Last night, Jeff Tweedy closed out a 13-date solo tour at the Largo at the Coronet, an intimate 130-capacity venue in the heart of West Hollywood. With just 11 days to go in 2013, Tweedy made a strong case using his trademark banter along with rare b-sides and an encore of “hits,” for one of my favorite shows of the year. I’ve been a Wilco fan ever since 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot opened my eyes and guided me to their extensive catalog, especially 1996’s double-album Being There, which still ranks high on my list and is a go-to suggestion for anyone showing an interest in all things Tweedy.
The Wilco frontman hadn’t repeated a song all week long and was well aware of that fact, jokingly lamenting that this fourth and final night was going to suck because he was out of songs and we were getting the scraps. He continued the no-repeat mantra by opening with “Ashes Of American Flags” but finally double-dipped half way through the show with a performance of “Radio Cure”. This was a good thing in the grand scheme of things. Granted I love rarities and was secretly hoping for “Venus Stops the Train” and “A Magazine Called Sunset” but the sold-out crowd of 130 were ready to sing along to tunes like “Candyfloss”, “I’m Always in Love” and “Outtamind (Outtasite)” and it was a pleasure being a part of that.
Tweedy’s solo performances are usually heavy on banter and tonight would be no different. He brought back jokes from opener Jeff Garlin’s comedy act which included references to “Waffle House Pussy” and even heckled audience members, including one gentleman wearing an eye-patch. Tweedy, always the teacher, informed us that pirates wore eye-patches, not because they’ve lost an eye, but to better adapt to low-light situations. Tweedy’s faith and his apparent conversion to Judaism (his wife and two children are Jewish) was one of the comedy highlights, invoking him to state more than a few times, “I probably shouldn’t have told you that story” after mentioning he hired a mohel. Jeff also touched upon how much he appreciated The Largo’s strict No Photo/No Video policy, telling a story of how he’s tried implementing that at Wilco shows to no avail.
He performed songs that touched upon his entire career including A.M.’s “Box Full of Letters”, “Bob Dylan’s 49th Beard” which is included on an Australian EP from 2002 and “Sky Blue Sky” which I enjoyed acoustically more than the electric version released in 2007. Tweedy even turned to his other side-projects, as he often does, playing a great version of “Chinese Apple” by Loose Fur (Tweedy, Glenn Kotche, Jim O’Rourke) and Golden Smog’s “Pecan Pie.”
The show was over two hours long and went by far too quickly as most great ones seem to do. His connection and interaction to the audience is unmatched in the solo setting, offering quick-witted remarks, denying song requests with a wink, and yes, picking on a guy with an eye-patch. Somehow, someway it all works and you’re left wondering how each song and story he tells can come from just one man. I’ve always been jealous of those residing in Chicago as Tweedy often hosts a mini-solo tour each year. This time it was Los Angeles’ turn and he made the most of it. I encourage all of you to dive into Tweedy’s work and especially his main outlet Wilco who have built up a deep catalog of songs and built a reputation as one of the best live acts in the business.
Here’s the complete setlist Via Chicago:
12/19/13 – Largo at the Coronet, West Hollywood, CA:
Ashes Of American Flags
Please Be Patient With Me
When The Roses Bloom Again
Bob Dylan’s 49th Beard
Please Tell My Brother
One By One
Sky Blue Sky
No More Poetry
So Much Wine [The Handsome Family] Lost Love
Chinese Apple [Loose Fur] At Least That’s What You Said ->
I’m Always In Love
If That’s Alright
Box Full Of Letters
Give Back The Key To My Heart [Doug Sahm] Candyfloss
Pecan Pie [Golden Smog] Outta Mind (Outta Sight)
I’m The Man Who Loves You
Dreamer In My Dreams (w/o PA system)