Boulder music fans have a wide range of tastes and concert demeanors. That’s the only thing that explains the two very different Jeff Tweedy shows held at the Boulder Theater last weekend.
It was a concert-going, parallel universe, as crowds from the first night decided to be heckling allstars instead of concert viewers –and you could barely hear a pin drop at Tweedy’s second show.
Friday’s concert started off with a serious glitch. Tweedy launched into “Spiders” and the sound came off muffled and distorted. That’s when the audience revolt ensued.
The crowd in the back of the room was primarily made up of single, beer-slugging guys that checked out their cell phones more than they watched the show. This became the epi-center of the heckling — and the guys were more than happy to scream out “I hate the Cubs” while Tweedy sang “Via Chicago” — or yell comments out about stoned skiing and pot dispensaries.
Surprisingly, Tweedy kept his cool and rose to the occasion. He cranked out amazing versions of songs like “I’m the Man Who Loves You,” “Impossible Germany” and “California Stars.” Sure, he answered the crowd back and spouted off about his dislike for pot and Facebook, but I have to admire his fortitude for standing up to the rough crowd.
Actually, the only other time I saw a Boulder concert crowd get that vocal was during a Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds concert at Macky Auditorium. That college crowd was tame compared to these hecklers, as they only screamed out stuff about wanting to party with Matthews.
That’s why I had to go back for night two of Jeff Tweedy at the Boulder Theater. I almost thought he was going to bail out on playing Saturday’s concert.
Then, I remembered — Saturday is date night in Boulder. This audience was filled with cute couples, who shushed anyone who made a peep of noise. Tweedy did thank the crowd for not being as obnoxious as Friday’s show — and he explained that his rants about Facebook were all done in good fun.
The mellow date crowd inspired a quieter introspective set, so Tweedy pulled out songs like “Passenger Side,” “She’s a Jar” and “Sunken Treasure” for the audience. This time around, you could hear the musician’s emotive lyrics and intricate guitar stylings.
In the end which show was better?
Friday’s concert forced Tweedy to pull out all the stops and the music had a more dynamic range, but he did have to compete with the crowd. However, the crowd was more relaxed and you could really hear the songs at Saturday’s show.
In the end, I loved Friday’s choice of tunes and Saturday’s audience.
Here’s hoping that Tweedy — and Wilco — will want to re-visit Boulder in the future.