Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy didn't go overboard with preparation. In the true spirit of rock and roll, he walked out in front of a large audience and let it rip. The crowd, sensing the moment, roared its approval.
Of course, this wasn't a musical performance.
Tweedy threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Brewers' game against Cincinnati Monday night at Miller Park. In the top of the third inning, he visited the home TV booth, where he visited with play-by-play announcer / music fan Brian Anderson and analyst Bill Schroeder.
"That's the first pitch I've thrown since I threw out the first pitch at Wrigley (Field before a Cubs home game) last year," said Tweedy, who grew up a Cardinals fan in southern Illinois but sported a Brewers hat Monday. "I just went out there and chucked it. I threw it probably harder than I needed to. I didn't want it to be in the dirt.
"I'm going to be the only person that ever has rotator cuff surgery from throwing out first pitches."
Tweedy and his bandmates will make a "first pitch" of a different sort tonight. With support from A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Wilco opens its 2009 tour with the first of two sold-out shows at The Pabst Theater.
"It's one of our favorite venues," Tweedy told the Brewers' TV audience, referring to The Pabst. "It's a beautiful, beautiful place. Everybody in Wilco has different side projects or (is) in other bands (to) play music or make their own records. The Pabst Theater is the only theater in the world where we have all played individually, but never together as a band."
Wilco, which has won a reputation for putting on blistering live shows, will offer a Webcast of the Wednesday night show at the band's site, wilcoworld.net.
While the band's still-untitled new CD will be released later this summer, a new concert DVD / documentary, "Ashes of American Flags," hits stores on Saturday. The title comes from a song on the band's 2002 release, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."
"For some reason, it just fit with the thematic scope of the DVD we just did," Tweedy said of "Ashes," which was directed by Christoph Green and Fugazi's Brendan Canty.
"We played a lot of places that have seen better times and are struggling to get along and a lot of historical venues that are kind of falling apart and aren't seeing the same amount of love they once saw. That kind of fit in."
Asked what kind of show fans could expect, Tweedy said: "A nice, fun, loose rock and roll show, probably."
With help from the band's Web site, here is a tentative track listing for the new album, a rundown of dates for the tour and the trailer for "Ashes of American Flags":
Conscript (aka I'll Fight)
Wilco (the song)
Bull Black Nova
You and I
April 14: Milwaukee -- Pabst Theater
April 15: Milwaukee -- Pabst Theater
April 16: Bloomington, Ind. -- IU Auditorium
April 17: Athens, Ohio -- Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium
April 18: Knoxville -- Tennessee Theatre
April 20: Athens, Ga. -- Classic Center
April 21: Asheville, NC -- Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
April 22: Birmingham, Ala. -- Sloss Furnaces
April 23: Oxford, Miss. -- Lyric Oxford
April 25: New Orleans -- New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
May 23: Tenerife, Spain -- Tenerife Auditorium
May 25: Malaga, Spain -- Teatro Cervantes
May 26: Madrid, Spain -- Teatro Calderon
May 27: Granada, Spain -- Congress Palace
May 29: Seville, Spain -- Territorios Festival-La Cartuja
May 30: Oporto-Braga, Portugal -- Teatro Circo
May 31: Lisbon, Portugalo -- Lisbon Coliseu
June 1: Santiago De Compostela-Galicia, Spain -- Palacio De Congresos, Sala Braque
June 3: Donostia, San Sebastian, Spain -- Kursaal
June 4: Barcelona, Spain -- Auditori Barcelona
June 11: Manchester, Tenn. -- Bonnaroo
June 27: Berkeley, Calif. -- Greek Theater
June 28: Stateline, Nevada -- Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena
June 30: Jacksonville, Ore. -- Britt Pavilion
July 22: Detroit Lakes, Minn. -- 10,000 Lakes Festival
Aug. 13: Oslo, Norway -- Oya Festival
Aug.14: Gothenberg, Sweden -- Way Out West Festival
Aug. 21: Erfurt-Hohenfelden, Germany -- Highfield Festival
Aug. 23: Brecon Beacons, UK -- Green Man Festival
A Hawk And A Hacksaw supports April 14-23
Akron/Family supports May 25-27
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.