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Jeff Tweedy — 26 February 2022, Los Angeles, CA (Largo at the Coronet Theatre) [Night 3 of 5]


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After seeing Jeff perform with both of his offspring and his other solo bandmates over the past few nights, crowding the relatively small Largo stage with a lot of people, instruments and gear, I have to admit it was a bit jarring to watch him walk on stage all by himself tonight with just an acoustic guitar in hand and not much else on stage with him besides two microphones, a small table and a spare guitar. He took note of the difference almost immediately, joking about how he had so much more space to wander around (which, of course, he barely used).

 

No, this was a true solo acoustic show — the first of three to close out this latest multi-night Largo run — and it featured an interesting mix of unreleased new songs (all of which I believe he has played in one form or another on The Tweedy Show), deep cuts and familiar standbys, not to mention more than a few visits to Banter Corner. Prior to Jeff taking the stage, there was once again a surprise comedian who opened the show with a short set. Tonight it was Naomi Ekperigin, a former Broad City writer whose recent half-hour special as part of Netflix's The Standups series has received strong reviews. 

 

From the start of his set, Jeff was pretty engaged with the audience, almost to the point I was afraid this might turn into one of those nights where he was more interested in talking than playing music. Then again, for some, I'm sure that wouldn't necessarily have been a bad thing. One of these days at Largo, which after all has probably been as much or more focused on comedy than music in recent years, I wonder if Jeff will just surprise an audience by just doing a set of standup and not playing any songs at all. This wasn't the night for that, though Jeff did admit at one point that he didn't really feel like playing guitar because his fingers hurt (or something to that effect).

 

After his opening song, though, Jeff did tell a funny little story that would be a recurring subject for the remainder of the 90-minute show. The gist of the anecdote was that apparently he had been eating lunch earlier at the nearby Farmer's Market — some sort of jackfruit abomination (in this writer's opinion) at Trejo's Tacos, to be precise — when he noticed a guy walk past and sort of give a look of recognition. Then the guy walked back in the other direction, still trying to surreptitiously eyeball Jeff but not making any move to approach him. Jeff said he was pretty certain that the guy recognized him, but he ultimately never made a move. "I wanted to chase after him," Jeff said, with a tone of mock(?) annoyance in his voice. "I made it very clear that I'm ready to take the picture and everything."

 

The thing about Largo is that Jeff seems so comfortable on stage there and it's such an intimate setting that you almost feel like he's playing for a room full of close friends with whom he checks in regularly about anything and everything. So, for example, he dispelled the notion that whistling during a song — as he had just done during Hummingbird — deserved to be applauded as much as what he had overcome when a couple of his mustache hairs started irritating him during the subsequent Pieholden Suite. "Go home and have someone tickle your nose with a feather while you recite a poem from memory," Jeff said. "Whistling ain't shit." Another funny moment came at the end of Bull Black Nova when someone's cell phone went off perfectly in sync with the concluding notes of the song, which Jeff said were intended to sound like a phone off the hook. Jeff then joked about how that portion of the song "was originally supposed to be the Nokia theme" but they went in another direction.

 

Other visits to Banter Corner included a very earnest reply to a woman's question about the spider who inspired the song Opaline (though he didn't play it). There were also several re-visits, such as when a guy thanked him for playing Remember The Mountain Bed and Jeff replied you're welcome, suggested that he could leave since he had heard the song he wanted to hear and discussed the song request function on Wilco's web site. "Every single night every song I've ever written gets one request," Jeff said. "How am I supposed to work with that?" So he said he had taken to telling audience members that they should leave after they heard the song they wanted to hear, so he would know when the show was supposed to be over.

 

After an amusing exchange when Jeff said thank you following applause for a song, then an audience member said thank you in return and then Jeff said thank you again, Jeff reiterated the funny quip about how he knew he looked like someone who needed encouragement. "That is my brand," Jeff said. "Is he gonna be able to pull this off? Is he gonna be OK?" And he also re-told the story about how he almost always dedicates I'm The Man Who Loves You to his wife Susie and she told him he didn't have to, so one show he didn't and she gave him a hard time about it afterward. (He then theoretically dug himself out of that hole with a very sweet comment about how Susie is the center of his life and how he wouldn't be here without her and how he hoped everyone would find someone who they could be with who made life make sense — even when it really didn't seem to. Hopefully I got the gist of that right.)

 

As for the music (oh yeah!), Jeff clearly had some of his newest compositions at the forefront of his mind. Though, as I mentioned earlier, I'm pretty sure he has played some version of them all on The Tweedy Show, I'm pretty sure at least a couple of them had some additional or more fleshed-out lyrics than the earlier versions we had heard. Lou Reed Was My Babysitter was a request from someone in the front row, but Jeff granted it pretty readily and it was a fun way to wrap up the main set (even if Jeff struggled slightly with some of the lyrics).

