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Jeff Tweedy — 5 October 2018, San Francisco, CA (The Fillmore)

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Hoo boy, I think it's going to take a little while to completely unpack this one. I'm fairly confident in saying Jeff probably didn't take the iconic Fillmore stage — in San Francisco, of all places — expecting to get into an extended political discussion/debate with a "fan" standing front and center whom he felt was trying to taunt him. But that's what happened a little over halfway through his set, and despite Jeff's best efforts to get things back on track, there was a lingering awkwardness for the remainder of the show.

Let me preface this by saying I wasn't standing right by the heckler — thankfully, as it turned out, though I think I did speak to him briefly while standing in line outside — so I can't necessarily recap what he said verbatim. And Jeff's comments, while definitely much appreciated by me and probably much of the audience, are also difficult to quote word for word without the benefit of a recording. So this will be more or less a paraphrasing of the exchange, but at least it will hopefully at least give some idea of what happened.

After Impossible Germany, for some reason, Jeff made a joke about how each person in the audience should yell out some sort of "affirmation" between songs — perhaps an extension of one of his recurring bits about how he looks like someone who needs encouragement. Anyway, it didn't take long for Jeff to zero in on a guy who was standing basically right in front of him who apparently yelled "Kavanaugh" in response to Jeff's call. Jeff asked the guy whether he indeed supported Kavanaugh and why, and initially continued to press him when he tried to back away from the discussion, saying, "You brought it up," and "I think we need this right now." I couldn't hear everything, but the man attempted to make an argument, saying Kavanaugh was "fair" and that he "ratified Roe v. Wade," but Jeff shot those down (saying in part that the man didn't know what 'ratify' meant) and offered his view that Kavanaugh is "a lying sack of shit with dirty Chiclet teeth," and that there are "a thousand other people they could have picked" for the nomination and that the Republicans were going to get a conservative justice on the Supreme Court anyway because they have the votes but that they picked Kavanaugh "to be cruel," and to let women know that they weren't going to be listened to and believed.

And on it went for a while, definitely making for an uncomfortable scene. What made it even more awkward was that the man apparently was there with his kid — I'm not sure if it was a boy or girl — and at one point, I think the kid sort of tried to convey to Jeff that they were fans and just wanted to hear him play his songs. But the damage had already been done, I suppose, and venue security and/or Jeff's tour manager had already decided to kick the man out of the show and Jeff tried to apologize to the kid for getting into it with his/her father and even gave him/her his harmonica rack off his side table as a gesture.

Now if you know Jeff at all, as a performer, you know that this incident was going to be on his mind for the rest of the show, no matter how much he tried to move past it. Fortunately, he had the perfect song lined up to try and defuse the situation at least somewhat with Let's Go Rain (and its humorous setup and resulting singalong) and then he attempted the only deeper cut in his set with Either Way (which I believe might have topped the request list as a result of some minor ballot-box stuffing...ahem). He had a lyric flub on the latter, and it was evident that he still had something on his mind as a result of the incident.

Before playing Jesus, etc., fittingly, Jeff said he had something else he wanted to get off his chest. "I want us all to be kind to each other, and sometimes being kind means showing people who are hurt that you care." He added that we have to look out for our neighbors and how his neighbors in Chicago are all different races and come from different backgrounds and he wants all of them to live well and be happy. Jeff continued, saying that he knew this was just a show but that it's important to keep coming together for things like this because there's more of this type of positive activity than the opposite. And finally, he said that he couldn't "just stand by and watch cruelty happen. When you see cruelty happen, you say something."

After a singalong on California Stars to close the main set, Jeff came back for his usual encore. But even before he played a song, he showed that he still had the heckler on his mind. "I was just trying to think of a scenario when I would go to a show and taunt somebody," Jeff said, jokingly shaking his fist. "Ginsburg!" He added that he decided he was going to go to a Ted Nugent show and "shout 'ACA!’” It was a pretty funny interlude. But before he played his final song of the night, Jeff took the time to sincerely thank the crowd one last time and leave it with one final bit of encouragement: "Don't be too upset. Keep fighting. Keep showing up. (This is) no time for crying."

Obviously the heckling incident will probably be the dominant memory from this particular show, but I think it should be noted that this already felt like a relatively rowdy sort of audience almost from the start. As has largely been the case on this tour, the venues with general admission, standing room have tended to feature pretty vocal, engaged audiences (for better and worse) and the Fillmore was no exception. When Jeff asked the audience how it was doing three songs into his set, it didn't take long for some guy to yell out something dumb: "Better than you are. Play something else!" Jeff even had to repeat it to be sure he had heard correctly, "Play something else? No, I'm just gonna play the same song." Then he went on, sarcastically, "This is not gonna go like this, you guys. You need to settle the fuck down. I only have like five festive songs, and I've already played three of them. I'm gonna have to fight my way out of here." Jeff then kicked his leg up, feebly, as a sign of said fight and joked that was as high as he could kick.

A few songs later, noting the general upbeat mood in the crowd, Jeff joked that he had been hoping "everybody would be in a bad mood, but you all seem to be in a pretty good mood." He then briefly talked about how he was going to have to play outside the next day, referring to his set at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and incorporating some of the comments he has made about playing outdoor festivals this summer and watching beach balls being batted back and forth, etc.

