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flag US - Illinois - Full Moon 66 - 02/27/02

Jeff Tweedy
Tanzhalle St. Pauli, Hamburg, Germany, 21.2.2002

Master at work

While everybody around the globe seems to agree, that the new saviour of Rock'N'Roll and sole legitimate successor to Bob Dylan's throne is Ryan Adams, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy took to the (tiny) stage at the Tanzhalle St. Pauli, just a stone-throw away from the city's famous Red Light district, the Reeperbahn, looking a lot like Dylan (hunched over his guitar with the same scruffy hair), sang like Dylan (no wonder his voice was a bit rusty after all the talking to journalists the days before!), talked as much as Dylan (basically not at all!) and delivered almost a dozen of songs that no doubt would've made Dylan proud as well. But while all this would be headline news for somebody like Ryan Adams, for Jeff Tweedy it's just another show. It's just what he does.

concertpic He knows what suits him and what he wants and sometimes that can get him in trouble. Refusing to add a potential hit single to Wilcos fourth album, Jeff and his gang got in big trouble with their record label and their much-delayed record Yankee Hotel Foxtrot will now be released on a different label in late April, more than a year after it was finished. In typical fashion, Jeff also opened this showcase in front of invited guests from the media and the label, designed to promote the new album, with a new song NOT on the disc. "If Not For The Season" seemed to fit right in with the sceptical look on Jeff's face. The record industry crowd loved him though and so by the time he started the second song, he looked a bit more relaxed. "Sunken Treasure", from Wilco's amazing second album Being There sounded a lot more folky in the solo version, with some nice finger picking from Jeff and a heartbreaking harp solo, that won over even the least interested members of the press who only showed up to enjoy the free drinks the record company had supplied.

That the songs from the upcoming album are every bit as good as the older ones, was proved by "Reservations", possibly the highlight of Jeff's short set and the unusually bluesy "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" (there you got your hit single, record company folks!). Funnily enough Jeff felt the urge to show the crowd what the second guitar usually does on that song, as if his solo rendition wouldn't have been nice enough! "Please imagine that on the song as well," he said (or words to that effect).

concertpic "I'm The Man Who Loves You" sounded very much like Dylan, and during the closing "Heavy Metal Drummers" he seemed to enjoy himself the most, changing the line "playing Kiss covers" to "playing Scorpions covers" and - with a little help from the audience - to "playing Bonfire covers", thus proving his knowledge of the German hard rock scene. "Sorry, I can't do more without my band right now," was his excuse to leave the stage after 45 minutes, but he came back for two encores, including "Private Beach In Michigan", yet another beautiful new song, and one he apparently only played once before! Despite the short encore the only complaint about the excellent show was that it was entirely too short! But then again, Jeff will be back with his band in May, playing a full European tour and that's surely an event not to be missed!

[Setlist: "If Not For The Sesaon", "Sunken Treasure", "Reservations", "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart", "I'm The Man Who Loves You", "She's A Jar", "Ashes Of American Flags", "War On War", and "Heavy Metal Drummers". Encore: "Private Beach In Michigan" and "Shot In The Arm".]

Copyright © 2002 Carsten Wohlfeld (photos also) e-mail address

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