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Jeff Tweedy — 20 May 2019, Sydney, Australia (Metro Theatrre)

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When Jeff announced his first ever solo Australian tour (he toured with Tweedy band in 2016 though), I knew this was a rare opportunity to see him in this part of the world, so made the decision to take the week off work and get tickets to all 6 shows. The first show in Sydney didn't make me regret that decision (like I knew it ever would!).

 

Kicking off with the solemn Via Chicago, the roar of approval from the crowd afterwards signalled this was going to be a good show. After a terrific  I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, Jeff addressed the crowd for the first time. 'How is everyone? People always ask me that. I call it the reverse David Lee Roth, everyone wants to know if I'm ok'. Audience member: 'Are you?' Jeff: 'No'. . He then went on to tell a story about how he has just come from New Zealand where he was at a writer's conference where he was asked to participate in a piece with other authors where they had to ad lib a story in 7 minutes about a time they were at the crossroads. He then said they all pulled out manuscripts where they had all prepared things, so he went out on stage and talked about where they were all cheaters. They tried to make him wear a headset microphone, to which he said no he wouldn't do that, he didn't want pictures of that circulating on the web  :D

 

After New Madrid he then went on to share his crossroads story. It was about the time during Uncle Tupelo when his friend Mark moved in with them and how he loved to play Sega video hockey, so him and Jeff used to smoke weed and stay up all night playing Sega hockey. One night there was a knock on the door around midnight where there was a woman heavily pregnant. He went and told Mark there's a pregnant woman at the door, he went 'oh it's been nice knowing you', he went to the door, the door closed and he never saw Mark again  :D 

 

Before Guaranteed we got the well known story about how his wife loved the song, then he re-wrote it because it was too much, which of course got a huge laugh out the crowd. It got so much laughter Jeff had to then say that the next 2 verses weren't funny!

 

After that, Jeff went into request mode, saying he wanted to play something we all knew. He asked us what we wanted to hear, which of course elicited a hundred different responses. A call out for Mountain Bed though hit at the right time (after Jeff saying he hoped everyone had been to the bathroom), and so we got that.

 

Before Jesus etc he talked about his recent show in Pittsburgh where it was so bright he could see everyone in the room, and how one guy right in front of him was a 'woo guy', he'd always heard them but never seen them. It was seriously hilarious. 

 

Jesus, etc had a nice audience singalong (after a false start, which Jeff blamed on the 'woo'), so much so that Jeff complimented the audience on our singing, and the rest of the set had some nice audience singing, except for one guy Jeff pointed out near the front who although he can't see him, should probably stop   :D 

 

It Must Be Love also had a really nice audience singalong, most of us being familiar with the Madness version, not Labbi Siffre's original version. 

 

Jeff gave us a choice of 2 songs, first Passenger Side (huge cheers) or Impossible Germany (louder cheers again) - I felt like I was at a Billy Joel concert for a minute! So we got both songs. California Stars featured a lovely audience singalong, with the audience mostly avoiding singing the harmonies. It was a tremendous way to end the set.

 

After a likely longer than planned main set, Jeff came back for 2 songs, a great singalong on Misunderstood, then Acuff Rose to close out the show.

 

It really was a fantastic show. It was the right mix of old and new songs (would have liked maybe 1 or 2 more Warm/er songs), hilarious stories and audience interaction and singalongs. I could sense Jeff was really enjoying himself up on stage.

 

Special mention to Jen Cloher who supported as well, she's brilliant, and clearly a huge fan. She's just recorded an album at the Loft with Mia Dyson and Liz Stringer (with Glenn Kotche on drums!) which I can't wait to hear. Jeff thanked her at the end and said she's part of the extended Wilco family.

 

I can't wait for the next 5 shows - off to Brisbane next!

 

Setlist as follows - didn't see the written setlist but pretty sure it deviated from the 'serial killer scrawl' (his words) he had up there.

 

Via Chicago

Bombs Above

Some Birds

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

New Madrid

I Know What It's Like

Hummingbird

Lost Love

You And I

Guaranteed

Remember The Mountain Bed

Having Been Is No Way To Be

Jesus, Etc

It Must Be Love (Labbi Siffre cover)

I'm The Man Who Loves You

Let's Go Rain

Impossible Germany

Passenger Side

California Stars

 

Encore

Misunderstood

Acuff Rose

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Wonderful review, Darryl! Next best thing to being there. Thanks for doing this, and keep it up for the rest of the tour, please! ✍

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Phew that was a long write up, trying to live up to bbop's reviews isn't easy but I gave it a go!

Thanks for the detailed report! Of course I messed up the timing in my own head, so I was thinking the first show wasn’t until tonight...forgot you all are way ahead of us (timewise, and probably otherwise). Sounds like a fun way to kick off the tour.

 

Glad to hear that Jen Cloher was well received (well, she is on home turf). I assume she just played solo? I regret missing her on this run, just as much as missing Jeff!

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Thanks for the detailed report! Of course I messed up the timing in my own head, so I was thinking the first show wasn’t until tonight...forgot you all are way ahead of us (timewise, and probably otherwise). Sounds like a fun way to kick off the tour.

 

Glad to hear that Jen Cloher was well received (well, she is on home turf). I assume she just played solo? I regret missing her on this run, just as much as missing Jeff!

 

Yes Jen played solo for about 30 minutes. She was on at 8:10pm, Jeff on at 9pm, over by just after 10:30pm.

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