red lights


Glimmering gems

Jeff Tweedy
Pabst Theatre
Milwaukee, WI
Oct. 30, 2006
Jeff Tweedy Jeff Tweedy

Story and photos Matt Schwenke

Taking to the stage with six guitars, one amp and one mic, Jeff Tweedy stood alone under just three lights aimed slightly off to his side, went on to deliver a performance that made the most of the venue's superb acoustics and was thoroughly entertaining with a personable, double encore set at the Pabst Theatre that culled songs from his work in Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, Loose Fur and Golden Smog.

The intimate tone of the evening was set almost immediately when a fan asked Tweedy, "How's your foot?" Tweedy replied, "It's fine. How's yours? ...Is that a Milwaukee thing?" After determining through casual conversation that the fan was referring to Tweedy's appearance in a cast during Wilco's Summerfest show this past summer, Tweedy added "It wasn't for my foot, but that's none of your business."Jeff Tweedy Later in the show he said he would be replacing the obligatory and cliche concert question "How's everyone doing tonight?" with "How's your foot?"

Another intimate moment came during "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," in which Pat Sansone, from the opening act Autumn Defense, could just barely be heard playing the piano line to the song on his Steinway piano at the side of the stage. Stopping briefly, Tweedy looked genuinely surprised by the playing and Sansone seemed genuinely surprised Tweedy heard it, but as all great troubadors, Tweedy incorporated the incident into the show by urging Sansone to continue and, after the song, bowed to Sansone, whom most of the audience couldn't see, as if there was a ghost on the stage-- it was the night before Halloween after all.

And Tweedy was full of playful banter between songs, disclosing his Halloween costume ideas (Abraham Blingcoln-- "Abe but with bling on") and later admitting he had no setlist after one audience member yelled at fans calling out requests and told Tweedy to play whatever was on his list. "I don't have a list sir," replied Tweedy, before honoring the requests of some with the intricate plucking of 12-string guitar on "Bob Dylan's Beard" and the southern pace of "Screen Door." Yet when another fan called out for "Whats the World Got In Store," Tweedy merely replied, "I don't know."

The fan interaction continued mid-song with Tweedy politely teasing a couple in one of the front rows who arrived late by adding "glad you could make it" to the lyrics of "(was I) In Your Dreams." After the song, Tweedy jokingly gave the latecomers a quick recap of the first six songs and asked, "How's your foot?" Other notable moments included Tweedy thanking the crowd for adding backing vocals to "Someday Soon," chuckling after the girl at the back of the venue screamed on cue to the lyrics of "We've Been Had," and heckling the whoohooer in the crowd who, according to Tweedy, "whoohooed one time to many." To get his point across, Tweedy comically added his own "whoohoo" in performing "Walken."

Not sacrificing any quality of performance with the playful antics, Tweedy was spot on in the gritty tones of "Dreamer In My Dreams" and the whispery wanderings of a new tune being called "Be Patient With Me." Without the exploratory sounds of Wilco, an emphasis was automatically placed on the lyrics and song structure, and with lines like "I dreamed of you, hair on my pillow, like a weeping willow, cool breeze rolls through" from "Blasting Fonda" and the haunting textures found amongst the use of silence in "Sunken Treasure," Tweedy's sonic gems glimmered throughout the night in their raw form.

Jeff Tweedy setlist 10/30/06:
Someone Else's Song
Sunken Treasure
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Lost Love
Lullaby for Rafters and Dreams
The Ruling Class
(was I) In Your Dreams
Box Full of Letters
Blasting Fonda
Bob Dylan's Beard
We've Been Had
Someday Soon
be paitent with me
Radio King
Laminated Cat

Encore 1:

Dreamer In My Dreams
Jesus, etc.
What Light
Screen Door

Encore 2:

I'm The Man Who Loves You
Jeff Tweedy Jeff Tweedy

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