Jump to content

Jeff Tweedy — 12/13/13, Santa Barbara, CA (Granada Theatre)

Recommended Posts

In the long run, this one probably won't be considered the apex of this run of solo shows — owing partly to a crowd that seemed both passive and kind of obnoxious, if that makes any sense. What I mean is that there didn't seem to be a great deal of audience participation, but still enough disruptiveness to make Jeff uncomfortable at points.


People will talk about Jeff finally snapping at someone who was clapping once at the end of every line during Bull Black Nova, but the truth was there was sort of a weird atmosphere for much of the night IMHO. It started early on when someone started clapping out of time during the end of Sunken Treasure and Jeff held up a hand to put a stop to it. And then someone in the balcony felt compelled to yell a super-loud "Yeah!" after the first verse of The Ruling Class and Jeff had to start the song over. And a couple different people pointed out to me a noticeable section of the crowd toward the front streaming out after the end of the main set, possibly subscribers of the theater who weren't all that invested in the show.


All that said, there were some definite highlights as always. In particular, there was the unannounced (previous to today) appearance of Mikael Jorgensen who performed with both Jeff and opening act Scott McCaughey. And Jeff played some relative rarities such as Cars Can't Escape, Blasting Fonda, Chinese Apple and Another Man's Done Gone. Plus, he did dedicate a unique performance of Hummingbird sans guitar and with just Mike on upright piano to a little girl (Haileigh) whose dad had posted her request right here on VC. :thumbup


But in the end, the show and/or Jeff himself seemed to lose a little steam after he lost his temper during Bull Black Nova. About two thirds of way through the song, he walked over to stage left and yelled off mic that "whoever's doing that (clapping once at the end of every line) needs to stop because it's annoying as shit." After playing a particularly aggressive outro to BBN, Jeff spent the rest of the show both sort of trying to apologize and reassure the non-disruptive audience members that he was still having a good time and hoped they were too.


For example, he mentioned how he hadn't done a solo tour in about six years and thought he had "grown up" a bit in that not nearly as many things bothered him during solo shows now as did previously. But clearly he hasn't completely overcome all distractions. Other banter related to the clapping issues included a funny story about Jeff's late mother, who he said he suspected didn't really like children that much because whenever they would come over to their house, she would put a cookie in each of their hands "so they wouldn't touch anything." And then he joked that "we're going to start selling cookies at the merch booth." :lol


Jeff also joked at another point that if the clapping and other disruptions didn't stop he was going to "have to cut this short" and "get outta here, like Kanye." I think he also made a comment somewhere in there about "Bieber butt," but I didn't fully catch that one. :yucky


At any rate, like I've said before, I don't always feel comfortable mentioning some of the omissions if I do happen to catch a glimpse of a setlist after a show because ultimately we don't really know why a song was played or not played. But in this case, it does seem somewhat reasonable to conclude that perhaps based on the crowd, Jeff didn't go as far with the show as he had planned since he cut both Gun and Misunderstood from the end of the planned encore. I'm curious to know whether Misunderstood would have been played off PA because that could have been very cool.


Also on the setlist, hand written in what I call the "swapout box" (a list of some other songs that Jeff might consider swapping in for a planned song), were such titles as Dash 7, Summer Teeth, Black Eye, Please Be Patient With Me and Art of Almost. But none of these were ultimately played. :ohwell


Anyway, hopefully some other folks will chime in with their thoughts on the show. Until then, however, here was the complete setlist as played:


I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

New Madrid

Remember The Mountain Bed

Sunken Treasure

Passenger Side

Cars Can't Escape

Wait Up (started and restarted)

Blasting Fonda

The Ruling Class (started and restarted)

Chinese Apple


Bull Black Nova

Dawned On Me

Please Tell My Brother

Born Alone

Jesus, etc.

Laminated Cat (aka Not For The Season)

A Shot in the Arm


Another Man's Done Gone (w/Mikael Jorgensen on upright piano)

Hummingbird (w/Mikael Jorgensen on upright piano) (dedicated to Haileigh)

California Stars (w/Scott McCaughey on acoustic guitar and backing vocals and Mikael Jorgensen on upright piano)

I'm The Man Who Loves You

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, a wonderful review. Something decent to read whilst waiting to be discharged from here. Can't wait to hear the special version of Hummingbird should a recording appear.

Thank you, sir! And hope you're all healed up. The Hummingbird wasn't anything earth-shattering, I must say, but it was fun to hear it stripped down in a slightly different way, if that makes any sense.


