Jeff Tweedy, Chateau du Polpettino, June 23, 2018I make no predictions on how these shows with Jeff shake out, but give me half a reason to go, and I'll be there. I had more than half a reason, and as always, the trip to Chicago was a treat. The weather even held for this climate wimp!
Our gracious host and hostess at Chateau du Polpettino set out a sparkling spread as always, and they unsurprisingly excelled at welcoming the new faces as well. I did my part at shaking hands and taking coats, but honestly, Paul, Jeff, and Elizabeth had it all under control.
In the past, Jeff and Susan's arrival has been both businesslike and familial. One group takes care of Jeff's equipment and ushers him downstairs, while another contingent often gathers around Susan for hugs and chatter. There was less of the latter this time, as perhaps she didn't know many of the patrons as well, but several of us were able to usher her in as well.
I've had the grand fortune of enjoying these shows with numerous people I consider to be close friends, so this was a new situation for me too. Of course, I was hardly alone, and in fact, I had helped recruit a couple of new faces to the group, but still, I was in relatively unfamiliar waters. I felt this newness most prominently in the banter. Look, I don't go to as many Wilco or Jeff Tweedy shows as I used to, and my rock tourism is mostly limited to California these days. I know very well that Jeff has pockets of loyal fans all over the country, but this was probably the first time in a while that I've been in it so deep. Needless to say, the enthusiasm was endearing to see.
Two fans played with Jeff this time: Candi, who accompanied him on acoustic bass (!) for "Handshake Drugs," and Joe, who played with him on "Misunderstood." They both did well, particularly Joe on a tough song that's known for a large improvisational swath. As someone with no musical talent whatsoever, I can only imagine the thrill of playing with Jeff. Still, the joy and glow on their faces after the songs tell you all you need to know.
I was pleased to hear someone else request "Either Way" for a change (thanks, Matt!), and I was more than happy to pipe up when Jeff almost forgot one person's (George's) request. As for my request, as you know I put a lot of thought into it, and it's a fine line between pushing the envelope and assuaging the artist. But I thought about the songs I haven't heard in an acoustic setting, sent out a couple of option, added a wing and a prayer for fun, and ended up with "Diamond Light" from the Tweedy record. It sounded awesome, by the way, though I know the drum and bass create the drama on the album version. Maybe we'll see it join Jeff's setlist in the future. If it does, know where it started. ;)
The full history
» i'm simple as a matter of fact
» name me a song that everybody knows
» i wish that i knew what I know now
» people say i'm crazy doing what i'm doing
» the message
» all the ladies and gentlemen
» that year
» springtime comes
» turn our prayers to outrageous dares
» every day is dreamlike
» it's been a while