 

I suppose it wasn't too surprising that following a series of Tweedy band shows, Jeff shied away from playing virtually any of his "solo" material at his actual solo show — with the exception of Having Been Is No Way To Be — but it remains to be seen if that will continue to be the case for the final two Largo shows. He also stuck to his more classic acoustic guitars at this show — no sign of the rubber-bridge "Rodeo" model he was using on some of the Love Is The King material during the band shows, nor any of his Kel Kroydons. Whether Jeff continues down the path of more songs featuring fingerpicking and/or delicate playing — which I thought was largely the case tonight — remains to be seen, but here's looking forward to two more nights of whatever he feels like giving us.

 

For now here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 3 at Largo:

 

new song-Ambulance

Remember The Mountain Bed

Shakin' Sugar (aka Alone)

new song-Say I Love You Again

Cars Can't Escape

Hummingbird

Pieholden Suite

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

new song-Please Be Wrong

Please Tell My Brother

Having Been Is No Way To Be

Dawned On Me

One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)

Bull Black Nova

Impossible Germany

new song-Lou Reed Was My Babysitter

--------------------------------------------------------------

I'm The Man Who Loves You

A Shot In The Arm

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Thanks Paul. Interesting set, indeed. What time does the line begin forming for seating assignments? Will be my first time at the Largo (came to LA from Austin for Father John Misty, The War On Drugs, and now Jeff on Monday :))

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I have not felt terribly disappointed having missed out on Wilco/Tweedy shows over the last two years (and have opted out of most of the shows going forward too), but missing out on Jeff's solo run at Largo does sting a bit! It is a special room and it's been clear to me the few times I've been fortunate enough to be there that that's felt by both the performers and audience members alike.
 

Paul - did Jeff make any indication that the new songs are on the forthcoming Wilco record, or did you get the sense that they are new songs are in their very early stages? I learned a lot about Jeff's writing practices from The Tweedy show, namely that he is always writing!

 

Hope you're having a nice time in LA!

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2 hours ago, knotgreen said:

Paul - did Jeff make any indication that the new songs are on the forthcoming Wilco record, or did you get the sense that they are new songs are in their very early stages? I learned a lot about Jeff's writing practices from The Tweedy show, namely that he is always writing!

 

No references to any of ‘em being on a new record. And if I’m being honest a couple of ‘em i hope are in the early stages if they’re to become something more permanent. Lou Reed Was My Babysitter was fantastically wonderful though. 

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6 hours ago, 82games said:

Thanks Paul. Interesting set, indeed. What time does the line begin forming for seating assignments? Will be my first time at the Largo (came to LA from Austin for Father John Misty, The War On Drugs, and now Jeff on Monday :))

I was there on Thursday and some awesome fans got there way early, but if you come by, say, 4pm-4:30pm you should have seats in the second or third row. They hand out the seating assignments at 6pm, so a little wait if you want those seats, but it should be a nice sunny day.

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I ran into Jeff on the street before a show in August 1999 in Vermont and I asked him if they were going to play "Pieholden Suite."  He said they couldn't play it without the trumpet.  Liar.

 

Kudos to James W., whose shouted request for "Lou Reed Was My Babysitter" might have been accepted faster than any shouted request in history.  It was like, James: "PLAY LOU REED IS MY BABYSIT.." Jeff: "O.K., I'll give it a try."

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4 hours ago, Freedy said:

I was there on Thursday and some awesome fans got there way early, but if you come by, say, 4pm-4:30pm you should have seats in the second or third row. They hand out the seating assignments at 6pm, so a little wait if you want those seats, but it should be a nice sunny day.

Appreciate you!

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16 hours ago, 82games said:

Thanks Paul. Interesting set, indeed. What time does the line begin forming for seating assignments? Will be my first time at the Largo (came to LA from Austin for Father John Misty, The War On Drugs, and now Jeff on Monday :))

 

Not that I'm a Largo insider, by any means, but you'll seem like more of a vet if you just say "Largo" and not "the Largo." ;)

 

Enjoy the show!

 

16 hours ago, knotgreen said:

I have not felt terribly disappointed having missed out on Wilco/Tweedy shows over the last two years (and have opted out of most of the shows going forward too), but missing out on Jeff's solo run at Largo does sting a bit! It is a special room and it's been clear to me the few times I've been fortunate enough to be there that that's felt by both the performers and audience members alike.
 

Paul - did Jeff make any indication that the new songs are on the forthcoming Wilco record, or did you get the sense that they are new songs are in their very early stages? I learned a lot about Jeff's writing practices from The Tweedy show, namely that he is always writing!

 

Hope you're having a nice time in LA!

 

Wish you could have made it here, man! It's been a nice week. And as has already been stated, Jeff hasn't said much about the development or eventual landing site for the new songs he's been playing. In fact, at this show he barely even acknowledged they're "new" songs! I do know that, as you said, he's constantly writing and, presumably refining, material. I think I made the comment during one of the Tweedy Show chats that I can't really remember him ever playing so many new songs at various stages of development before but I guess the pandemic changed all that. So we'll have to see how it all shakes out eventually...Wilco or solo or just into the wind.

 

Fwiw, I suspect that Lou Reed Is My Babysitter might end up on a 7-inch or something standalone, since the Wilco guys apparently don't really dig it and it's so different in feel than most of the other new songs Jeff has showcased. (Then again, maybe the rest of the Wilcos have come around...hope springs eternal! :banana)

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