Jump to content

Jeff Tweedy — 25 May 2019, Melbourne, Australia (Atheneum Theatre)

Recommended Posts

A great show in Melbourne on a miserable wintry wet evening (let's go rain anyone?). The first venue of the tour to be an properly all seated theatre (nice to not have to sit on plastic chairs but proper cushioned ones!), the Athenaeum (correct spelling, despite what's listed on Wilco's website and my subject line) is one of Melbourne's oldest buildings, dating back to 1839, and the 1,000 seat theatre itself going back to the 1920's in its current form. It's a great choice of venue for Jeff's show. Melbourne's musicians are out in force tonight, with me spotting Henry Wagons and Batts in attendance that I saw (Batts just having released her debut album, she's really good).


After missing Meeniyan, Jen Cloher was back to open proceedings to a welcoming enthusiastic home town crowd. If you haven't heard any of her music yet, do yourself a favour, she's terrific. Her last song Strong Woman is especially powerful. I can't recommend her enough.


Onto the main act. Jeff was greeted with a huge cheer and applause as he walked out and the familiar harmonica notes of Via Chicago started proceedings. A nice surprise to see One Sunday Morning up next. Ashes of American Flags was terrific and got a huge roar, before we got our first trip to banter corner for the evening.


'Thank you, hi, how are you?' Audience member 'We love you' Jeff 'oh it's early'. This is when a woman in the crowd then started to think she was having her own conversation with Jeff, and things got awkward. I'll preface all this by saying I've since learned she smuggled in a flask and was drinking from it, and she also did the same thing at a Tex Perkins show the night before. Drunk narcissists are not a great combination at a solo acoustic show. Henceforth said woman will be known as AAM (Annoying Audience Member) It went as follows:


Jeff - everyone loves me? What is wrong with you all (laughter) 

AAM -  otherwise we wouldn't have bought a ticket (audience starts to groan already)

Jeff - oh I get that (laughter), but I don't understand why you need to tell me (laughter). I appreciate you coming. Do I look like I need encouragement, I think that's probably the case, it happens a lot

AAM - you seem a little uneducated (audience at this points starts gasping at what she just said). No i'm kidding!

Jeff - I seem a little uneducated? You've read my book! (laughter)

AAM - you're the smartest person I know! (at this point the audience gets more restless and starts telling the woman to shut up)

Jeff - what is happening? I can't even hear what you're saying

Jeff - Ok i'm gonna get this back on track (laughter and cheers). This reminds me of talking to a therapist, because in Freudian psycho analytic environment you're not supposed to see the therapists face, and I can't see any of your faces, there’s no counter transference. So i'm just saying and pouring out how I feel and you’re going ‘mmhmm’. And where that analogy falls apart is if I went to a therapist and every once in a while he went ‘Wooo!’ I’d freak out! (laughter and clapping and woo’s follow’) Exactly right! Were the first songs just too heavy for everybody? The rest of the show will be just jokes I don’t care! Where was I? I was in Meeniyan last night, I don’t think they loved me. There were people there who didn’t know who I was .. alright, I’ll play Marquee Moon later. Here’s an older song. Thank you Dr Melbourne.


Finally order was restored with New Madrid. Following the song Jeff then exclaimed ’uneducated?! What was that all about!’. AAM then yells back that she didn’t mean it, leading to more groans and ssshhhs.


Family Ghost was preceded as being introduced as a song from Warmer, which he promised that’s where it ends, there won’t be a Hot! It was supposed to be a double record but he didn’t want to be known as the double record guy. We then got the full Open Kimono title explanation, including the Spencer story.

Like Meeniyan, after Impossible Germany we got the Marquee Moon riff again, which was greeted with many cheers and clapping. This was then followed by the story about how every song of his only gets 1 vote. At this point AAM tries to say something again, and Jeff sshhs her which led to much applause. I think at this point AAM went quiet for the rest of the show (I heard reports she fell asleep).


I’m Always In Love then made its very welcome tour debut, a great song I was very happy to hear. Evergreen was next, preceded by another hilarious comment.

Audience member – good song!

Jeff – ah thank you, that’s just the kind of encouragement I want… this is another song from Warmer that’s what I call a smattering of applause! This then led to a hilarious moment when Jeff put on a golf commentary voice ‘Jeff’s on the 13th song, he’s going to go for one of the new songs, it was going to be called Open Kimono’


Jesus, etc followed, then after a few more call outs from the audience Jeff exclaimed ‘this is a strange audience, I’m not gonna lie to you!’

Jeff – want to hear a song about Noah’s Ark? This song’s about wishing for the sweet relief of global destruction… I was asked to make a pie chart by some magazine of what I think American’s are, and so I made about a third of the people dead people, I figured a third of all Americans that existed are now dead, and I labelled the rest of it ‘Jealous’, that’s what this song it about!


The singing during this portion of the show wasn’t particularly strong, I think people were too intimidated by the theatre setting. California Stars singing was mostly the harmony – I think Jeff needs to provide clearer instructions if he doesn’t want us singing it! Don’t Forget and I’m The Man Who Loves You closed out the main set, before a lot of clapping and cheering got Jeff back for a fantastic Misunderstood and Acuff-Rose, before a wave and a smile and the show was over.


It was a great show overall, just could have done with the strange conversation that AAM felt like she needed to have with Jeff. If you’re reading this AAM, maybe you should consider sobriety…


So that concluded the seated portion of the tour, with the final 2 shows at Howler and The Gov being GA standing venues. It will be interesting to see how that changes the audience dynamics. Aussies tend to be louder and more enthusiastic once you force us to stand. I can’t wait to see how they unfold!



Via Chicago
One Sunday Morning
Bombs Above

Some Birds
Ashes Of American Flags
New Madrid
I Know What It's Like
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Family Ghost
Impossible Germany
Marquee Moon (snippet)
Having Been Is No Way To Be
I'm Always In Love
Jesus, etc
Let's Go Rain
California Stars
Don't Forget
I'm The Man Who Loves You





Footnote: this was version 2 of my review, somehow I lost half of it when trying to fix a typo. I’m now writing in Word first. Lesson learned!

Link to post
Share on other sites

it was a better show than thursday night. it was more relaxed and comfy, instead the feeling that we were having a party in a bungalow and jeff was singing. jeff repeated some of the jokes from the night before. the audience was less rowdy but there was a funny part between songs where some girl decided to have a conversation with him, to the point where most in the audience groaned and you could hear a "oh, shups" from the crowd. jefff palyed along with her and i think she said he is uneducated! another person that i couldnt really maker out and he responded with a confused saying, saying "where did that come from?" to shut her up, he said "SHHHH!, we can all gert together after the show"



i yelled out for Airline a few times and he responded by saying there's 2 types of wilco fan - those part of a group and the ones that wait for to fall silent then have their go to set the road straight (or something like that). that was after the 3rd time i called out for Airline!.


there was a jab about Warmer where he asked if we've heard it in a sarcastic way cause there was only a few copies of it pressed. one classsic quote was that he said during the night before he could hear people eating and drinking and a baby crying and assumed that we were eating babies :)


asking for a singalong, someone yelled out for sunken treasure and jeff quickly said nope


pit there was no mountain bed, but we got acuff-rose. i'm sure daryl will have more to say


ona conspiracy note, we're in the midst of a drought but it rained the last 2 nights - while he was playing and the forecast for tomorrow is 'evening' showers!. today's show will be general admission, which could give a totally different atmosphere (the last 2 were seated)

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...