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Jeff Tweedy — 24 February 2022, Los Angeles, CA (Largo at the Coronet Theatre) [Night 1 of 5]

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If I'm not mistaken, it has been nearly a decade now since Jeff started playing shows at the intimate and beloved Largo at the Coronet Theatre in West Hollywood. And if it wasn't clear by now that it's one of his favorite rooms anywhere in which to perform, then he said as much toward the end of tonight's show when he talked about how great the room sounded, alluded to the fact that the audience there really listens (in part because of the venue's total intolerance of electronic devices) and shared that he loved being able to play "quiet and sad" music that could also make people smile at the same time.


I'd say that the vast majority of the 250 or so lucky folks who got to witness the opening night of another multi-night Largo run — rescheduled from the original dates that sandwiched New Year's 2022 — probably left with smiles on their faces. It would be hard not to after seeing the collective joy on the faces of not only Jeff but his six bandmates at getting to perform songs from the Tweedy solo repertoire all together. Tonight was the first of two full-band Tweedy shows, for the record, to be followed by three Jeff solo performances.


These full-band performances are indeed something to be cherished because, despite shows in Chicago, Mexico and San Francisco over the past few weeks and months, it's actually a relatively rare opportunity to get to see Jeff joined by not only his actual sons Spencer and Sammy but also his surrogate children in siblings Sima Cunningham and Liam Kazar (not to mention close friend James Elkington, who usually steals the show on electric guitar). And tonight it felt like the entire band was fully back together with the addition of Sima's bandmate in Ohmme, Macie Stewart, who had been absent from the two shows in San Francisco earlier in the week and who adds yet another dimension to the band with her violin playing.


At one point tonight, as the show was beginning to wind down, Jeff turned to his lead guitarist and you could hear him say, "We're cookin' now." And immediately afterward, realizing that the members of audience had probably heard him, Jeff turned to them and shared a similar sentiment: "We're just getting warmed up."


This was right around the time of Let's Go Rain, which to me was a little microcosm of the general sense of fun and camaraderie the band seemed to be having. For instance, with Sima having temporarily moved to the iconic Largo piano at stage right — which I will always think of as Jon Brion's perch, by the way — it left Jeff and Liam to do the little leg kick part midway through the song that always brings a smile to my face. And then tonight Jeff playfully drew out the ending to the song for an extra couple of bars, gently picking the closing chords in silly sort of way that even cracked himself up a bit. You probably had to be there, but hopefully I'm doing at least a decent job of conveying the on-stage vibes.


Likewise with most of Jeff's banter over the course of the show (which, as has been the tradition at the Largo gigs, also included a short, surprise opening set by a comedian — in this case, Pete Holmes), you probably had to be in the room to fully appreciate it. For instance, one little back-and-forth early on came after Jeff had basically told the audience it wouldn't be hearing any Wilco songs during this show because this was a chance for him to play some of the songs from his solo projects that he doesn't otherwise get to play all that often. Not to be deterred, one wiseguy in the audience promptly suggested that Jeff play the song No Depression. "I think you missed the point of what I was just saying," Jeff quipped, before adding, "Though technically, that's not a Wilco song, so I guess you're pretty sharp. Kudos." 


Jeff also took his time introducing all of his bandmates, even repeating the cringeworthy comment about Spencer "celebrating" the two-year anniversary of an "anal fissure he once had" that Jeff had made in San Francisco the previous night to the amusement and/or horror of everyone else in the band. When another audience member inquired about what was the traditional gift for such an anniversary, Spencer replied simply, "Underwear," before Jeff offered a more general, "Joy, or the general appreciation of life." It was all pretty silly, ultimately, but again showed the relaxed mood in the room.


That relaxation even extended to some good old-fashioned instrument swapping in the encore, which saw Sima take over on bass and Liam move over to the piano. That was a new configuration, at least as it relates to the Tweedy band, but the two siblings handled it without incident with each contributing both instrumentally and vocally to the songs that closed out the show. To cite one example, Sima and Liam — while on different instruments than they had played for most of the set — shared the second verse on California Stars as they usually do (along with Macie).


In the end, it's not difficult to understand why Jeff has enjoyed performing at Largo so often over the past decade. It's a listening room, first and foremost, and there is really nothing to distract from the performance — aside, I suppose, from the occasional wiseacre. What better place, then, to showcase a group that — while it hasn't been able to get together probably as often as Jeff would like on account of busy schedules and a global pandemic — has nevertheless come together beautifully since the release of Love Is The King. And, I might add, continues to get better with each performance.


Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 1 of this Largo run (Give Back The Key To My Heart was listed on the printed setlist as the final song of the show, but wasn't played):


Love Is The King

A Robin Or A Wren



Bombs Above>

Some Birds

Having Been Is No Way To Be



Low Key

Save It For Me


Don't Forget


Even I Can See

I Know What It's Like

World Away

Natural Disaster

Let's Go Rain

Guess Again

Family Ghost

The Red Brick>

Warm (When The Sun Has Died)


Helpless [Neil Young] (Sammy Tweedy on lead vocals)

You Are Not Alone

California Stars

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5 hours ago, Albert Tatlock said:

Tweedy band not just JT? Where do they draw the line these days?


Yeah, I always struggle with what to title this band. Because it's no longer TWEEDY, but it also doesn't feel entirely accurate to just say "Jeff Tweedy," even if that's what the show is billed as...

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Excellent writeup, Paul.  I'll just note, for the sake of completeness, that I was the person who inquired as to the traditional gift for a two-year anal fissure anniversary, and the full inquiry was, "What's the traditional gift for that anniversary, paper or wood?"

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