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Jeff Tweedy — 25 August 2019, Port Townsend, WA (THING Fest)

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Tonight's Jeff Tweedy show was an eventful one. We got an update on Jeff's recent colonoscopy, shots were fired at another notable Chicago indie rocker, and we also celebrated Jeff's birthday. Let's dig in!

First, the uh, first, THING Festival was a great experience. It's held in the Olympic Peninsula at historic Fort Worden, which is an old army base. It's an interesting setting for a music and arts fest especially considering everything is surrounded by thick PNW forests, giving it the atmosphere of being held in the woods. This is Adam Zacks new festival, Adam had previously curated Sasquatch! Festival at The Gorge since its inception. I was actually at last year's final Sasquatch and in vibe, this felt much more like a smaller boutique festival than the excessive partying of Zacks' last festival. Though I did get elbowed a bunch yesterday by a drunk teenage girl trying to dance with her friends to Kurt Vile's set...

Jeff played on the Parade Grounds Stage, which earlier in the day featured great sets from Black Belt Eagle Scout, Giants in the Trees , Phosphorescent, plus Calexico and Iron & Wine, who finished an hour before Jeff.

Jeff took the stage and quickly dived into the one-two punch of Bombs Above and Some Birds. After Some Birds he proclaimed that he's full of cantaloupe, referencing a local business en route to Port Townsend that had a sign asking Jeff to stop for free cantaloupe. There's photos on social media worth checking out of Jeff and his crew getting the cantaloupe.

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart featured a loud applause after Jeff performed the piano part on his guitar. After the song was finished Jeff asked if people were just being nice because it's his birthday. This caused the crowd to break into an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday. Jeff responded graciously but also told the audience that he was the one who was suppose to be singing. He told the crowd that he was 52 years old today and had just had a colonoscopy. Which came back fine, he added. He then went into a story about how at 18 he worked at a liquor store and became the night manager (and also carried a gun). At Christmas the manager told Jeff that there was something special on the copier, when Jeff went back to investigate he discovered lines of cocaine. This was reflected in the opening lyrics of An Empty Corner, the only new Wilco song performed this evening.

Jeff flubbed the whistling at the end of Hummingbird. Jeff, sarcastically, claimed to be a better whistler than Andrew Bird (who had made a surprise appearance with John Reilly the previous night) and didn't need to attend Juilliard for whistling like Bird. "Yeah that's right, shots fired". 

Also of note, after You And I, Jeff explained that he wrote that song for his wife "but she hates it". He then explained that the next song was written for her and she really liked it till he changed the lyrics. He then explained the story about Guaranteed's lyrics "you're a work of art" turning into "you're no walk in the park" which Jeff has told before.

A few more interesting tidbits: earlyish in the show Jeff teased an audience member who was eating pizza in the front row.

A fan in the crowd held up a sign saying "Hate Will Save The Dolphins", causing Jeff to tell the story he told in Seattle last fall about a fan who randomly shows up at shows with that sign with those lyrics (from Message From Mid-Bar) and will hold it until Jeff nods at him. Sadly, the guy with the sign was not the original sign holder from the story.

Also, before I'm The Man, Jeff was saying thanks to the crowd and said "happy birthday to me" which lead to another rendition of Happy Birthday from the crowd, this one much weaker and lamer (Jeff's word) than the previous attempt. 

That's about all I can recall. It was cool to finally hear Jeff's cover of Plateau. Maybe because most of the crowd had earlier seen Krist Novoselic (formerly of Nirvana), but it felt fitting.

Big big big thanks to my wife, the lovely Sarah, for taking notes during the show so I could make this recap and post the setlist. 



Bombs Above

Some Birds

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

Happy Birthday (audience singing to Jeff)

An Empty Corner

Don't Forget

Having Been Is No Way To Be


You and I


It Must Be Love (Labi Siffre cover)

Plateau (Meat Puppets cover)

I Know What It's Like

Jesus, Etc.


Let's Go Rain

I'm the Man Who Loves You

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Thread is updated!

Thanks for the quick update/report! Sounds like it was fun time. Seems like Jeff’s set was a bit short, though, even for a festival. I don’t know, maybe not. At least he got a nice melon out of the trip!


Glad he’s continuing to play Plateau. Seems an appropriate cover, especially for the Seattle area. Who was Novoselic there with?

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