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Jeff Tweedy - 19 October 2022, Lexington, KY (Kentucky Theater)

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"Is the whiskey starting to kick in?  Does whiskey work like that?  This is Kentucky - Do they just give you shots on the way in?  Oh, it's bourbon here?  Sorry."


It was just that kind of a show - very much unexpectedly, at least for me, as this was a pure Jeff solo show, in an historic movie theater here in MY (usually calm and reserved) CITY of Lexington KY.  But the rowdies were very much in rowdy form this evening, and it did make for a lively evening indeed.  The Kentucky Theater is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month, and apparently they enticed Jeff to do a one-off solo show shortly after closing out the 2022 Cruel Country tour.  Two songs in, Jeff acknowledged the 100th anniversary, saying that they invited him back "because I played the grand opening too".  The theater was quite full (allegedly sold out), and indeed was selling alcohol, and of course, popcorn. 

Musically, it was a lot of Cruel Country and YHF, along with a lot more Wilco and veryfew Jeff solo tunes sprinkled in to the 21 song set.  Crowd stayed seated through the main set, then stood for the encore applause and stood throughout the 3 song encore.  A short opening set by Le'Ponds started things off with a very mellow vibe, which didn't carry over to Jeff's set and maybe just pent up the rowdiness.


But with the rather vocal crowd, banter corner was the star of the show.  Continuing with the recent "Era of Good Feelings", Jeff actually thanked the crowd for the love and support toward the end, saying that he was grateful to the audiences like this for keeping him in this business for so many years.  He commented that he used to be uptight about such things, but now "do whatever you want."  He then lamented his lack of stage presence, once again saying that he really WANTED to be more David Lee Roth (complete with "assless chaps") but that he just can't pull that off. 


Four songs in, and before things got too out of hand, he decided that he needed to tell us that he had eaten some "bad softshell crab" earlier in the day and that things were getting a little dizzy up there.  This was perceived by the audience as their invitation to start multiple conversations with Jeff, including "where did you eat?" ("I'm not gonna say - I wouldn't want to get sued."), and ended up with Jeff trying to end that particular set of exchanges by saying "you don't need to know any more about that other that what you've already been told - and that was a gift." 

After "Orphan", he mentioned that "I get to play a lot of these kinds of celebrations... mostly due to songs like that.  There's usually a beach ball." 

When someone shouted out some kind of encouragement ("you're great!"), he said that his stage appearance generally solicits those kinds of comments ("it's kinda my brand.. "Is He OK?" ").

There was a particularly odd exchange where someone shouted out what sounded like "you were great at Carol's" which Jeff took to mean the surprise shows in Chicago, and had to comment that Carol's is a bar in Chicago, and clarify that it didn't mean that Jeff was great at some woman named Carol's house.  But the shouter clarified that she really meant that Jeff was (or would be?) great at Christmas carols.  "Thank you.  But I'm Jewish.  But all the great Christmas carols were actually written by Jews.  You can look it up." 

At that point Jeff confided "I'm gonna let you in on what's going on in my performer brain right now:  You Must Regain Control".  Which he attempted.  And quickly failed. 

As he then started Passenger Side, he noticed after the first verse that his guitar was still in a non-standard tuning from the previous song, and had to stop and re-tune back to standard.  That break was met with various hollering and commentary, with someone in the audience yelling out "must regain control!".  Jeff quipped "did you all hear that too?  most of my thoughts don't project like that.  But this is gonna take a while for me to re-knit this thing back together". 

As he started the first notes of "Please Tell My Brother", someone hollered out something about wanting to dance with Jeff Tweedy.  Jeff said "that usually doesn't happen when I'm holding an acoustic guitar, but go ahead and knock yourself out".  A few more misplaced hoots and hollers continued well into the first verse, getting a very clear headshake from Jeff, who was able to finish the song in relative silence.

Cali Stars was met with some rather poorly timed clapping, prompting Jeff's horse-like leg stomping off-time, as well as some pretty weak singing along for the chorus upon Jeff's invitation.  

The encore was a little more settled down audience-wise, with Jeff's only comments being about Glenn, since Glenn got a percussion degree from here in Lexington at the University of Kentucky.  "That makes him the most overqualified drummer in all of rock and roll" and that "he still talks about you guys all the time."  Kinda late in the show for pandering, eh Jeff?  

Lots of enthusiastic applause as Jeff left the stage after the 3-song encore and ~90 minute set.  Not sure if he'll ever come back to our little tertiary town, but I'm sure he won't forget us for a while!!


Here's the setlist as played.  I don't think there was a printed setlist per se, but a list of songs that Jeff seemed to be choosing from on the little table with his harmonica.


I Am My Mother

Cruel Country


The Universe

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

New Madrid


Via Chicago (with harmonica)

Tired of Taking It Out on You

Ashes of American Flags


Country Song Upside Down (on 12-string)

Kamera (on 12-string)

Passenger Side (started in wrong tuning, then restarted)

Jesus, etc.

Please Tell My Brother

California Stars

Lifetime to Find



Falling Apart (Right Now)

I'm the Man Who Loves You






(Oh, for those wondering... no there was no sign.  It's going on its own hiatus for a while. It's time.)


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7 hours ago, theashtraysays said:

"I'm gonna let you in on what's going on in my performer brain right now:  You Must Regain Control"



So glad you got that hometown gig, Vince. And thanks for the recap. I'm really longing for a proper JT solo show!

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32 minutes ago, Magnetized said:

Nice report, Vince. How did the unruly audience react to Anbulance? And how was the singing along to the more familiar songs?

Subdued for sure for Ambulance.  Barely a chuckle for the priest joke.  Personally it's my least favorite Wilco/Jeff song ever.  I actually hate that one.  Seemed like he wanted to play a few of the CC songs that they didn't play on tour (as well as quite a few that were on the regular Wilco setlist lately).


Singalongs were basically nonexistent.  He tried to get the group going on Cali Stars ("You can sing a long if you know it... I'll sing the harmony so don't sing my part") but it went pretty flat.  Zilch on anything else, and no clapping for Hummingbird (although Jeff did do his whistling outtro, which is kinda rude to clap over I suppose). 

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Scientist for years have studied to no avail  the uncontrollable human urge to "whooo hooo" when Jeff says "They all come from New York city" during New Madrid. Pretty sure those two ladies the other night were indeed NOT from New York city. 

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