited this from Mark Twain (although I think he slightly messed up the ages):

 

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."

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I was going to ask why you said hilarious, but I think I found the clip and "somebody" looks like it was JC Brooks himself! That is pretty hilarious that he was shooting video while simultaneously soundchecking the song...:lol

 

It was fun to see that performance. It looked like Jeff had some lyric sheets at his feet (perhaps Dude can confirm?), which I can almost understand because the JC Brooks version has such a different rhythm from how Jeff/Wilco does IATTBYH/Theologians that it would be easy to get tripped up lyrically if you're used to singing it another way.

 

Yeah! It was def. a IATTBYH lyric prompt sheet. Here's a pic of the sheet and a few Tweedy shots during the JC Brooks set:

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=6537255&l=55be38c1bb&id=519676541

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=6537260&l=42f115424d&id=519676541

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=6536923&l=a7e120f30c&id=519676541

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=6537253&l=c32f9ffbf8&id=519676541

 

That was indeed JC Brooks taping during soundcheck. It was funny because I sneaked in (I didn't even mean to, it was freaking cold and I merely wanted the warmth of the lobby, but volunteers were excessively nice and cool w/ me getting my ticket early.) I saw him singing in the corner and with a little blinkety red light'd device during the soundcheck, and wondered if he was indeed taping. Sho 'nuff, he was.

 

Are females going to start talking about how "spexxy" Tweedy is?

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He did seem a little out of it, defintely "into" the studio work, is my guess. Pretty much all of the songs were standards, though I loved hearing New Madrid done well and the new tune was realy good.

 

When he came out the "it's just me" line was priceless. Also the "Chicago is the greatest city spiel was hysterical in that everyone cheered along, and then he slowly roasted himself with (paraphrasing) "I know because I have been to every city in the world... every single one... and they all have something slightly sucky about them, but not this one"

 

hope thre's a Montessori benefit or two in our near future....

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