Monday, April 25, 2011
This ain't no Lounge Ax, people
When the sixth Hotel S'n'S show happened at the end of last summer, we thought it could be the final one. The Tweedys had indicated that they might be taking a break from the private shows, at least for a year or two. But as it turned out, that didn't happen ... or it hasn't happened yet. In fact, we didn't even have to wait a whole year! Last Saturday found us back in Chicago, back in the basement for at least one encore performance.
What can I say about the S'n'S show? You can probably fill in for me at this point. The preshow potluck was in full effect, with my baklava making a return appearance after the 2010 break for pie pops. Dick didn't bring his meat this year, but he did provide some tasty wings. Cathy's Japanese curry was back, there was delicious crostini, dip, Alison's mac and cheese (the most anticipated part of every potluck), stuffed bread, brownies, ginger cupcakes, pizza, a fennel salad, gourmet cheeses, candied bacon, apple crisp ... and so much more. Oh, and beer. Pleeeenty of beer.
The atmosphere downstairs was cozy and relaxed. One of the advantages of an April show is that the basement doesn't turn into a sweat lodge in the absence of air conditioning. (August 28th, I'm looking at you.) We were just a bit toasty this time. During the show there were hilarious moments and poignant moments ... sometimes both at once. ("Wish You Were Here," I'm looking at you.) Jeff has been busy in the studio lately - in fact, he brought a couple of friends from the studio along to the show - which meant that he hadn't had a lot of free time to study up on songs. From the setlist, though, you'd never guess.
This year Jeff began the show himself, picking a song from the submitted list of requests. It was the old written-in-the-dressing-room-before-a-show classic, "This Ain't No Lounge Ax." To our vast entertainment, Jeff changed up the lyrics to fit our venue. From "people sitting on the stairs" to "this is Hotel S'n'S," it was a great nod to the nights we've spent at Sooz and Sam's place over the years. It was also a bittersweet, because I think everyone wishes Lounge Ax were still open.
The round robin requests began after the opening song, with a few tangents here and there, and the highlights came fast and furious. Here's an annotated setlist:
-This Ain't No Lounge Ax
-Corduroy Cutoff Girl ("I could only find hope in heists" - I never knew that line for sure before Saturday)
-At My Window Sad and Lonely (resonator guitar!)
-Casino Queen (I persist in thinking of it as the "ragtime version" which is probably horribly inaccurate, but oh well)
-Please Tell My Brother (silent audience during this song, even Zelda the pug)
-Summer Teeth (Zelda chimed in with barks at the end)
-new song - I Might (upbeat tune, contains the line "get well soon, everybody")
-Henry and the H-Bombs [Mott the Hoople]
-Cruel To Be Kind [Nick Lowe]
-More Like the Moon (I love those Spanish guitar parts)
-Happy Birthday to roommate Paul and Pam (crowd singalong)
-When You Wake Up Feeling Old (good timing after "Happy Birthday")
-You Are Not Alone
-Sixteen Blue (partial) [The Replacements]
-Please Be Patient With Me
-I'm a Wheel
-Wish You Were Here [Pink Floyd] (Kris owned those lead vocals)
-Ripple [The Grateful Dead] (everyone on lead vocals, iPhones out in force)
-A Magazine Called Sunset
-If That's Alright
-new song - Capital City (on the folkier side of things, may or may not make the new album)
-One By One
-Airline to Heaven (nearly Easter!)
-"Jeff Tweedy" is Playing at my House [LCD Soundsystem] (this was actually a jumble of "Losing My Edge," "The Message," and other rapping)
-Dreamer in My Dreams
The last two songs were group dance numbers. And group singing - do I even have to specify that part? After the traditional group photo, goodbyes, and donning of the silver-wrapped BK crown (not yet traditional, but it could be!), Jeff and Susan headed home. Plenty of us remained, singing and dancing and eating and laughing and playing guitar and banjo as the hours flew by. The sun was rising by the time I went to bed. (I resisted a "Shot in the Arm" quote there, guys.)
There were a few more members of our usual crew missing this year than there typically are - a combination of scheduling and financial crunches, and at least one future baby. It was a wonderful weekend, encompassing many more activities than I've mentioned here, but I won't pretend I didn't miss absent friends. My fondest wish, if there were to be another basement show in 2012, is that we'll all be together again.