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Jeff Tweedy — 24 June 2023, Brooklyn, NY (Brooklyn Made) [Night 3 of 4]

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If this really was "an epic show," as Jeff paused to observe late in his third of four solo acoustic performances at Brooklyn Made this week, then it'll be pretty interesting to see what happens tonight when the run reaches its denouement.


It was easy to see why Jeff said what he did when he did after an alarmed voice toward the back of the room shouted, "Jeff!" as he was nearing the end of Even I Can See. Apparently someone had passed out and the person was trying to get some help — they were quickly deemed to be fine — and Jeff didn't really stop playing for long, explaining that when he was coming up as a performer, "my deepest training was never to stop playing" because usually what happened was a fight had broken out and if the band stopped playing, things could escalate. But since this is a different crowd and era from those early days, Jeff simply kept strumming his guitar and reassured us by saying, "It's OK...just listen to the pretty music."


You could hardly have blamed Jeff for being a little more edgy, though, one night after a heckler (who apparently is actually a big fan who got contentious after ingesting some illicit substances) nearly derailed the show with some of his antics. Jeff made his longest visit to Banter Corner to share some details about the guy, who apparently was told by a venue official that he wouldn't be allowed in after he showed up early in line again, encountered Jeff and tried to apologize to him but was apparently still under the influence of something. According to Jeff, the man told him that he "took some Ecstasy and didn't eat" the night before, trying to explain himself. (For more details on what went down, check out my recap in that thread.)


In what Jeff likened to a sort of "Bring Your Audience To Work Day," in terms of giving a proverbial peek behind the curtain, Jeff said, "I can take an enormous amount of bullshit over 30 years of doing this," and then went on a funny tangent about when he was coming up, almost nothing could stop him from playing his appointed set. "You could put pigeon shit in my mouth," he said, citing how he and John Stirratt had once read a story about Kings Of Leon halting a performance because of pigeon excrement getting in their mouths and looked at each other in disbelief. "Kids these days, right?" He continued on, perhaps in TMI fashion, by sharing, "I have a bone protruding into my rectum right now through my hip socket. Am I gonna cancel?"


Uhh...yeah. So one of the themes of this run has been the state of Jeff's hips, which those who have followed him closely this year will know that he has been struggling with pain in his hips and will eventually need replacements for both sockets. Clearly he has been struggling, which led a woman to ask pretty early on in tonight's show why he didn't just play while seated like others do. Of course Jeff couldn't give a direct, straight answer, asking her why she didn't mind her own business before explaining that it was because of two main reasons. The first was that he was raised with the belief that standing while performing demonstrates respect for an audience. Then he mentioned seeing Neil Young play a solo acoustic show where he sat down and quipped that, "I think he's a bitch for doing that. ... I'm joking, of course, He's amazing." Jeff added that he also doesn't play these shows sitting down because it hurts just as much to sit versus stand and he worried that if he sat, he wouldn't be able to get back up.


Another continuing theme at these Brooklyn shows has been the presence of courtroom sketch artist Elizabeth Williams, who was apparently hired by Team Tweedy to document these shows and whose work, Jeff has joked each night, "you might recognize from the Southern District of Florida." At the very least, Williams' presence has offered a chance for some funny banter at least once during each show. Tonight Jeff introduced her and asked if she had captured a large fly that may or may not have been on his mic stand at one point. That led to Jeff likening himself to the Peanuts character Pigpen with jokes about Jeff's hygiene leading to at least one fly constantly circling around him.


Oh, and you might ask about the actual songs played during this show. Yes, for the third consecutive night, Jeff played a set of songs he hadn't performed over either of the first two nights. So it seems safe to assume that this trend will continue for at least one more show to close out the run. Jeff seems determined to give these Brooklyn audiences just about everything he has in the tank for 90 minutes, and that's plenty. Especially when he seems so determined to play all of the chords at the end of Handshake Drugs, for example, or get the intricate strumming pattern just right on Muzzle Of Bees.


As he had the previous night, Jeff announced fairly late in the evening that "I'm not gonna do the encore BS" of leaving the stage and coming back on, in part because he didn't want to have to navigate the stage stairs any more than was necessary. But he shared an interesting little anecdote about encores, saying that he thought it worked for Wilco because they got a chance to go off and say hi and check in with each other briefly, maybe even grab a quick sip of something, before coming back on. And the band members would always come back, even when there is hardly any applause to encourage them to do so, as happens often these days. So what brings them back? "We look at each other and say, 'I wanna play these last three songs. I don't care if they deserve it,'" Jeff said.


Hopefully we "earned" some of the non-encore tonight with our singing-along on the show-closing California Stars, which Jeff noted "came out 25 years ago yesterday." It's a song that I've heard so many times that it's hard to get excited about, but one of the exceptions for me is when Jeff plays it solo and takes the high harmony with the audience (hopefully and properly) singing the "regular" melody. It can be a beautiful thing.


Here was the complete setlist, as played, for Night 3 in Brooklyn:


Sunken Treasure

Guess Again

Family Ghost

On And On And On

Pecan Pie

Falling Apart (Right Now)


Infinite Surprise

A Lifetime To Find

Bob Dylan's 49th Beard

Tired Of Taking It Out On You

An Empty Corner

One By One

Even I Can See

We've Been Had

Radio King

Handshake Drugs

Muzzle Of Bees

California Stars

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