My Morning Jacket at Red Rocks 8.4.2011

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:: My Morning Jacket ::

:: Red Rocks Amphitheatre :: August 4, 2011 ::

By Brian F. Johnson

For the second straight night, it looked like Red Rocks was going to be a rainy undertaking. But like the night before, Thursday evening’s skies cleared before the lights went down and provided a picture-perfect night for music on the Rocks.

The show hadn’t sold out, but you couldn’t tell that from the parking lot, or the seating area. It seemed almost claustrophobic where we were — too packed to move around much, but as the band took to the stage, the little annoyance of real estate subsided.

One of my favorite parts of My Morning Jacket’s latest album Circuital is the heavy low end that it brings. “Victory Dance,” which starts the album also started the set, and the heavy bass that hits at about the minute mark sounded phenomenal.

Mirroring the album, the band flowed into “Circuital” — which is what I was expecting. I thought the night would be filled with tracks off the latest CD, and while they played a lot of material from Circuital (seven out of the album’s 10 tracks) the band did a great job of interspersing the tracks with other songs, so it didn’t sound like a new album setlist. It didn’t hurt that the Jacket packed 23 songs into the night.

Jim James commanded the stage throughout the two-and-a-half plus hour set. Jumping from left to right and coming way out in front of his monitors to get right up and close with the audience.  Lead guitarist Carl Broemel followed suit, also using a huge swath of the stage. At on point during “Circuital” the two met at mid stage and pushed against each other’s shoulder while playing in an obvious display of how much fun they were having. And that’s the key to the Jacket. Fun.

Formed in 1998 the band has achieved a pretty astounding level of success, but whether it’s a Red Rocks gig, a mega festival, or a televised appearance, the band still seems to be experiencing all of those events with virgin eyes. They don’t have any rock and roll swagger or arrogance. They may be a bit older, but they almost seem still like the teenagers who only dream of playing these gigs, and I think that magic and that excitement is why the band is conitnuing to pull down new fans with each passing year and album.

The only flaw of the entire evening came during “Mahgeetah,” when a guitar tech changing a strong on James’ Flying V, forgot to turn off the monitor. As the band started getting further into the song, odd notes came blasting from the PA until a sound engineer eventually ran over and let the guy know the faux pas he was making.

But minor human error aside, the show was incredible — one of the best Red Rocks shows of the summer.

 

Set list:
Victory Dance 
Circuital 
Off The Record 
I'm Amazed 
Gideon 
Lay Low 
Outta My System 
Wonderful (The Way I Feel) 
The Bear 
Steam Engine 
First Light 
Honest Man 
Slow Slow Tune 
Dondante 
Smokin From Shootin 
Run Thru 
(End Only)
Strangulation! 
Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt. 2 
Mahgeetah 
Encore:
Wordless Chorus 
Holdin' On to Black Metal 
Anytime 
One Big Holiday

 

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