I’ve been to EVERY city and all other cities suck a little bit. Except Chicago.
Due to poor luck of a friend and a gracious invite/good luck for myself, I was able to attend the Rahm Emanuel fundraising event with none other than Jeff Tweedy. Although exhausted from a night up north in Wisconsin I hesitated for just a moment, immediately scolded myself for even thinking twice and said yes to what was sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime evening.
The fundraiser was at Park West, a venue near my apartment that I had always wanted to attend, but had yet to find a reason. I will now pay close attention to their lineup because the venue was great. Great space, fabulous dome ceiling, great sound and the ability to get up close and personal with the band which is what we did.
Opening was a band I was previously unfamiliar with, but who can thank Wilco for one of their top hits, a cover of I Am Trying to Break Your Heart – JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound. They played some great soul including their Wilco chart-topper, during which none other than Jeff Tweedy himself joined on stage.
Following JC Brooks and a short intermission Rahm took the stage to introduce Tweedy, “one of the greatest things to come out of Chicago.” Surrounded by guitars and looking slightly homeless-chic, Tweedy opened with a great rendition of Spiders and continued to impress from there.
Sharing a wonderful open rapport with the crowd, Tweedy joked about preparing (“Rahm Immanuel is way more prepared to be mayor than I am for this show”), his missteps while playing acoustic versions of Wilco favorites and sourcing the crowd for songs.
Although playing crowd pleasers including Jesus, Etc. and Heavy Metal Drummer which I do love, my favorites of the night included great versions of:
-Hummingbird – To be described as perfect imperfection
-New Madrid – complete with friendly boos from the crowd at the references to NYC
– I’m the Man Who Loves You – dedicated to his wife who was in the crowd
-Late Greats – Which was fumbled and unfinished only to be restarted and successfully completed. What spurred the reattempt? Why my own campaign working friend who called out a request for the song post-failed attempt that elicited a response from Tweedy himself and resulted in the song being finishing. Epic.
Overall it was a great end to a great weekend and will go down as one of my favorite Wilco/Jeff Tweedy moments. Chicago, I already loved you, but Rahm and Tweedy have only solidified that love even more.