Also worth mentioning, from a show notes perspective, was the fact that Scott McCaughey was once again in attendance. I assume that he was also at the Portland show earlier this week since that's where he lives, but last night he — or at least his easily recognizable silhouette — could be seen in the balcony at side stage watching opening act Kacy and Clayton with Jeff as well as for much of Jeff's set. I was tickled to watch someone give him a friendly tap on the shoulder at the mention of his name in Let's Go Rain. It's not the peeking-out from side stage that I was hoping for, but I'll take it (for now)! Eventually Scott was led out of the venue just before the conclusion of Jeff's set through the pit between the front barricade and stage, so his presence was indeed confirmed.

Musically, one highlight for me was the new song that we've been calling Family Ghost (but might also be called I Feel So American, or something else entirely). I don't know if it's one of the songs on WARM or if it's even more recent than that, but Jeff has played it a few times here and there. But for me, he really played it with purpose last night. It's hard to describe exactly, but it just had more oomph somehow, and I look forward to hearing it again. (It starts with the lyric, "I am a dope/blowing smoke/at the TV screen/I feel so American.")

Alas, these tidbits and other visits to Banter Corner will probably be all but forgotten in the wake of the heckling incident but I mention them just to give some indication about the general tenor of the crowd leading up to that point. The vast majority of said crowd almost certainly was there to have a good time, to sing along and to enjoy Jeff's music. But unfortunately, I guess all it takes is one person to change the dynamic of a performance and even though Jeff soldiered on like the pro he is, you could hardly blame him if he was at least a little bit affected.

Here was the complete setlist, as played (new songs indicated, with proper titles as known):

new song-Bombs Above>
new song-Some Birds
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
New Madrid
new song-Having Been Is No Way To Be
new song-Family Ghost
Remember The Mountain Bed
new song-Evergreen
Passenger Side
You And I
Impossible Germany
new song-Let's Go Rain
Either Way
Jesus, etc.
California Stars
I'm The Man Who Loves You
A Shot in the Arm

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I was at last night’s show and while I agree that the political debate went on too long and got uncomfortable I applaud Jeff for how he handled it and doing it in an honest way. Seriously. I don’t get why people would go to a show and try to disrupt it. Anyway I thought he got the vibe back on track with his be kind speech and the “Jesus, etc.” performance.

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Paul, my friend, you deserve better than to be the primary source on JamBase.

Ah JamBase...home of the bustout. Well, I guess I’m glad that they at least cited me and were complimentary of my humble recap and that they apparently listened to and transcribed part of a recording because I knew there’s no way I could fully do justice to Jeff’s comments especially. And they deserved to be accurately reported.


Thanks for all the kind words, guys.

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Ah JamBase...home of the bustout. Well, I guess I’m glad that they at least cited me and were complimentary of my humble recap and that they apparently listened to and transcribed part of a recording because I knew there’s no way I could fully do justice to Jeff’s comments especially. And they deserved to be accurately reported.


Thanks for all the kind words, guys.


Of course, you know I agree with JamBase that your recaps are the best. And I'd love you even if your recaps were garbage (which they very much aren't). Watched that video on JamBase and got a fuller sense of the physical nuance of the moment.  Thanks for all you do to capture the moment every time, Paul. They do deserve to be accurately reported.

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Watched the video. Very uncomfortable. 


Shouting out "Kavanaugh" at a Tweedy concert might be dumb, but probably didn't deserve the personal verbal attack from Tweedy.


Jeff's response is a good snapshot of how riled up the country is over the critical 5th, swing seat of the Supreme Court.

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Jesus, man. Why would you yell that? Read the room. I love Jeff's response. "If they had any decency they would have chosen anyone else". He hit the nail on the head. I'm glad to see him standup to this degenerate. 

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Man, after watching that video, I love Jeff more than I did before.


It would never occur to me to yell out ANY politician's name in response to a request for "affirmations" between songs. Guy was a douchebag, and deserved what he got (he got lambasted on Twitter for playing the victim, too).

Jeff was wrong about one thing, though: they didn't pick Kavanaugh just out of cruelty. They picked him because he's a partisan hack who has zero integrity, and will rule in 45's favor if criminal charges come his way. They probably couldn't find that many actual judges with that little integrity.


To Jeff's "If they had any decency they would have chosen anyone else," I'd add "If Kavanaugh had any decency himself, or cared a damn about his own family, he would have bowed out."


So, just so I understand where the bar is now: 


Sigur Ros drummer accused of sexual assault: steps down

​Al Franken accused of sexual misconduct: resigns

Bart Kavanaugh accused of sexual assault attempt: new Supreme Court justice


Okay, got it.

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Jesus, man. Why would you yell that? Read the room. I love Jeff's response. "If they had any decency they would have chosen anyone else". He hit the nail on the head. I'm glad to see him standup to this degenerate. 



I agree. DUMB to yell that at a Tweedy show. 


But to be fair, Tweedy asked people to shout out an "affirmation". Of COURSE there's gonna be at least person shout something you don't want to hear. Not a smart move on Jeff perhaps.


I personally think no matter who Trump chose for the 5th Supreme Court seat, people like Tweedy wouldn't have liked it. Would Jeff have been on board with Amy Coney Barrett, another socially Conservative Catholic?


Anyhoo...this isn't the Political forum, so about Tweedy's music.


I've listened to audio from some of his solo shows. Really liking his new stuff. I think "Warm" is gonna be a winner. I particularly like "Having Been Is No Way To Be"! Sounds like he's singing to his fans.

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