A Hot Concert

We attended a concert last night that was really hot – literally. It was quite a warm night in Chicago as my 14 year old daughter and her friend accompanied me to see Jeff Tweedy of Wilco in a free concert yesterday. We took the train, and I occupied myself on the ride looking for places alongside the tracks where I could live/survive if I was homeless. I can’t explain why I do that, but it’s just kind of my thing.

Anyway, on a more positive note, the concert was quite pleasant. And did I mention free? I figured it could go one of two ways. I thought Tweedy could just play lots of favorite Wilco songs, or he could play none. He chose the latter with the exception of “California Stars.” If you read down in the comments under that YouTube video, you will learn that the lyrics were unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics. A nice homage to Guthrie!

Here’s his full setlist from the show if interested. To get the full flavor of the concert, take a listen to “Evergreen,” the first song from the show. That’s the vibe I got from the show – a pleasant blend of folk, country, and rock. Here’s how another song looked and sounded in person.

Maybe one reason he didn’t roll out Wilco “hits” is because he doesn’t think they exist. He told a great story about that which I will try and recreate.

He said he was in Las Vegas and saw a show by Rod Stewart called Hits. He thought that if he ever played Vegas, his show would be called Hit, but he has no idea which song would even qualify as such. The audience yelled a few song titles, and he laughed at the mention of “Casino Queen,” a rockin’ good number that was my introduction to Wilco music many years ago. When I hear that song, I want to sit in the back of a pick-up truck and pop a Budweiser. Fortunately, I don’t hear it a lot.

Tweedy explained that while there may be a lot of love for his music, sales numbers suggest otherwise. Wilco has one (barely) gold record, their masterpiece Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. But as I looked at him on stage playing his songs with his two sons and other friends from the Chicago area, I couldn’t help but think that he’s a much bigger success than he is willing to admit. We’re lucky to have a talent like Tweedy from downstate Belleville, Illinois decide to make Chicago his home.

Finally, there was a guy in front of us wearing a Wilco tour t-shirt from 10 years ago. I couldn’t help but notice a show date that my wife and I attended.

It was a good show with Andrew Bird as the opening act. I am normally not a huge fan of Bird, but his latest release sounds good to me. After 10 years, it finally dawned on me. That concert could have been billed as the Tweedy Bird Show.


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