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Jeff Tweedy — 14 December 2023, Oak Park, IL (Unity Temple)

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Story To Tell

Country Song Upside-Down

A Bowl And A Pudding*

Infinite Surprise

Should've Been In Love

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart


I Am My Mother

Box Full Of Letters


One Wing




Jesus, Etc.

Via Chicago

Dawned On Me

A Lifetime To Find


Hate It Here

Passenger Side

I'm The Man Who Loves You


*Live Debut


Banter Corner: After Infinite Surprise, Jeff looked around the intimate venue and commented that it felt like he knew everyone there before looking up at the western second balcony and acknowledging out loud, "John", "Kathy" with a head nod and then turned back to the rest of the audience wryly admitting "Safe Bet" in reference to the more common names. Towards the end after Passenger Side, Jeff praised the intimate venue by proclaiming that he only wanted to play rooms this size and shape from now on and then wondered aloud jokingly, "Are there a lot of these?"


After Should've Been In Love, Jeff approvingly surveyed the crowd and included he felt like we were a select group there to see the B-sides and deep cuts before admitting he could be wrong and should perhaps just play some more common songs to satisfy a novice, which drew at least one applause causing Jeff to deadpan, "See."  Pittsburgh, like Via Chicago, was performed with a harmonica to flesh out the fuller sound usually provided by the other members of Wilco. After Pittsburgh, Jeff revisited the popularity of his songwriting catalogue by telling a story of how he had seen a Rod Stewart poster in Las Vegas for a show billed as "The Hits" and joked that someday he would have a poster for a show billed as "The Hit" before adding that it would be a really short show at the MGM Grand and could be performed in the lobby or a person could catch the short show just walking through the lobby. Just a song later after Jesus, Etc., Jeff noticed someone standing up and moving, which caused him to call out the person stating, "See, people are leaving now. I played the hit." before mimicking a man with a deeper voice speaking to his partner, "Let's save a little money on the babysitter and get out of here." Finally, Via Chicago received a larger response than Jeff expected, so he queried the audience, "Do you want this to be over? Maybe if we give him a big round of applause he'll stop." He concluded by stating with rising intonation, "Thank you?" and apologized for being suspicious of the audience's intentions.


After I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, Jeff informed the audience that he shouldn't have eaten so many nuts before the show tonight because he was like a wood chipper, spitting out nuts everywhere. Following I Am My Mother, Jeff pulled up his pants, which received applause causing him to quip, "That's how you know you made it." The theme would be revisited several times throughout the night, each successive pulling up of the pants receiving larger applause and eventually cheers. At one point, Jeff turned his behind to the eastern and western balconies to ensure everyone could see, at least once, that he was, in fact, pulling up his pants.


Jeff briefly struggled with the instrumental section of the Evicted chorus the first time remarking during the song that he ran out of fretboard but would get it next time, which he did with extra gusto. The minor flub prompted him to explain after the song how all three members of Wilco who perform that section live (four including keyboards) play those notes differently on their instruments before humorously imitating how Nels chooses to play that section by contorting his left hand into the widest and most technically difficult/proficient position. Jeff also began Dawned On Me by singing the second verse first, so he quickly restarted it and commented that the second verse makes more sense after you hear the first.


Tonight's show included two trivia questions with the winner awarded a song request. The first question came after Via Chicago, perhaps because Jeff had been using his harmonica on the song. "Who invented the harmonica holder?" The first two guesses were Bob Dylan and Neil Young with Jeff telling the audience that both guesses were incorrect, which elicited quite a number of famous musician names before the correct answer was shouted, "Les Paul." Jeff added that Les Paul was not only in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but also in the Inventors Hall of Fame before granting the man's request for Dawned On Me. The 'Guaranteed Rap' preceded the song as it often does, as did the 'Encore Rap' without Jeff leaving the stage. However, he admitted that the rapturous standing ovation left him feeling unprepared and elected to ask a second trivia question. He introduced the second question by stating that it was about a famous rock star whose father was in the military, then acknowledging that all famous rock stars have fathers in the military and their fame is directly proportional to the rank their father attained with the most famous musicians having high-ranking military fathers. He then asked the audience whose father was not necessarily directly involved in the Gulf of Tonkin incident, but was nearby or indirectly participated in the event. Almost immediately, a woman provided the correct answer, "Jim Morrison." Jeff continued by seeing if anyone knew the name of Jim's father only to be met with "Mr. Morrison" answers causing him to dryly inform the crowd that he would have accepted "Admiral Morrison" before finally telling us Admiral Morrison's first name was Steve. The woman who provided the correct answer then interjected that Jim Morrison was actually her second cousin and had a brief back-and-forth conversation with Jeff before he said they would have to finish their conversation later and expressed his sincere wish that Jim Morrison were with us today. He warned the woman not to request a Doors' song before she sheepishly admitted that she didn't know the name of the song with lyrics about a washing machine and mowing the lawn.


Finally, Jeff introduced I'm The Man Who Loves You by explaining that he always performs and dedicates it to his wife when she is present but because she wasn't able to come to the show tonight, we were responsible for telling her that he dedicated it to her the next time we see her. He concluded by mentioning that she had told him one time he didn't need to dedicate it to her every time, so he didn't at the next performance. On the car ride home, he was quickly met with the sarcastic comment, "Nice dedication."

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A pretty great gathering of 300 for the performance by our guy, Mr. Jeff Tweedy!


The temple was as formal as you'd imagine and seemed ripe for an evening of singer songwriter acousticky guitar masterpieces. I was curious to see what Jeff would perform and what dynamics would reveal themselves as we watched from our seated positions in the various pews. The PA seemed to have been brought in for the performance and held up well despite a few pops here and there and I couldn't help but wonder what things might have sounded like if Jeff went without amplification. I think it might have been possible for a few select songs, but that was not to be. 


I'm down with those two song requests and found it a wild dynamic. I would have 100% guessed folks would pick a song from Being There, Yankee or Ghost. Instead they picked great songs off the albums Jeff typically skips over! 


Highlights for me were the newer songs - in particular A Bowl (which I couldn't help but mouth along the echo parts), Country Song, Pittsburgh (with the harmonica!!), and Should've Been in Love. Great song selection overall. Also, cool coincidence to have randomly sat next to Vince. Nice meeting you.

Edited by nalafej
reviewer above edited their content and mine is now duplicative/unnecessary
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On 12/15/2023 at 9:38 AM, nalafej said:

 Also, cool coincidence to have randomly sat next to Vince. Nice meeting you.


After figuring out our VC connection, we were wondering who’d take the reins for this recap with bbop being out and about elsewhere. Nice to see some first rate reporting so quickly!! 

Not much to add banter-wise to the above reports; Jeff seemed to have something say between almost every song which was delightful. I could tell that nalafej and I were struggling to jot notes on all of it. 

I will say that the room itself was worth an extra mention. Imagine a cube maybe 30’ on each side, with pews for 50 people on that main floor. Set into the walls on each side and rear are “balconies” which are more like small rooms with big rectangular openings in those walls into the cube. There’s even on level of that slightly below floor level on each side. Ornate modern ceiling in squares with stained glass. Definitely the most unique shaped sanctuary or venue I’ve ever seen. 
when Jeff first came out he quipped “I think I’m too asymmetrical for this room” before even strumming the first chord. 

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