Advertised as a holiday show, the folk duo The Weepies started their tour at The Cedar Cultural Club last night. But as Weepies co-leader Steve Tannen shared, don’t expect to hear “Jingle Bells.”
The purpose of the tour was to get out, see some friends, and not feel so isolated. They shared personal stories about living in Iowa throughout the 19-song set. Steve had just purchased a hammer from outside Iowa City and found that, as one audience member shouted, “Iowa has the best hammers.” Deb prefaced her song “Growing Up” by blaming Lin-Manuel Miranda for her Hamilton-style lyrics. They each took turns at the piano, keeping an audience Chopin joke running. My favorite moment was when they suggested that we all need to look each other in the eyes more. That sentiment reiterated the reason for the tour.
The sold-out venue brimmed with watchful eyes as Deb Talan and Steve Tannen weaved through their catalog, including their Swedish top streaming song, “Crooked Smile”. They shared that although Steve sings lead on the recorded version of “Red Red Rose”, Deb is the far better fit when they started performing it live. We also heard their one Christmas song (“All That I Want”) toward the end as a nod to the season. All five of their albums were well-represented in the set.
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@theweepies in concert (again). A great time to reflect on 2018. Everything it was, wasn't, and everything in between. Someday, I'll put it in words…but for now, this will do. . So it goes, though no one knows you like they used to do Have a drink the sky is sinking toward a deeper blue And you're still all right Step out into twilight
I sat next to a gentleman who had never seen them before. A single song he heard on XM radio drew him in. He had asked the band through social media if they could play a stripped down version of “Be My Thrill”. After 18 songs and 85 minutes of waiting, he got his wish. Overjoyed, he told me they must have read his request. The feeling that you’re being heard is so important in live shows. It’s the reason why we attend, why we wait, and why we listen. The value of hearing your favorite song, played live, quite possibly only once in your life, is the rabbit we chase.
The Weepies exude love, acceptance, respect, and everything a married couple finds endearing. They smile while looking at each other, laugh while re-hashing stories, and show the audience a perfect example of partnership. It’s a message we need while feeling isolated this winter season. The holidays are about coming together. As Steve shared, we all need to get out to enjoy live music.
To read about their last tour through the Twin Cities, click here.