Also, forthwith, a brief recap of Scott's opening set in case anyone is interested...


Personally I always enjoy seeing Scott McCaughey perform, though it isn't often that you seem him all alone without at least one or two of his myriad musical comrades joining him on stage. Even Scott acknowledged as much when he said that after he came off stage a few nights earlier in Davis, he was still sort of shaking (with nervous energy, etc.) and Jeff said to him, of performing completely solo, "Bracing, isn't it?"


Tonight, on his last night of a week-long run of support shows with Jeff, Scott played the first half of his set truly solo and then invited Mikael Jorgensen to join him for the second half. A majority of Scott's set was composed of new songs from a 5 LP set of Minus Five material that he said is set to be released on Record Store Day next April. And he mentioned that Jeff (whom he called "one of my favorite guitar players") had generously played lead guitar on more than a few of the tracks. That was news I hadn't heard before.


When he brought Mike on stage about 20 minutes into the set, they started with a Randy Newman song and then a couple of songs from the Down With Wilco record. Mike played upright piano and then switched to an Analog Four synthesizer setup for the final few songs, which included another new one on which Scott played banjo. After the song, Scott commented on the unique banjo-and-synth-instrumentation and cracked, "Katy Perry's probably stealing that from us right now." :lol


Here was Scott's setlist, as played (I can only guess at the titles of some of the unreleased songs, but they left me eager to pick up the new record(s) when they come out):


new-In The Ground

Suck Machine Crater [Young Fresh Fellows]

new-Kill, Kill The Dead

new-Richmond Fontaine Dues

Aw Shit Man

new-Adios Half Soldier

Living Without You [Randy Newman] (w/Mikael Jorgensen on upright piano)

Dear Employer (w/Mikael Jorgensen on upright piano)

11 Months and 29 Days [Johnny Paycheck] (fragment) (w/Mikael Jorgensen on upright piano)

The Old Plantation (w/Mikael Jorgensen on upright piano)

new-We Are The Searchers (w/Mikael Jorgensen on Analog Four synthesizer)

The Days of Wine and Booze (w/Mikael Jorgensen on Analog Four synthesizer)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice that he still did it despite being distracted. My extended stay here has forced me to probably miss out on next year's benefit shows. I miss standing in line!


Your review points out the stark differences between UK and US audiences. I never get the unsolicited yeahs that spoil the most delicate of songs. Another favourite are those who forget the songs with false endings and break into applause before the end.


You going to the LA shows?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice that he still did it despite being distracted. My extended stay here has forced me to probably miss out on next year's benefit shows. I miss standing in line!


Your review points out the stark differences between UK and US audiences. I never get the unsolicited yeahs that spoil the most delicate of songs. Another favourite are those who forget the songs with false endings and break into applause before the end.


You going to the LA shows?

Yes, indeed. It's been a dream to see Jeff play that particular venue for some time now, and it should be quite interesting. Sorry to hear about having to miss the benefit gigs (though you'll probably be glad in retrospect to evade the bone-chilling climes of Chicago in mid-February)...


As to the fake endings, interestingly enough, Jeff also commented on those tonight during The Ruling Class. He went into an odd sort of Urkelesque (or possibly Conan nerd-like) voice that even he struggled to explain when he mused briefly on fake endings. I think he said something to the effect that he didn't even know why he went through with them since everyone was applauding anyway and didn't hear what he was playing.


I've often said that there's a fine line, IMHO, between being too polite and too rowdy at Jeff's solo shows. You don't want a completely passive audience, I don't think, but obviously you don't want too much rowdiness either. It's perfect when it falls somewhere in the middle. The line is very fine, though, and sometimes stuff like clapping erratically that can seem like not that big of a deal turns into a real disruption. And sometimes what could be construed as serious rowdiness can help make a show more memorable if it's not too distracting to Jeff and he can kind of use it as comic relief in some sense.


It really depends on the particular show and factors like the venue, etc. For example, and I'm purely speculating here, maybe the clapping was particularly annoying last night because the acoustics in the theater were so good and Jeff could really hear it more than usual. This much is certain: all of the different factors that go into a solo show certainly keep things interesting from night to night


Btw, interesting that you point out that difference between UK and US audiences, which is probably speaks to a fundamental difference in British and American culture in general. But in terms of the unsolicited yeahs you mentioned, Jeff made a comment to that effect on Thursday night in SF when someone loudly yelled out "Nice version!" or something like that toward the end of Spiders. In that case, though, Jeff framed it in terms of the taping culture and how this must be one of a taper's most dreaded scenarios — namely, having a good recording of a particular song ruined by somebody standing near their mic stand yelling out something right at the end...

