Jeff Tweedy | 02.13.09 | Chicago

By: Charley Borneman

Jeff Tweedy :: 02.13.09 :: The Vic Theatre :: Chicago, IL

Jeff Tweedy
This was the first of two shows for Jeff Tweedy at The Vic Theatre. The solo acoustic benefit show was a medley of comedy, folk and rock music. Initial ticket prices started at $250.00 and $300.00, but interest was low and prices were adjusted to $50.00 and $100.00. Call it a thermometer of today's recessionary times but the end result was 1,400 fans being treated to an intimate night of requested songs and comical banter. It was a charity concert for the Montessori School in Chicago, which is becoming an annual affair for the Tweedy family.

Tweedy took the stage amidst a backdrop of a guitar cornucopia, ensuring the fans their night of music would include a diverse variety of acoustic measures. Tweedy has come a long way from his salad days, no longer reticent and suffering from migraines, his stage presence now brims with confidence. His jovial mood was apparent from the first note as he exchanged greetings with the audience. He joked early and often about everything, from the songs requested to his family life, often referencing his wife and some of the day-to-day quirks they share, including one he parlayed into a looping song that reappeared throughout the evening. Needless to say, Tweedy's antics were hilarious and made for a very entertaining three hours.

The requested song list included the entire gambit of Tweedy's career path from Uncle Tupelo to Wilco. The new ballad "Everlasting Everything" was one of the first songs played and was warmly accepted by the seemingly knowledgeable crowd. "Box Full of Letters" and "Hummingbird" followed, continuing the slower, mellow theme. However, the leisurely and acoustic menu for the evening was inhibiting Tweedy from taking music to certain levels. He expressed his desire to elevate his guitar playing and cross the threshold into an impromptu acoustical or vocal jam. The crowd responded with an encouraging cheer, which seemed to give Tweedy the carte blanche he was seeking.

Later on in the first set, the popular "Airline to Heaven" got the crowd going as they sang the chorus in unison. One fan attempted to start a clap along during "Airline" but was comically mocked by Tweedy. This led to more laughs from the crowd and eventually the first set finished with a marvelous rendition of the title track from Wilco's third album Summerteeth.

Tweedy by Tony Stack
Tweedy took a short break before coming out for the second set. He acknowledged the crowd and thanked everyone for coming out for such a good cause. The young business casual crowd was generally attentive and well behaved with the occasional exception. There was one reoccurring "Jesus etc" request that was eventually granted, eliciting a roar from the crowd, although one wonders if the applause was for the song or for the silencing of the overzealous fan. Either way, it was well played and this commercial success is always well received.

Tweedy even managed to cover some of the legends that he himself has followed. Bob Dylan's poignant "Simple Twist of Fate" and Brian Wilson's "Love and Mercy" were welcomed additions to the night's playlist. Tweedy's take on Dylan's famous ballad was well done and fit in nicely even if it was a mystery to most of the audience. The show finished off with Tweedy playing "The Thanks I Get" as an encore without the use of the P.A. It was an appropriate way to finish off an intimate, outstanding evening.

Jeff Tweedy continues to grow as an artist, person, husband and father. His ever-increasing confidence is widely apparent and only enhances his ability to entertain a crowd. His ability to grow in such a way while continuing to stay grounded is not only a testament to him but also his friends and family. An intimate setting like The Vic Theatre is a perfect venue to observe this always-evolving artist. It was an inside look at one of Chicago's real life heroes and judging from the crowd's reaction, his iconic status will continue well into the future.

Jeff Tweedy :: 02.13.09 :: The Vic Theatre :: Chicago, IL
Set One: Remember The Mountain Bed, The Community Song, new song (Everlasting Everything), Lost Love, Thirteen, Box Full Of Letters, Muzzle Of Bees, Hummingbird, Airline To Heaven, Love & Mercy, No More Poetry, Simple Twist Of Fate, Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway(again), I Can't Keep From Talking, Hate It Here, Should've Been In Love, Summer Teeth,
Set Two: Someday Some Morning Sometime, Laminated Cat, Wilco The Song, Casino Queen, Jesus, Etc., Gun, California Stars, We've Been Had, Kingpin, Fake Plastic Trees, Heavy Metal Drummer, I'm The Man Who Loves You
Encore: The Thanks I Get (played at edge of stage with no P.A.)

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[Published on: 2/23/09]

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moemoe6434 Mon 2/23/2009 05:38AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I'd love to hear his performance of "Fake Plastic Trees"

Parsonsgoggles starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/23/2009 06:42AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This is a great article Jambase, well done!

Jeff Tweedy can come ski with me any day...

Chaloupka starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/23/2009 06:48AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Wow, wish I could get my hands on a copy of this!

2Heavy starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/23/2009 09:21AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Well there is a good chance it will be posted here for download:

Tons of other Wilco shows to download as well. Enjoy.

rainydaywomen420 starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/23/2009 10:43AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


lovely, having seen wilco several times i long for the day i will be fortunate enough to see jeff solo. This setlist is superb man, mountain bed wouldve had me tearin up with joy out the gate.

ImSetFree Mon 2/23/2009 03:43PM
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good stuff.

aquariumdrunk Mon 2/23/2009 07:13PM
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Like everything that happens everywhere with anybody these days, the "Fake Plastic Trees" cover is up on YouTube: If you click around, there's actually a better quality version from Champaign a couple weeks earlier on there too.

brooklynite84 Mon 2/23/2009 07:42PM
Show -9 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
aquariumdrunk Mon 2/23/2009 08:45PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Dude, it was a benefit show -- to raise money for a school.

cart Tue 2/24/2009 07:31AM
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Yeah brooklyn, it was a benefit show to raise money for scholarships for underprivileged kids that can't afford a private school education. The second nights money went to the Tweedy family synagogue and Kawasaki disease research. You should read a little bit before posting your crap. I paid $150 for the first night and would of happily paid $250. The show was fantastic. I paid $100 for the second night.

I had a bunch of video posted on YouTube from this show but Warner brothers made me take it down. Still some stuff up though, search around.

tomthumb86 starstarstarstar Tue 2/24/2009 05:45PM
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good article, but do we really think "simple twist of fate" was a "mystery" to the wilco crowd? Not to mention at a solo acoustic show. And how do you not mention a cover like "Fake Plastic Trees"? Perhaps it was a mystery, or you were taken by someone's business casual fashion sense and managed to space out durring that one.

brooklynite84 Tue 2/24/2009 07:24PM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
cart Wed 2/25/2009 11:18AM
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brooklyn you are clearly chemically imbalanced. Money going to charity is never a waste if you believe the cause and enjoy what you get in return. I hope you are never in the position to need something for others because karma is a b!tch. I can't believe there are people like you in this world. You should be ashamed of yourself.

gkwoodward Wed 2/25/2009 03:42PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Did anybody else notice this same exact article was posted on like three days before it was posted on Jambase...?

anywho...great piece, greater musician..

goldenleaflet starstarstarstarstar Sun 3/1/2009 08:42AM
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here's the fake plastic trees cover: