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Jeff Tweedy - 13 November 2023 - Stoughton, WI (Stoughton Opera House)

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Via Chicago (with Harmonica)

Remember The Mountain Bed

Infinite Surprise

Don’t Forget

Cars Can’t Escape

In A Future Age


Family Ghost

Impossible Germany

You And I


Box Full Of Letters



Pecan Pie


Forget the Flowers


Laminated Cat

I Am My Mother

Company In My Back

Heavy Metal Drummer

A Shot In The Arm


After Remember The Mountain Bed, Jeff confirmed that not too many people had attended the previous night causing a woman to shout out that it was difficult to get tickets for these shows. In response, Jeff quipped, "Good, it makes these shows more special" and "Means I'm popular" before concluding, "I couldn't get tickets either", which drew laughter. He revisited the topic of not many repeat attendees after Don't Forget by querying the crowd, "How many of you were here last night?", which drew a light smattering of applause, so Jeff estimated "10" people had responded and added that he had prepared an entirely different setlist than the previous night but wasn't sure that he wanted to perform all different songs for just ten people. He finished by stating that he would take the temperature of the room later to see if the audience was missing the hits before confessing, "I don't have any." He explained that this was a statistical fact based on the website requests for songs because at least one or two people request each song for every show.


Generally, the audience was a bit more reserved or better behaved (depending on your viewpoint) than the previous night. There were three guitars on stage (one without pick guards used for most songs, one with one pick guard, and one with two pick guards that was not used), so when Jeff announced that he was switching guitars (to one pick guard) for In A Future Age, the only response was one woman quietly commenting, "Wow." Jeff repeated the simple "Wow", which drew large applause and several more enthusiastic "Wow" in response. He liked how the new guitar sounded so stuck with it for Kamera before returning to the other one used throughout the show except when he was brought a fourth guitar from offstage for Laminated Cat. When he started Forget The Flowers, a few patrons politely clapped causing Jeff to remark, "Smattering" which drew a larger response but he informed us that he was just identifying and not asking for more.


After Kamera, he repeated the question of How many people were from Stoughton? from the night before and found a similar response, but a woman encouraged Jeff to ask, "How many of you are from Wisconsin?", which received much larger applause. He continued on about the audience from last night recapping the activity question and ice fishing response before realizing he had been describing the previous night's crowd perhaps a bit too much by sarcastically admitting, "Audiences love when you relive the show from the night before!" Before launching into Family Ghost, he informed the audience of the "Showbiz trick" to tell the second night's audience that last night's crowd were assholes. Jeff returned to the theme of a very respectful audience throughout the show later stating that he didn't deserve such a respectful crowd before providing further commentary on how the audience had been so full of themselves the night before because they knew they would get all the songs he wanted to play first and the second night would get the "dregs" of whatever songs were left on the list. 


Upon finishing Impossible Germany, Jeff remarked that the audience probably wanted him to perform the solo and that he could, but the way he just performed it was how the song was written and that he wanted to stay true to the original vision before confessing that he was just kidding and he would love for Nels to be there because he performs the solo differently every time. Then, a man in the audience shouted out a request for Love Is The King but it sounded weird eliciting a "I think you put the emphaSIS on the wrong syLLAble" from Jeff. It was hilarious and I was amazed at the speed with which Jeff responded with perfectly executed incorrect pronunciation and stress. He declined to play Love Is The King because that had another "long solo."


The 'Guaranteed Rap' (à la Neil Young) preceded the song as it often has before and after Guaranteed, Jeff wondered aloud if he should continue to play only songs written about his wife before starting Reservations, and then stated that the next song was written for his wife as well (perhaps jokingly) before launching Pecan Pie, which gave me a whole new perspective on that song. Before the encore, a man requested Screen Door but Jeff somewhat quickly and abruptly declined explaining that the song was difficult for him to play. He continued that more importantly than the man's request was he hoped the audience knew he was just messing with us and that he was awkward as evidenced by not knowing what to do with his hands, so he just keeps tuning his guitar. I've often seen Jeff be brutally honest on stage, but I don't know that I've ever seen him as vulnerable and genuine when he was describing his feeling on stage this night. For a brief moment, it seemed like he had stopped being the consummate showman we have all come to know and love, and was rewarding this well-behaved audience with the raw Jeff Tweedy, warts and all. Perhaps talking about the stories throughout his life that informed his most recent book over the last week contributed to his candor on this evening. The moment was special and I doubt there was anyone in that opera house that wasn't incredibly grateful.


The 'Encore Rap' made an appearance again as well and included a bit where Jeff incredulously wondered if the audience was clapping so much "because I'm gone?!?", so he never left the stage in between Forget The Flowers and Laminated Cat. The crowd came alive after each song in the encore causing Jeff to comment that this should be the practice after every song throughout the whole set and nobody should assume an artist is going to play more than one song. The crowd even added in some of the whistling for Heavy Metal Drummer! Finally, it was the sound man's birthday so the audience sans Jeff sang Happy Birthday to him before A Shot In The Arm, which prompted Jeff to discuss how he dislikes singing the song because his extended family would always ask him to sing at gatherings once his professional career began to develop ultimately leading to their surprise that he was able to earn a living as a musician.

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