It’s impossible for me to write anything about Sunday night’s event without getting at least a little bit political. I’ll keep it brief so as to not offend anyone here that maybe disagrees with my stance (but really, if you don’t agree with my stance on Rahm, you probably don’t agree with my stance on music, either).
I don’t think that I’ve been sanctioned to do this, but Eric can put me on suspension or something if he disagrees. Rahm Emanuel is getting the Chicago Tunes endorsement one way or another. His vision for the city is one that I agree with wholeheartedly. I don’t think the idea of a better, more equal education system is against the wishes of anyone except the ridiculously wealthy white population in Chicago that don’t want their kids in the same classrooms with the poor kids. Lucky for them, their rich, so they can pay for private school. I also find it hard to believe that there is anyone out there who thinks more police on the street, or an extension of the El lines is going to be bad for Chicago.
If you don’t like the guy personally, that’s fine. Everyone knows he can be kind of an asshole. It’s one of the reasons I love him. I also love him for the same reasons I loved Obama in ’08 (and still do today) and the same reasons I love music. I find him very inspiring. He believes in this city more than anything. He thinks Chicago is a great city that should be known as the GREATEST city, and he won’t stop until that is fact. I find it very easy to admire someone who feels that deeply for an idea.
The event itself was a helluva good time. It was freezing outside and we got there a little early. Surprisingly, most people did not arrive early. That meant we were able to stand in the foyer at Park West. Thank god.
Once inside we had an hour to kill before JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound came on, so I spent most of it reading the fake Rahm Emanuel twitter account. If you haven’t read it, you must. Freaking hilarious stuff on there constantly.
The lights eventually dimmed, and out came the Uptown Sound. I always find it funny that so many soul/funk bands are mostly white guys with a black frontman/woman. I don’t know why I find it so funny, but I do.
I’ve never been a huge fan of JC Brooks. There’s something about him that rubs me the wrong way. That said, his band is amazing. They put on a great, very fun show. I think my problem with JC is that he thinks his voice is better than it is. This is never more evident than when he tried to pay tribute to the legend, Otis Redding, by singing “I’ve Been Loving You.” JC is much more suited to do a song like “Respect” or “Security.”
The final thing that bothers me about JC is his dancing. I feel like he’s got James Brown’s soul stuck in Carlton Banks’ body. He has a good time up there, though, so I won’t begrudge him his dancing. And the crowd seems to eat it up, so more power to him.
The first time I heard JC Brooks cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” I threw up a little in my mouth. I saw it on YouTube when a friend told me I needed to check it out. I didn’t talk to that friend for three months after that recommendation. However, at the fundraiser, I found it to be a little better. That was because after the first verse Mr. Jeff Tweedy came out to join JC in singing the song. Hearing Jeff sing the song with some changed up dynamics was interesting, and integrating a little “Theologians” into the tune was a great touch.
After JC finished up, Rahm came out to speak. He was very brief, under 10 minutes. Basically he said this (and I’m paraphrasing here): “Chicago is the greatest city in the world, because it has the greatest people in the world.”
I thought about that for a minute, and it dawned on me that he’s probably correct. I’ve been to enough major cities in my life to get a feeling for a lot of the people that live in the world. For the most part, they are douchebags and jerkoffs that wouldn’t stop to give a man dying of thirst a sip of 4 loko. I get a different feeling in Chicago. It’s a community here, and we are all in this together.
Rahm introduced Jeff Tweedy and Wilco as being Chicago’s gift to the world. On this statement we are in complete agreement once again.
Jeff led off the set with “Spiders (Kidsmoke),” which was, I thought, a very odd choice. On record, the song is a sprawling 10-minute ball of fuzz-guitars and driving bass. He did it justice on his own with just an acoustic guitar.
Then he played a new song that will be featured on the next Wilco record. It was a beautiful song with lyrics like (and I’m paraphrasing again): “I wanna be the one that opens your mind.” I find that to be a gorgeous sentiment, and can’t wait to hear the rest of the new record. It sounds like more of a return to pre-YHF Americana, but the version was just him on a guitar, which kind of makes everything sound that way.
Without smiling too much, Jeff Tweedy comes off affable on stage. He seems to talk more now than he did when we first saw Wilco. He had a lot of funny banter with the audience, especially a couple of hilarious moments when he asked if there were any requests. People were yelling tunes out that would be impossible for him to play acoustically by himself, which led to Jeff saying, “You guys keep yelling stuff, I’m just gonna play what’s on my list.”
There was a aborted version of “Late Greats” where Jeff couldn’t get the piano part quite right on his guitar. He played a different song, and then afterward someone shouted “Late Greats.” He played an abbreviated version of the song, but got the ending right and described it as a lesson for the kids in the audience to stick with it, even when you fail.
Other tunes he played included: “Walken,” “Hummingbird,” “New Madrid,” “Heavy Metal Drummer,” and “I’m The Man Who Loves You,” which he dedicated to his wife in a very sweet and funny moment where he referred to her as the Executive Branch of their family, and the Judicial Branch.
This fundraiser was a great party. I can’t wait to see what kind of event Rahm puts together for the inaugural gala after he wins the election in a few weeks.
- To donate money or volunteer for Rahm’s campaign, head over to his website.
- Wilco’s new album, still untitled, is supposedly coming in late 2011 on their new label, dBpm.