Jeff Tweedy– The Gov – Tuesday 28 May 2019
Words Geoff Jenke
For a man who promised “totally sadness upon everyone in the room”, Jeff Tweedy is in a happy place. Jeff’s “daytime band”, Wilco, have never played Adelaide so it was great news when the solo tour dates included this city. And well done to Adelaide people for supporting the show. Not quite sold out but The Gov was relatively full.
Adelaide’s own Jen Cloher played a brief set to a captive audience. Jen has been in Jeff Tweedy’s recording Loft to make her new album, out later this year, so is part of the Jeff Tweedy family. She only had time for a few tunes but we got the song Fear Is Like a Forrest, “covered by Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett, but I thought I would play you the original version”. Also, a song about an old video game she played when she was ten,Galactia, which was accompanied by a lovely funny story playing it with St Peter’s High School boys back in the 1980’s. Strong Womanfinished a wonderful set. Lookout for her new album and tour later in the year.
Jeff Tweedy strolls out on stage, already strumming his guitar. One man, one unplugged guitar and 2 white spot lights is the order for the night. By the time he reaches the microphone he is already into Via Chicagofrom Wilco’s Summerteethalbum. The sound is crystal clear, with just one microphone for his voice and one for his guitar. The audience were quiet, soaking in the lyrics. You could hear a pin drop or as was the case, a plastic glass falls from a table, all evening, during the songs.
With no break, Jeff was into Remember the Mountain Bed from Mermaid Ave #2 album and then a double helping from his 2018 solo album Warm. When Jeff started to talk, the floodgates opened. “I was told by someone interstate that I was uneducated’ he smiled. If Jeff’s career as a musician was to fail, he could become a comedian, such was his quick funny replies to comments and song requests yelled out to him. “Nope, Nope” he says to people yelling out songs at one stage. “I have the program here” he said waving the set list “wait and see what I play and then go home disappointed”.
During the evening we got a couple of Uncle Tupelo songs in New Madrid and Acuff-Rose, lots of Wilco songs (including I Am Trying To break Your Heart, Impossible Germany, Theologians, I’m the Man Who Loves You), a large selection from his 2018 album Warmand a couple from his new album Warmer.
When he told the audience “the Crows are my favourite team” and quite a few boo’s resonated throughout the room he come back with “Was my intel wrong?”
“I am going to play a song and you can sing along to it. It’s a brand-new song about the end of the world” he says smiling before launching into Let’s Go Rainfrom his solo album Warm. When required the audience sing-a-long was subdued, in respect to Jeff’s great voice but he told us we were the best sing-a-long audience and that “Melbourne couldn’t carry a tune if it had a handle”
Before a Wilco song, Jeff told us he was “going to play all the hits, well the hit” and when one wag sung out “I have bought all your albums” Jeff comes back with “you’re only one person. You didn’t tell your mates”.
The show was one I have been hanging out for and it delivered more than I expected. Full marks to the audience for being respectful. It was the quietest I have ever heard The Gov, no one was talking during the songs and hardly anyone using their phone.
Jeff appeared relaxed and having fun, enjoying the evening as much as we were. So, did I go home with any disappointments? Jeff told us he has 400 songs and can’t play them all. Yes, I would have liked to hear Heavy Metal Drummer, California Stars andMisunderstood,but disappointed? No.
Hopefully he will be back soon with the band Wilco and play Adelaide.