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Jeff Tweedy — 20 May 2023, Chicago, IL (Vic Theatre) [Annual Charity Benefit; Night 2 of 2]

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I'll get back to this in a little while, but suffice it to say that Jeff seemed to feel a bit more confident in exploring some of the dustier corners of his catalog on the second and final night of his annual charity benefit shows at the Vic Theatre (not to mention venturing into a few cracks that aren't even old enough to have picked up any cobwebs at all). The result was a performance that might have been a little lighter on the chat than Night 1, but certainly felt more like the kind of overall effort that causes people to travel in from various corners of the country and wait on the sidewalk outside the venue for more than a few hours.


With some order restored to the universe — or perhaps just an extremely restorative pre-show nap — Jeff proceeded to entertain another sold-out crowd for two hours with just a few acoustic guitars (he actually used several different ones that he had with him on stage, unlike on Night 1 when he stuck with the same guitar for the entire show), his songs (once again, he stuck exclusively to his own compositions with nary a cover to be found) and his witty repartee (the "beret story," featuring the internal struggle between "Beret Jeff" and "Belleville Jeff" that had been introduced the previous evening once again took center stage, thanks in part to some attendees who procured a batch of black berets and donned them as Jeff took the stage, handing him one in the process).


At any rate, depending on your priorities as far as hearing Jeff play songs, telling funny stories or bantering with the audience, there was a certain degree of enjoyment to be had by all. And as Jeff once again jokingly reiterated from the top, as he usually does, these shows are for charity so they're "not good," they "should be painful — for you and for me," and if you're sitting back and looking at your watch and thinking about how long and rambling the show is, "then you're an asshole."


For now, here was the complete setlist as played for Night 2 at the Vic:


Story To Tell

Venus Stopped The Train

I Am My Mother




Tired Of Taking It Out On You

You Are Not Alone

An Empty Corner

Hearts Hard To Find

Sunken Treasure

The Lonely 1

I'm Kind Of In Love With You

Company In My Back

Where Do I Begin

I Got You (At The End Of The Century)


The Thanks I Get


What Light

Jesus, etc.

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The only song from night 1 I was mournful not to have seen was Lou Reed Was My Babysitter. The combo of setlist, banter, his voice, the sound, his semi-transparency, the texting with Susie, the crowd work esp. during The Thanks I Get, made this the best solo show of Jeff's I have seen (out of maybe....10?). Chicago is just a special place for him the way Springsteen has Jersey/NY. Makes me wish I had come for Wilco here (or gotten into those small club shows!) 

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