View Full Version : 400 Bar - 8/8/03 - night 2

sacred roots
08-09-2003, 08:37 AM
Cross posted from Via Chicago. Great to see everyone at the second installment of the event of the season. Man, what a night -- even surpassed part 1 in many ways.


Here are some details while there still fresh. Very shortly I'm going to begin what is hopefully a very long sleep so i want to try and get as much out as i can. Apologies in advance for any errors; i'm runnin' on fumes right now.

Night 2 of the Golden Smog extravaganza at the 400 bar. Lot of the same players, a few new ones, but quite a different vibe. Things started out with some "mini sets" -- quiet and acoustic, sometimes solo. Later in the evening, things picked up significantly when the considerable power of "The Program" was unleashed, featuring songs by Kraig Johnson, David Poe, Neil Young, David Bowie, and, yes, Jeff Tweedy, too. Combine that with sterling sets earlier from Tweedy and Leona Ness, a surprise bit of history in the making right in the middle of the main "Program" set and you've got one you'll be telling your grandkids about. And that's not even taking into consideration the festivites of the previous evening, a night that by itself was pretty much off the hook.


* - opening David Poe acoustic set. solo at first, then slowly joined by Program members and Jessy Greene. Half dozen songs, including last year's best big-hit-that-never-was, "The Drifter."
* - Kraig Johnson acoustic set. First two songs with Jim Boquist and David Poe; last two with the Program and Jessy Greene. 3 superb new songs ("California," "Outta Town," and "Each and Every Day" for those keeping score), capped off with Neil Young's "Lotta Love," which he's been performing all summer.
* - Leona Ness set. Several songs with her drummer and keyboardist, who also happens to be in David Poe's NYC band. Very nice stuff.
* - Jeff Tweedy solo set. 7 songs, a bit over 25 minutes. Breathtaking good. Very intense and deliberate, nailing everything, almost completely muting the normally always very loud crowd noise in the 400. Opened with a solo version of "Late Greats" - a truly great brand new song debuted a month ago - that started things out on a high point, where they remained the whole set. Joined on 3 songs by Jessy Greene who, BTW, was one of many "secret weapons" of the two night stand. I thought her contributions almost always greatly improved the songs she played on. One of the songs Jessy played on was an extremely rare live performance of "Rhythm" that Jeff introduced by saying "here's a song that didn't make the last record." On the last 5 songs Jeff played a 12 string acoustic that sounded very good.

1. Late Greats
2. I'm the Man Who Loves You
3. Rhythm (aka Cars Can't Escape)
4. Box Full of Letters (major crowd singalong)
5. Be Not So Fearful (Bill Fay cover)
6. Pecan Pie (with Kraig and Danny Murphy helping out)
7. The Lonely 1 (Jessy faithfully reprising her beautiful "Being There" performance)

* - The Program set. One 90 minute wild train ride. Several Kraig songs, 4 David Poe songs, and 2 "surprise" guests, with the added bonus of Poe's / Ness' keyboardist helping out on piano, guitar and vocals. First bombshell -- and one of the biggest highlight of the whole 2 nights -- was Tweedy popping up smack in the middle of the Program set to play an awesome, spirited, emotional version of "New Madrid" with The Program backing and Jim Boquist picking up the Jay harmony part. What a historic moment, one that took a few minutes to sink in. Boquist and Tweedy go way back together, predating the point a few years ago when the were simultaneously members of supposedly "rival" bands. It's hard to describe just how cool it was to hear this wonderful performance of such a classic song.

The second bombshell was at the end of the main Program set when Jeff came back up for the Program showstopper, "Freight Train," an obscure cover that Kraig has totally made his own in the years since it first showed up in the Run Westy Run repertoire. Things were rocking so hard at this point that on-stage spontaneous combustion seemed possible. Jeff played an amazing lead on a song he probably had just learned 2 days before, and traded some vocal licks. Danny Murphy popped up for the encore during which the Program ripped through Neil Young's "Time Fades Away" and Bowie's "Five Years" (a classic Golden Smog cover during the 1996 heyday), which featured Dan on lead vocals.

I think that's most of the major highlights. What a fun, insane 2 nights of great music, and (mostly) great people, too. Definitely should make this some kind of annual event!

08-10-2003, 08:30 PM
I think it's high time you came out of
retirement and started writing again...


that version of "New Madrid" was one
of those once in a lifetime moments...