Monday, January 4, 2010

Nothing about Jeff Tweedy is sexy

[caption id="attachment_600" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Nothing about Jeff Tweedy is sexy"]Jeff Tweedy[/caption]

Photos courtesy of grtaylor2

I have tried to sit down and write this post a number of times, only to scrap it all and start over. I’m not a music critic and well, I’m intimidated by what I’m reading out there. I’m just a fan. A fan that FLEW over 1300 miles to see one of the (my self-proclamation) most underrated American songwriters perform a solo show without his five other bandmates. Nothing about Jeff Tweedy is sexy until he opens his mouth and sings a few songs -- acoustically. You forget he is short, needs to shave, swears a lot (apparently not when his children are attending a concert though), doesn’t know what to do with his hair and isn’t a sharp dresser. Jeff Tweedy captures your attention for what is really 90 mins. only to make you think it was for 5 mins. He sucks you in and gets into your soul.

A Wilco show and a Jeff Tweedy show are not the same. You can’t compare them. Sure, it’s the same singer/songwriter but Wilco is six energetic men playing their hearts out together onstage and putting on a good show. They don’t need fancy video screens, an elaborate stage – just a lot of guitar changes and a few songs about heartbreak, love and happiness. You stand up, you sing along, you dance a little. As my friend Ethan said “Rock n roll is alive and well with the keepers Wilco.”

At a Jeff Tweedy show you sit down. On the stage appear six acoustic guitars and a microphone. He enters the stage, picks a guitar with a spotlight shining down on just him and he sings as if he’s just singing to you, not 2,000 people. You expect a few things … a lot of witty chatter about what the song is about or a funny experience he’s had recently, a missed lyric or wrong chord and talking back to the crowd as they yell out requests. Our show contained all and even more of those standard standbys.

As with any Wilco show, you can request your favorite song via what Tweedy refers to as “the bureaucracy of Wilco” – their website. I requested “In a Future Age.” For some reason the lyrics “fenced in yards and barking dogs” reminds me of my son and always gives me a tear in my eye. Tweedy didn’t disappoint (I’m 5-0 on requests now) and played my song – and yes, there was a tear. I wonder if he read my reason why and said “I’ll make her day!” Probably not. But I can think that in my head.

[caption id="attachment_602" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Playing the harmonica during "Sunken Treasure""]Jeff Tweedy[/caption]

The show was full of stories. Tweedy was playing the show because his oldest sister lives in Phoenix. He dedicated “Please Tell My Brother” to his sister (a verse of the song is about her). He thought it would be a good idea to play the show to fund his trip until he saw her guest list which he said had to be half of the venue and basically put him in the hole. During “Ruling Class” he joked that the song wasn’t blasphemous, that he’d played it at many Christian colleges only to be told “don’t come back.” He dedicated two songs to his wife who was in the front row with their sons. One concert-goer yelled out something that sounded like “funky” but was the f-word. Tweedy responded “I don’t think I’m funky? Oh you didn’t mean funky? Thanks for dropping the f-bomb in front of my kids.” The biggest surprise was he played a song I would never thought he would play without Wilco – Spiders (Kidsmoke). During the last verse, he forgot the words and swayed around and then asked the audience to help him out. Two fans proudly yelled back the lyrics and he went on like nothing had happened.



During the encore, he unplugged his amp and went to the edge of the stage and sang his heart out without a mic. “This is what it’s going to be like without power someday.”
Yes, this show can not be compared to a Wilco show. You sit down the whole time. You take it in. And you walk out still believing rock and rock is still alive. And this time, the keeper is Jeff Tweedy.

Here is one of my favorite moments of the night – “Hummingbird!”


And you can’t have a show without a “Jesus Etc.” singalong


35 days until Wilco!!!!

48 comments:

Greg Taylor said...

I think your review is as poetic as Jeff's music. I am happy I could provide some visuals for your words.

GRT

Carla Dinsmore said...

I very much enjoyed your review of the Jeff Tweedy solo concert-I almost felt like I was there! However, I have to beg to differ on one matter. I think Jeff Tweedy is among the most sexy men I have ever seen. I don't think he even needs to open his mouth to sing-I just look at him and I melt. However, I realize that everyone has their own taste. I just find Jeff Tweedy to be irresistible!

Shannon said...

Thank so much, Greg! Your photos were awesome. I want to put one as my wallpaper on my computer.

Shannon said...

Carla, did you see the photo of him in the batting cages? He looked sorta hot in that photo...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcaphoto/565757222/

Or maybe when he was in Uncle Tupelo with the long hair ... maybe then he was a little sexy then. The liquor, guns, ammo photo (I can't find it!). Maybe he should grow his hair long again?

monkeyinabox said...

Nice recap Shannon. :)

Sandy said...

I was there! In fact, I was one of the people who helped provide words to Spiders (and LOVED that he played that song). Your review did total justice to the magic that was that show. You hit the highlights and all I can add (and I'd been to my first Wilco show in June, and then my first Tweedy show in December - I live in Mesa, AZ) is something I told my husband. "I love Jeff Tweedy." Over the past two years when I found and delved deeply into everything that is Wilco and as my husband joined me on that journey, I learned to appreciate all of the many talents of Jeff and the band, through all of its ages and stages. Cool that he played your request! Mine was "Everlasting Everything" because I thought I'd really like to hear something new, and particularly that song as it means so much to me, solo acoustic. I also requested Bull Black Nova as a second. He did beautifully though on some other tracks from the new album. But my FAVES of his entire collection and that night are Impossible Germany, Spiders, and In a Future Age - so thanks to you, perhaps, others, and obviously his own mood, we got to hear them!!!! But then, I have a really tough time choosing favorites. They're all great. (I think Tweedy's sexy - and a master of his craft now! Which is the sexiest thing to me, I think!) Thanks for the great review~!

Shannon said...

Sandy,
Yay! How cool that it was you who provided the lyrics.
Bull Black Nova has been my song recently. That would be an interesting song solo. I was front row at my last Wilco show and was completely memorized by the synchronization btw Cline/Sansone/Tweedy on that song.

dane said...

i loved your review. i watch his 'sunken treasure' dvd religiously, and it never fails to fill me with happiness, goosebumps, and awe.
can't wait for him to return, solo, to northern california...

dane said...

oh wow. after my last post i look at your 'about' tab, shannon-in-bend. i'm a west coast transplant via omaha, as well!
cheers!

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Ashley said...

"You forget he is short, needs to shave, swears a lot (apparently not when his children are attending a concert though), doesn’t know what to do with his hair and isn’t a sharp dresser."

Save for 'short,' that's pretty much my description of sexy ;)

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