When Jeff Tweedy opened the second show of his sold-out two-night stand at the Boulder Theater with "Sunken Treasure," the venue was amazingly quiet except for a few cheers during high points of the song. With an achingly stunning take on the Wilco tune from Being There, the Wilco frontman immediately captivated pretty much everyone in the venue, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
The audience was just attentive through equally gorgeous renderings of "Remember the Mountain Bed" and Uncle Tupelo's "Wait Up." Tweedy told the crowd, "I can tell already you guys are so much better than last night's audience." There had been reports of Friday night's crowd being much more boisterous.
The show was captivating enough with "How to Fight Loneliness" -- which Tweedy ended with a live fade, saying it was "kind of the sonic equivalent of pretending you're walking down the stairs behind the couch"-- "I'll Fight" and the bouncy "Someday, Some Morning, Sometime." But after "Not for the Season," Tweedy asked the folks in the crowd if they were booing. "I can take it," Tweedy said. "People don't boo as much as they used to. Fine, that's how you want to play it. Boo you as an audience. Suck!" A moment later, he joked, "Don't try to talk about my mom."
"Actually, it'll be kind of fun if you just booed me after every song," Tweedy said. After some people booed, Tweedy joked, "Yeah, try it. We'll see how long this show is."
During "You and I," the theater went completely silent again, but after the tune, some folks applauded and whistled, while others, heeding Tweedy's words, booed. But the singer took it like a champ, clasped his hands over his head like a boxer after winning a fight and said, "I feel like Andy Kaufman when he became a wrestler -- an arcane reference lost on younger viewers."
While the crowd essentially stayed quiet during the songs, some people seemed to get increasingly punch drunk as the night went on. After "She's a Jar," a guy yelled, "Boulder sucks!" which garnered more boos.
"Everywhere sucks," Tweedy chimed in. "Everywhere sucks a little bit. Everywhere is pretty cool. It's pretty hard to suck when you got mountains. You gotta really, really fuck shit up if you got mountains.
"There are probably a lot of people here that would disagree, because you have mountains and pot's legal," he added. "I don't like pot. I talked about it last night. Pot's stupid. But you can get high and look at the mountains. And that should ease any suffering that this place might inflict upon you."
A lot of things Tweedy said Saturday could have been construed as jokes. The guy likes to kid. As he said later on in the show, "people don't know I'm kidding most of the time."
Somehow, all the in-between chanter and banter didn't detract from Tweedy delivering a completely memorable show, running through a number of songs from Summerteeth and Being There, which made up nearly half the set, as well as delving into cuts from A.M. Sky Blue Sky and A Ghost Is Born, even pulling out the Golden Smog tune "Radio King."
After closing the set with a damn fine take of "Passenger Side" and a standing ovation, Tweedy came back for a five-song encore that ended with Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees," with Tweedy's voice cracking slightly at points, and ended the hour-and-45-minute set by stepping out to the front of the stage and doing a chugging, unplugged and unmiked take of "Dreamer in My Dreams."
Click through for Critic's Notebook and Setlist
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: While Jeff Tweedy is the consummate frontman for Wilco, his solo shows, which are entirely different experiences, can be just as captivating. Random Detail: Tweedy supposedly played an entirely different set list from Friday night's. By the Way: Chicago-based trio the Handsome Family opened the night with a damn fine set of alt country tunes.
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Jeff Tweedy 01.08.10 | Boulder Theater
Sunken Treasure Remember the Mountain Bed Wait Up How to Fight Loneliness I'll Fight Someday, Some Morning, Sometime Not for the Season You and I She's a Jar Either Way Summer Teeth I Must Be High Theologians Radio King Forget the Flowers ELT Passenger Side
Red-Eyed and Blue I Got You (At the End of the Century) Heavy Metal Drummer Fake Plastic Trees Dreamer in My Dreams