Ok, I have a great story to tell, it is a long one, but its really good. So sit back, relax and enjoy.
It starts with Chris and I and our love for the band Wilco. We started listening to them at the beginning of our relationship about 7 yrs ago, and they had a huge impact on us. We saw their shows every chance we got, all over the country! Jeff Tweedy (the lead singer) also did some of his own solo shows which were always incredible. He is a one of a kind singer/songwriter who loves to banter with his audience. He is hilarious as much as he is soulful and his music has helped us through this incredibly awful time.
A month ago tickets went on sale for his solo show at the Calvin Theatre in Northhamton, MA. Chris managed to get us 2 single tickets in the orchestra, not together. I then had a brilliant idea- I will write to Jeff through his management company, and tell him our story.
I wrote an email, telling him a bit about us, the music, and about Silas. Silas even got to be at a Wilco show at Tanglewood this summer. I requested the song Jesus, Etc. to be played for us and for Silas, because it is just so perfect and we love it.
I received an email back immediately, telling us the the letter was being forwarded to Jeff and that he may or may not play it, but that they really appreciate hearing from their fans and were sorry for our loss. It was very sweet of them and we appreciated it so much. We then began thinking that he actually may play that song for us! Why not? If he read the letter, then he might do it. It was hard to not get my heart set on it, but I also had to be realistic, this guy is a rock star who gets tons of mail, he cannot possibly acquiesce to every request.
We got to the theatre and met our friends Andrea & Chris. They love Wilco, too, and once I told them about the letter, they had to be in there. Luckily, the first person they asked had 2 extras! We got in, had a drink and then found our seats. Now Chris and I did not have seats together but the one next to me was a open so Chris sat there for the moment. We kept waiting for that person to show up and take their seat. I was so nervous. I had no clue how this was going to go, was he going to sing the song? Mention us or Silas? Not play it at all? Ugh, it was all so nerve-racking. On top of that, I kept waiting for someone to kick Chris out of his seat.
The show started, Jeff played about 4 songs, said hi to the crowd, but didn’t really banter. The next song he played was our song, the one we requested. I’ve never heard it played with so much soul, and so much love. We felt it. We held hands and we took it all in. It was beautiful. You could not even hear a pin drop in that room, the energy was incredible. I knew he was thinking about Silas and playing it for us and for our beautiful son. Immediately he goes into another song- called One by One. I LOVE this song and almost requested this to be the one he played for us. How did he know?!!! Next up were 2 new songs and then after that he stopped and started talking to the crowd.
He leaned into the microphone and said, “Some of those songs, actually most of those songs, they are dedicated to Silas.”
I freaked out. I started crying and hyperventilating and couldn’t believe it. We were shocked, stunned, floored, just blown away. He took the time to sing not just the song we requested, but other songs, and picked them out special for us and for him. He was so serious up until this point, just completely into the music and nothing else. But once he declared this dedication to our baby, he relaxed, he let go and the show took a new turn. He began to banter with the crowd, telling anecdotes, taking requests, and really enjoying himself.
He gave everything to us and Silas for those first 8 songs. Yes, 8 songs!!! It was magic. That is the only way to describe it. In my letter, I also told him that our wedding song was California Stars. Later on in the show, he played that, too! He also played a cover of one of our favorite Radiohead songs. We didn’t even know he knew it!
The final piece of amazing-ness happened just before the first encore. The guy in front of us turned around and said “you two seem like big fans, and my brother is recording this so if you want, I can send you a copy.” We were stunned and so excited we would have a copy of this incredibly personal performance. Later on, at the end of the show Chris told him that the Silas dedication was for us. He couldn’t believe it. We received the link to the show today and listened to it on our drive back from the city. If you would like to hear it, you can download a zipped copy of the show here. (that link will break after a certain # of downloads, so if you miss it, drop a note in the comments or in an email and we will make sure you get it.)
We are so thankful that Jeff Tweedy took the time to think of us, to think of our son, and to play his gorgeous music for him and for us. We will never forget that night.