Tweedy at the Englert Theater – Iowa City, IA – March 30, 2015
Published by JB on March 31, 2015
It’s not like Jeff Tweedy is all that hard to find. With what is at least his 3rd tour through Iowa in the past 40 months, he breaks the unwritten rule that sometimes too much of a good thing is simply, too much. Well, that’s the rule for record releases (when did we decide as a public consumer we can’t handle a new album more often than every 3 years?), but for live performances Mr. Tweedy rarely gets old.
Monday night’s show dragged on about 30 minutes too long but that didn’t stop Tweedy from being the man who loves you; comical, energetic, relentless and yet still enigmatic. The man under the white hat talks a lot, jokes a lot, plays a lot, sings a lot; but he’s still difficult to put a finger on. His prolific nature (despite no new Wilco material since 2011) is his calling card, as is his singing voice that sounds more and more like John Lennon every year. Listen to a few snippets of Tweedy’s Sukierae and you’ll swear he sounds more like John than Julian ever did. It’s becoming scary.
An hour into the show (in which Tweedy and his son Spencer lead a skilled 5 and 6-piece outfit) Mr. Tweedy clears the stage and does it solo for nearly 40 minutes – leading the crowd through an acoustic, hushed set of classic Wilco. Just when you thought he was good for five songs, he does about five more – each one garnering a larger crowd reaction than the first. Mindful of the $45 ticket price for a band with only one working album under their belt it was anticipated that the elder Tweedy would pull a few tricks out of his messy hairdo. The clincher was the early announcement from Jeff that this was essentially the final show of the tour. They soldiered through even the weakest tracks from Sukierae, but for every average track there were a few moments of new bliss; including a brilliant Neil Young cover thrown in for the sake of showing off. In Tweedy’s world, failure is simply not an option. He’s just too good.
Tweedy’s day job with Wilco is still his best gig (by far), but $45 to see the man reach out with 75 minutes of new material is a bargain. Seriously, how many times do you need to see him perform ‘Impossible Germany’?