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Jeff Tweedy — 19 May 2023, Chicago, IL (Vic Theatre) [Annual Charity Benefit; Night 1 of 2]

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Four years (and a couple of months) since he last strode onto the Vic Theatre stage in Chicago to perform his annual benefit solo acoustic shows for various charities, Jeff once again found himself before a sold-out crowd that was eager to see him do his thing after missing out for so long due to the pandemic. Of course that begs the question: What is that thing, exactly? Is it playing his own compositions in a stripped-down setting? Is it a de facto comedy act in which Jeff balances songs with amusing anecdotes and crowd work? Is it a chance to have a public moment with a singer-songwriter they admire when he identifies a song requester by name? Is it actually a husband-and-wife routine in which Jeff banters with his wife/show organizer Susie, who is always sitting in the box at stage left?


As usual, this first show back was some combination of all of those things. I'll certainly never be able to recap every visit to Banter Corner or every golden nugget of wit uttered by the venerable singer-song writer over the course of a couple hours, though I'll try to circle back later and get to a few of them. But if that's what you're primarily interested in, I guess you'll just have to attend one of these shows yourself and bring a tape recorder with you. My chicken scratch on a single sheet of paper is not going to do justice to all of the chat, especially on a night when Jeff seemed to want to talk more than play songs.


Ah yes, songs — some of which people had waited in line for hours to request. That's always the question in my mind when it comes to Jeff's solo shows, and in particular, these shows. How much does Jeff want to really play songs on any given night? Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn't as much. So depending on what you came for, you might walk away delighted or disappointed or something else. Then again, as Jeff always reminds us at the top, these shows are for charity so, basically, you'll take what you get...


To refresh the memory from the last time these shows happened, Jeff had decided in 2019 to cut back the request list from 30 songs to 20 and give himself the leeway to play as many as 10 songs of his choosing to keep the show flow going. It made sense at the time, since it gave Jeff the freedom to sprinkle in songs from his then-new solo records Warm and Warmer, but also just for the sake of moving the show along. Hey, if baseball can have a pitch clock, then Jeff can surely impose his own Tweedy clock of sorts? "I used to let (the audience) pick all of the songs," Jeff explained midway through tonight's set, "and some of those shows are still happening in the past."


More to come, but for now here was the complete setlist as played for Night 1 at the Vic:


The Universe


Having Been Is No Way To Be

Radio King

Don't Forget

new song-Evicted From Your Heart

Dawned On Me

Box Full Of Letters ("broken-down version," as requested, with harmonica)

The Ruling Class

Country Disappeared

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

On And On And On

Passenger Side


Less Than You Think

Lou Reed Was My Babysitter

Cruel Country

We've Been Had


I'm The Man Who Loves You

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  • bböp changed the title to Jeff Tweedy — 19 May 2023, Chicago, IL (Vic Theatre) [Annual Charity Benefit; Night 1 of 2]
18 hours ago, TCP said:

Psst... @bböp check the year in the thread title!! 😁

Corrected, thanks. I really did the original post in a rush this morning, just to get the setlist on the record. Will add to it later.

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