Link to post
Share on other sites

When dudes yell inappropriately at Jeff's solo shows, I immediately think, "Right. Old Tupelo fan that never grew out of drinking hard." lol There are a lot of those dudes in Missouri.


Kind of surprised no new material has been taken for a test drive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your thoughts on the show, bbop. Always an interesting read.




People will talk about Jeff finally snapping at someone who was clapping once at the end of every line during Bull Black Nova


Wow, I can't even begin to imagine how annoying this must have been.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This was my first solo show and, therefore, really really enjoyed it. It was a long, tough drive from OC on a Friday, but totally worth it. For reasons bbop mentioned above, I could tell that it was probably not the best show on this tour, but it was still great hearing those tunes live. I was especially disappointed to not have the "w/o PA" song at the end. But, nonetheless, Jeff sounded great and played great. Loved some of the song choices both obvious and deep cut ones. 


I will be at Largo on Monday, so I will have another chance. Cant wait.


Assorted musings:


- The solo acoustic arrangement of BBN is impressive.

- I requested Chinese Apple and voila! The system works! Sounded great, too. 

- The solo version of Sunken Treasure is so damn beautiful. 

- JT should play more harmonica.

- I parked next to Mikael in the lot. Kinda surreal and unexpected. Did a double take.

- I dont know if theatre or soundboard guy or pickuops/mics, but sounded great. Clear and balanced.

- I don't know how he remembers all the lyrics of Mountain Bed.

- Jealous of his guitars, but I do not like the double pickguard thing on the SJ-200

Link to post
Share on other sites

Despite the rude audience behavior and hi-jinx, I really enjoyed this show.  I felt like Jeff's playing was really emotional and articulate (perhaps due to said hi-jinx) - especially in the instrumental segments of songs like Laminated Cat, BBN, Chinese Apple.  The instrumental bit at the end of Laminated Cat was perhaps one of the most charged and inspired versions I have ever heard.  It felt elongated and especially furious - even compared with the tapes of shows floating around from the current tour.


The arrangement of Bull Black Nova was incredible - even with the little aside to the annoying clapper.  If Jeff is going to tell someone that they are annoying as shit, BBN is at least an appropriate song to expel some rage.


It was my girlfriend's first Tweedy solo show.  She felt sorry for Jeff that the crowd was so rowdy and disrespectful, but was equally happy with how good the performance was - and that she got to hear Remember The Mountain Bed, Bull Black Nova, Shot In The Arm and Hummingbird. 


I had been requesting Wait Up, Cars Can't Escape, Blasting Fonda and Chinese Apple - so it was pretty surreal when he played them all in a run with Ruling Class included as well.  As Anthony said - The System Works!  I know some others were also requesting to hear Chinese Apple - thanks to all involved for getting that song on the list.  It was a real treat to hear.  I love the groove of that song and the guitar parts are some of my favorites.


Wait Up was just as beautiful and magnificent as I had anticipated it would be - I felt really lucky to hear that one, in particular.


Cars Can't Escape is such a great tune that I've requested for loads of Wilco shows, but this was my first time hearing it live.  


Blasting Fonda was exceptional.  The guitar work on it was really superb.


I really enjoyed the solo arrangement of Kamera.  That song has really grown on me a lot since hearing it live a few times.


I love Dawned On Me as a solo acoustic tune.


Sunken Treasure is so beautiful and Jeff should definitely play more harmonica!


It's definitely a bummer that some songs got cut and the crowd was being pretty rude, but I think this was definitely a memorable show for me.  The amount of gems included in the setlist alone made it a truly unique experience alone.  Overall, I thought Jeff was really funny and seemed pretty comfortable jiving back and forth with the audience - obviously the part with the ignorant clapping guy got a little tense, but I thought Jeff was pretty justified in his reaction and most of the audience had his back on that fact.  I felt like overall, he played it off really well.


By a miracle of friendly connections I'll be at Largo on Monday night.  Can't wait to see Jeff in such an intimate setting and so thankful that I get to attend one of the nights, after the nightmare of a ticketing process.  Glad to see Dash 7 was at least a realistic option on the setlist for last night, as I've been requesting that one like crazy for Monday's Largo show.


