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Jeff Tweedy — 7 January 2023, Los Angeles, CA (Largo at the Coronet Theatre) [Night 3 of 4]

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That Jeff enjoys performing at Largo at the Coronet Theatre is, by now, pretty evident. Or if it's not, it should be. Now approaching 20 concerts in the intimate room over the past decade, Jeff told the audience gathered there tonight to watch him play the third of his four solo shows this week as much, noting near the end of his 90-minute set what a great time he was having before asking if anyone had any questions and amusingly bantering with people on subjects ranging from New Year's resolutions to the difference between hiking and walking to Wilco's upcoming residency in Iceland.


"This is fun," said Jeff, blaming the Q&A session on his wife Susie, who he said told him after the previous night's show that he hadn't talked enough. "Music is hard sometimes. I fucked up a lot tonight. I'm sorry about that."


It wasn't the first time Jeff would apologize over the course of the evening, though all in all, I'd say he did pretty well. He had a couple of minor hiccups during the wordy Remember The Mountain Bed; possibly sang a wrong lyric in the new song Having A Hard Time — the only song to be played all three shows so far, it seems to feature a chorus that goes "I'm fine/I'm having a good time/I'm lying/I'm having a hard time, too/It's nothing new," except that tonight Jeff sang "I'm having a hard time" twice, perhaps without realizing it; and once again couldn't or wouldn't grant someone's request for I'll Fight for the third straight night (yes, that guy asked again).


But there were more than a few highlights as well, including what I believe was the live debut of a new song called Not Saying Anything. Jeff shared the demo recording of the song on his Substack last April, but I don't think he had ever performed it in front of an audience before. Tonight it was the one song on which he used a 12-string guitar, which sounds so good in the Largo main room. Since the song features a longer-than-usual instrumental lead-in, we really got to hear that instrument shine as Jeff's fingers danced over the strings before the lyrics kicked in. Another "new" song that Jeff played for the first time on this run, though not for the first time at Largo, was Out For A Walk. Can a song really be called "new" if it debuted almost a year ago or "unreleased" if a demo version of it has been shared? I'm not sure, so feel free to categorize it as you like, but in any case, I was happy to hear it again.


Speaking of hearing songs again, it's evident that Jeff is trying not to repeat many of them during this series of Largo shows. But the shows haven't been entirely repeat free. As I mentioned, the new song Having A Hard Time has been played all three nights, and tonight Jeff also reprised Many Worlds and Laminated Cat from Night 1. Jeff mentioned that Susie "claims it's not fair that I only play the good songs the first night" and took an unscientific survey of the audience that seemed to indicate a majority of tonight's crowd was only attending one of the four shows. That led to a visit to Banter Corner in which Jeff expressed some frustration at being in a band where people say things like, 'I saw them three times, and they only changed six songs or something.' "How many songs do you know?" Jeff asked rhetorically. "Fuck you, man! We're not a jam band." He then proceeded to show off the setlists from each of the shows thus far and offered a quick, sarcastic analysis before letting the subject drop.


Perhaps that gripe about some fans' expectations shares at least a little bit in common with what Jeff's pal Nick Offerman sings about in his song "I'm Not Ron Swanson," about how he's not the same person as his beloved mustachioed character from the TV series Parks and Recreation. Tonight's unannounced comedic support act, Offerman performed that song as well as two others during his 20-minute set (and, for what it's worth, also became the second opener in three nights to mention anal sex).


Though he wasn't nearly as explicit as his friend, Jeff did have several comedic bits of his own over the course of his set. Apart from the ones I've already mentioned, he also had a funny rant early on about how audience "woo-ing" during a little guitar break in I Am Trying To Break Your Heart had nearly derailed his performance of the song the previous night. "It's a miracle I made it through the show last night," he said. "I can teach you all how to do that (break) in about four minutes, so it's really not woo-worthy." And a bit later, he shared a story about how he once played a show in Pittsburgh where the audience was so brightly lit that he could actually see someone woo-ing — he gave a demonstration of what it looked like — and remarked that "it was really disconcerting."


One other noteworthy visit to Banter Corner came when Jeff said he had been trying to play some of his happier acoustic numbers. "You'd be surprised how many festival-type things I get asked to play with these fucking (sad) songs." He related how he once had been invited to play an outdoor event celebrating the inaugural of the new president of the University of Pennsylvania — there were "tartan blankets, apple cider and me" — and introduced a song he had played at that event, Evergreen, being about his father dying.


I sometimes wonder how many solo shows Jeff has played over the course of his career when he comes off stage truly feeling like he has perfected the recipe. Probably not too many, since there always seem to be a few tweaks to be made to the proverbial stew. Did he talk enough? Too much? Repeat too many songs? Play enough songs that people know? Strike the right balance between upbeat songs and quieter, introspective ones? Did he feel well physically? Mentally? How confident did he feel playing songs from across his vast catalog? Was the audience too rowdy, or too sedate? I guess, in a way, all of those variables are what keep each show interesting — and keep some people (ahem) coming back for more. Here's to one final attempt this year to find the right combination at Largo, and though it once again might not come out of the kitchen 100 percent as planned, I already feel comfortable sending my compliments to the chef.


Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 3 at Largo (2023 edition):


Bombs Above>

Some Birds

new song-Out For A Walk

Sunken Treasure

Love Like A Wire [Diane Izzo]

Story To Tell

Remember The Mountain Bed

new song-Not Saying Anything


You And I

If I Ever Was A Child

Many Worlds (w/harmonica)


Guess Again

A Shot In The Arm

new song-Having A Hard Time


Let's Go Rain

Laminated Cat (aka Not For The Season)

I'm Always In Love

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