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Jeff Tweedy, leader of the rock band Wilco has responded to the incident during the band's Monday night (October 16) show in Springfield, Mo., where he punched a male fan who had jumped onto the stage and approached him while performing.
Although we normally go WAY out of our way to avoid responding to things like this, we feel obligated to address some sensationalized stories about Monday night's Wilco show in Springfield, Missouri.
Here's a brief synopsis of what happened. It was clear fairly early on that security was a bit lax at the Shrine Mosque. We had decided in advance to not have a barricade in front of the stage (a mistake?) so the band and crowd could be as close together as possible. The band prefer it that way.
Fairly early in the set, there were a couple of people shoving and roughing up others in front of the stage. Jeff asked everyone to calm down and respect each other and when things did, the band resumed the set.
At the end of the main set, a woman sneaked up a back stairway and entered from a side stage door. Shortly thereafter she ran onto the stage and sat on the piano bench next to keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen while the band played "Poor Places." She was heavily intoxicated and was removed from the stage by several members of the band's crew.
As that situation was getting dealt with, another arose. During the first encore a young man jumped onto the stage and did the requisite salute to his pals. While we certainly do not encourage that kind of behavior, we were prepared to let it go, as he was, it seemed, heading back into the crowd. Just when it appeared he was walking off the stage he turned around and moved towards Jeff Tweedy from behind. Jeff did not see him approaching, but felt the guy's hands on his head. To this, Jeff reacted. As Jeff put it... "I really regret what happened last night. I wish it had gone another way... and I suspect had I felt safer on that stage, had security been doing a better job all night long, well things would have gone differently. He approached me from behind... and I reacted in defense to get him away. I didn't know what his intentions were... and I had to get him off of me. I'm sad that it happened at all."
Longtime Springfield resident Lou Whitney (owner of The Studio, record producer and bassist for the Skeletons/Morrels, Syd Straw, Steve Forbert, and others) was at the show. He put it this way. "Jeff shouldn't back off an inch on this one. I saw the whole damn thing... he reacted how anyone would when surprised by having someone invade their personal space -- a space that is supposed to be secure. The guy walked up behind him and grabbed him around his head. You couldn't tell if he was gonna kiss him, hug him or something else. And Jeff pushed him or hit him or whatever to get him away. Hell, under the circumstances, Mahatma Gandhi probably might have done the same thing."
From there the show continued normally. Nobody got hurt, a few people got scared, but it went on. The band played their entire set list (okay, they dropped a song... but that happens all the time) finished up their two encores and got on the bus and headed for West Virginia. Suffice to say... a good time was had by most.
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