I'm really glad we made the trip to Santa Barbara.  Jeff put on an excellent, excellent show.  As many have remarked previously, his playing and singing are really hitting on all cylinders right now.  Even with all the distractions and assholes, we got to see some truly remarkable performances of many awesome and rare tunes, which made it a really special evening for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in L.A. and went up to see the Santa Barbara show.  I was bummed when the L.A. shows sold out so fast, but I look forward to a review of the Coronet show tonight.  I saw Bert Jansch play there in 2010, a year before he passed.  You could here every note Bert played, plus the proverbial pin dropping.  The Largo at the Coronet has a very strict phone and talking policy to the point where the website states that you will be escorted out if there are any disruptions.  You all are lucky if you got tickets for this week's shows.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought Jeff sounded great but agree that the audience was weird.  Seemed not at all into singing along when he seemed to be asking us too and made a lot of noises at other times.  Disappointed he didn't get to Misunderstood and would have loved to see Art of Almost as a solo arrangement.  That said he sounded incredible, Bull Black Nova was ferocious as a solo number, way more out of that one than I anticipated.


My highlight was of course Jeff playing Hummingbird and dedicating to my daughter Haileigh.  She was completely blown away and has barely stopped talking about it, telling random people we encounter about the show and Jeff playing Hummingbird for her.  I'm pretty sure he made her a solid fan for life.  Only wish I could have scored a ticket to one of the Largo shows. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I made the drive up to Santa Barbara from L.A. after the Largo ticket fiasco yielded no tickets.  It was a great show, I was close to the stage, 3 rows back on the right side.  Unfortunately I was in front of the annoying clapper that provoked Jeff up until his "blow up" in Bull Black Nova.  Let me tell you, Jeff was totally justified in getting upset and annoyed, this guy really was ruining the show for me as well.  I couldn't believe how inconsiderate this guy was.  The weird thing is, from the looks of him he looked like a huge Wilco/Tweedy fan.  He was wearing a Wilco shirt and a Wilco scarf.... I think in some weird way he thought he was being cute/funny/somehow enhancing the show by interacting directly with Jeff.  He kept clapping/chuckling with his friend about the clapping comments up until Jeff directly yelled at him during BBN.  I guess being publicly called out does the trick because dude didn't clap once more the entire night.  Not after any song, end of the set, nothing.  I just don't get why people pay $50 for a ticket, buy a bunch of merch, support an artist, and then show up and be a jerk.  Baffles me.


And it really bothers me that this clown along with a couple other goofballs in the crowd may have made Jeff cut the set short.  I would've killed to hear Art of almost and Misunderstood live.   :angry

Link to post
Share on other sites

This was my first Jeff "solo" show, like others I got shut out in LA, so we took the train to SB. We had a great time making a trip out of it.

As far as the show: I thought Jeff was in great mood ...at first...loved the old songs.

Then BBN , Jeff was tearing it up. But the show did kind of change. Overall I had a great time... :guitar 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have it on good authority that the guy who clapped during BBN is a huge Jeff Tweedy fan and feels awful for disrupting Jeff. He feels like he betrayed one of his favorite artists of all time as well as the audience members that night. He’d like to apologize to everyone individually and as a group. Reading the review of the Largo show where Jeff was fighting a cold and mentioned Santa Barbara made him feel even worse. His unsolicited audience participation was a result of his over exuberance for finally seeing Jeff solo, his love of BBN, and too much red wine. What kills him the most, is the fact Jeff had signed something for him earlier in the day and been extremely gracious. He says he thinks he knows how Steve Bartman must have felt when he was ridiculed for the foul ball incident. How you just want to hide. He referenced the Golden Smog song “He’s a Dick,” for how he’s felt the last few days. He is extremely remorseful for what it’s worth. He really feels like he let Jeff down!



“The Unwelcome Guest”

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting this--it was probably not an easy thing to do. The clapper was sitting almost directly behind me and it was pretty annoying, but I honestly didn't look back to see the person's face. I can imagine, though, getting carried away and becoming unaware of your surroundings. I've had a couple of experiences at shows where I'd had a little too much to drink and might have been a bit "looser" with my feelings than I should be.


I would say it's not worth losing any sleep over, but the clapper should file this away under Lessons Learned and Behavior Not To Repeat. That may not have been the only reason for the slightly shortened set that evening, either, since it does appear that Jeff was not feeling his best that night. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...