Last year, we could barely believe it was happening. This year, we weren't as nervous and, instead, turned it into the big party that we were all looking forward to. Even as I sit here at Midway on three hours' sleep, I couldn't imagine a better time.
Jeff Tweedy, Hotel S'n'S, April 8, 2006: Such was the informality of this year that we didn't know exactly when Jeff and Susan were due to arrive, and the opener Two Cow Garage ended up canceling. Fortunately, our dear friends Dave Mirabella and Martin Rivas warmed us up for the night with fine original compositions and rousing covers. Heck, I think they convinced us to stick around for the headliner.
The second-timers were a lot more sanguine about the song list this year, so it was only fair to let the newbies have their say, even if it required some, ahem, creative math. Also, it helped that many of us had seen Jeff's recent solo shows and heard our fill of certain songs that would've otherwise been a great treat. However, the song selections were presented as "suggestions" since we knew there'd be some deviation during the actual show.
I believe Jeff came on around 8:30, armed with a couple of acoustic guitars, harmonicas, and a small collection of printouts. He started off with some fairly customary songs ("Someday Some Morning Sometime," "Not for the Season," and "All the Same to Me"), but he eventually made his way to our more esoteric requests.
On his way out with his dad, baby Miles was serenaded with "I'm Beginning to See the Light"--I had my fingers crossed the whole time for that one. I was thrilled when both Dave and Mart played with Jeff for "Fatal Wound" and "Kamera," respectively, and dammit if they didn't sound awesome. Even better, Jeff claimed that it was the first time he had ever played "Fatal Wound"--score one for all of us! About halfway through the set, Jeff's parents called, so he played a few songs for them (and their dog). And as would be expected from a group of die-hards, we were probably the most thrilled with the older songs, such as "The Long Cut" and "We've Been Had."
In between songs, Jeff tried to quiz us by letting us take over the singing, and I'm sad to say that we turned in a shameful performance, forgetting many of the lines we supposedly love and requested. And I haven't mentioned the snippet of "Hey Chicken," the aborted "James Alley Blues" (one of the printouts Jeff carried), and the Neil Young cover.
About three hours later but much too soon, we bade good-bye to the Tweedys and the 2006 version of the basement show. But the night didn't end when the headliner left. Dave, Chandler, and Mart put up with our requests, our caterwauling, and our left feet until 4 a.m.
It's impossible to resist comparing this year's and last year's shows. Though we were more relaxed (yet less drunk) this year, the show itself felt a little more formal. For one thing, our setup got a major upgrade, thanks to a rented PA and a full recording rig. Also, Jeff pretty much stuck to the song list, but give him credit for trying a bit of "Hey Chicken" per Kris's shout-out. In exchange, our group welcomed great new, beautiful faces. And when you get down to it, when everyone is beaming and singing along, nothing has changed at all.
The full history
» 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
» it's been a while