There is a short list of bands touring at the moment who are putting on an incredible show night after night and My Morning Jacket is without doubt on this elite list. With a catalog of music a mile long, a rabid fan base, crazy talent and a stellar new album, MMJ seems to have the recipe of live show success all locked up. Having seen the band on their Circuital tour I was excited to hear the setlist they would bring to the table a year later, and the boys did not disappoint.
A more than perfect summer evening at Merriweather Post Pavilion opened up with the always solid Band of Horses. Although I prefer seeing this band when they headline, their melodic rock and spot on vocals do a great job of setting the tone at a MMJ show. The high point of any BOH show always comes when they play “The Funeral,” but this show also featured Ben Bridwell’s incredibly adorable 4 year old daughter running to her father on stage wearing bright pink headphones. Bridwell was obviously touched by this more-than-sweet moment and later sang “For Annabelle” with her in his arms. After a rather short set where the band only played one new song off their soon-to-be released album (unfortunately not “Knock, Knock”) they ended with Them Two cover “Am I A Good Man ” and made a, in my opinion, far too hasty exit.
My Morning Jacket stepped on stage in their usual dapper attire, Jim James rocking a rather fashionable blue cape right from the start, signifying this would be a special evening. The band then spent the next 3 hours attempting to melt the face of every person in attendance that night, and most likely succeeding in most cases. With incredible energy and showmanship right out of the gate there wasn’t a dull moment to be had. “Anytime” was thrown in early to get things going, “Lay Low’s” guitar solo blew me away and deep cuts like “I Think I’m Going to Hell” and “O is One That is Real” had even the most faithful fans feeling satisfied halfway through the setlist. But the band didn’t stop there, we were treated to an epic medley of “Cobra” into “Run Thru” into “Cobra” again right before they played fan favorite “Phone Went West.” When the band exited the stage for the first time the person next to me practically put his hands in his pockets proclaiming “they will play of at least another 45 minutes,” and he was right. Kicking it off with an acoustic “Bermuda Highway” and a pitch perfect rendition of “Wonderful” featuring Ben Bridwell, the boys played 7 more songs total. Always ones to end on a high note the show was wrapped up with Band of Horses (including both of Ben Bridwell’s daughters in pink headphones) and MMJ on stage playing The Clash cover “Rock the Casbah” and of course, last but not least, “One Big Holiday.”
Honestly, the only thing I can say to describe Saturday evening is wow. I enjoyed this show so much that at times (probably somewhere between “Lay Low” and “The Way That He Sings”) I found myself wondering if Merriweather Post Pavilion was the greatest place on earth to be at that moment. This being my third MMJ show (which pales in comparison to the people around me who had seen them 25 times) it was exactly the experience I was looking for from this band. An incredible setlist pickled with deep cuts, surprises, theatricality, amazing drum fills and killer guitar riffs, I’m already wondering when I can see them next.
UPDATE – A high quality fee download of this show is now available for download over at The Steam Engine. Check it out!