Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Nov 5th 2009 11:12AM by Stephen Dowling
So Spinner, who was there when Tweedy bullishly picked on a London crowd in 1997 for being too quiet and reserved, is delighted to report the frontman's sense of fun on a gloomy autumn night.
It was a first half coloured with Nels Cline's extraordinary guitar playing -- a fevered 'Bull Black Nova' and an 'Impossible Germany' which sounded like George Benson colliding with a freaked-out Neil Young. After keeping banter to a minimum, Tweedy came out of his shell. His goading of a packed HMV Forum was warm and light-hearted. "Was anyone at the Troxy show?" he asked, a reference to the gig the band played just a few months ago on Tweedy's 42nd birthay. "Happy birthday" an audience member yelled and the singer responded. 'Exactly. It was my birthday. And it's my birthday again tonight."
Though a rendition of 'Happy Birthday' never quite got going, Tweedy's mischievous side was quite clearly tweaked. He tried to make out the crowd the night before in Leeds had been much better singers before leading the crowd through a mass rendition of 'Jesus Etc.' "British People sing louder because of the Blitz," Tweedy deadpanned. "That's what we came up with last night."
After a 23-song set which took in most of the Chicago band's career, from 'A.M.'s 'Box Full Of Letters' to "Wilco (The Album)'s 'One Wing," the band looked ready to close the night with one more raucous blast from the past. But no. The house power was turned off. That left Tweedy, reluctant to leave the stage after a night which had clearly brought out his generous side, treating the crowd to an acoustic version of 'Being There's dustbowl ballad 'Someone Else's Song,' one last little hurrah before lights out.
Like we say, Mr Tweedy's having fun. Long may it continue.