It seems like I have been on a huge My Morning Jacket kick since I first saw them at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2003. Then, their epic performance in the pouring rain the following year made me a real die hard fan. They seemed to etch their names into fame through the Bonnaroo vehicle as ten of thousands of fans have grown to love the Louisville, Kentucky rock band. During their set this past summer at Bonnaroo, they played for almost four hours starting at midnight, and they had special guests Kirk Hammett of Metallica, comedian Zach Galifianakis, and the Nashville-Louisville horns join in on the fun. Their sound is so pure, honest, and heavy. That is what turns on their fans. I became inspired to write this review of their Philadelphia show after I recently heard the news of Jim James' release from an Iowa City hospital after a tumble off stage, which brought upon head and torso injuries. The show had to be canceled, but drummer Patrick Hallahan promised the crowd that they'd make it up to them, and I'm sure they will after seeing what I saw at the Indian summer show in Philadelphia.
We got to the venue just in time as the band went on stage at exactly the time on the ticket dictated. The crowd near the entrance heard that familiar song that the sound man always plays before the band takes the stage. I don't know what it's called, but it has a certain excitable sound to it, which made the crowd scatter like mice toward the stage. Then, they opened with "Anytime." Front man Jim James is a showman, and on this night he did not disappoint. The crowd was rather large for a late summer show on Penn's Landing, and it seemed like people came from far and wide to see this event.
Most of the band's songs came from their two newest albums Evil Urges and Z, which is my personal favorite. Even though Evil Urges was met with mixed reviews from MMJ's fan base, when they play that album live I think everyone agrees that the album rocks.
It was a very humid night sandwiched in the crowd until the beautiful sunset finally went down over the Delaware River. The crowd was also very appreciative of the cool, tiny sprinkle of rain that came as the band rocked "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 2." At almost the exact time, fireworks colored the sky coming from the minor league baseball stadium in Camden. James said that he loved the crowd on this night, and his energy was apparent throughout the show. He even played peek-a-boo with the crowd before "Wordless Chorus." The show peaked in the second set after one my favorite classic songs "One Big Holiday." It seemed like the show took a turn toward the funky as opposed to the straight ahead rock of the first set. The lights were amazing as well, especially mixed with the fireworks. They seemed to be uncannily matched. The lights were reminiscent of the band's 2006 DVD entitled Okonokos, which is a must see.
On the way out of the venue, of course I had to grab the amazing poster of the show. It's one of the better posters that I've found at concerts lately. The pleased crowd gathered at the merchandise table, and walked off along the river sharing tales of My Morning Jacket.