My Morning Jacket | The Fillmore | 5/28/2024

Article Contributed by Gabriel David Barkin | Published on Thursday, May 30, 2024

The hottest tickets in San Francisco this week were for My Morning Jacket's four-night run at The Fillmore. Currently on tour playing amphitheaters and music festivals, the Kentucky-based quintet drew fans from far and wide for this special and relatively intimate event, with a promise of no repeats and a guarantee of serious shreds.

Carl Broemel | My Morning Jacket

The legendary club was packed to the gills on Tuesday night by the time My Morning Jacket (MMJ) took the stage for the second outing of the run. Matty from Dallas, on his first trip to the City by the Bay, was front and center. Some dude who flew in from Japan stood nearby. A photographer who joined me (and a slew of others) in the photo pit came all the way from the exotic land of Chicago.

My Morning Jacket | The Fillmore

Was it worth the journey? Judging by the thunderous reception throughout the two-hour and twenty-minute set, the answer is an emphatic YES!

The stage was adorned with potted trees on the sides and a jungle of vines hanging from the lighting rig, contributing to MMJ's moody, backwoods aural ambiance. The obligatory smoke machine added slightly to the fog of marijuana drifting toward the stage from the crowd.

My Morning Jacket | San Francisco, CA

MMJ (vocalist/guitarist Jim James, bassist Tom Blankenship, drummer Patrick Hallahan, guitarist Carl Broemel, and keyboardist Bo Koster) owns a unique corner at the crossroads of alt-country, grunge, jam, and classic rock. It's a sweet spot midway between Neil Young's mellowness and his Crazy Horseness, with heavy scaffolding built upon foundations of Pink Floyd and the Dead. Wilco lives nearby, but their houses are painted differently.

Jim James | My Morning Jacket

James' voice is the most distinctive thing about MMJ. His timbre is unlike anyone in rock. He can sing a sweet falsetto melody, but he's equally captivating with a baritone drone. He and Broemel are both wicked guitar players as well – Broemel is particularly fun to watch as he bows and hops back and forth under a backlit spotlight. Blankenship and Hallahan are likewise full of boundless energy. Only Koster anchors the band to the stage; without him, they might lift off into the stratosphere.

Carl Broemel | My Morning Jacket

I'll admit to being unfamiliar with the deeper cuts of MMJ's recordings, but some of the busts were evident by the audible oohs and ahhs in the audience. Among these was "Come Closer" from "Split," a weird little 2002 EP that featured four songs by MMJ and one by Songs: Ohia. Stats on suggest this was only the 10th performance of "Come Closer" in over 20 years.

My Morning Jacket | The Fillmore

Another was "How Could I Know," the B-side from MMJ's 2005 vinyl single of "Off the Record." This tune apparently has been included in their set list only 22 prior times.

Jim James | San Francisco, CA

Toward the end of the main set, Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" made an appearance. Singer Jim James waxed nostalgic about playing this song with Young at the latter's 2013 Bridge School Benefit just an hour down the road in Mountain View. (Tuesday's version was the fourth time for "Harvest Moon" in an MMJ set.)

My Morning Jacket | The Fillmore

A few songs later, MMJ punked out on the Beach Boys' seminal California classic "I Get Around." James' voice rose from its deepest to his highest extremes on the famous refrain. (Second cover of this song ever by MMJ following a performance at a Grammy Salute to the Beach Boys last year, and first time in their own concert setlist.)

Bo Koster | My Morning Jacket

Covers and rare B-sides were fun, but the standbys stood out as well. A back-to-back segment of the set that included "I Think I'm Going to Hell" and "Victory Dance" was a notable and poignant stretch, traveling from the bleakness of "Devils and demons are comin', mothers and children beware" to the hopefulness of "Speaking through you, speaking to you, from all of heaven's possibility."

My Morning Jacket | San Francisco, CA

Before closing the set with "Anytime," James addressed the fans to wallow in the joyousness of the gathering: "Of all the places on earth, we're right here in the Fillmore right now. Yeah, we must have done something right!"

Patrick Hallahan | My Morning Jacket

Before ending the lengthy encore with "One Big Holiday," MMJ treated the audience to a dynamic version of "Spring (Among the Living)." They started up slow with what sounded like a "Dear Prudence" riff before jumping into high gear – and then coasted back into the "Prudence" riff while James crooned the iconic "Look around 'round 'round" lyric in a meditative monotone.

"It's beautiful and so are you." It was a mutual appreciation moment between MMJ and their faithful fans.


    In Color
    It's About Twilight Now
    War Begun
    Slow Slow Tune
    The Way That He Sings
    X-Mas Curtain
    Never in the Real World
    How Could I Know
    I Will Sing You Songs
    Harvest Moon (Neil Young cover)
    Come Closer
    I Think I'm Going to Hell
    Victory Dance
    Aluminum Park
    I Get Around (The Beach Boys cover)


    Old Sept. Blues (with Sleep Walk intro, Santo & Johnny cover)
    It Beats 4 U
    Spring (Among the Living) (with Dear Prudence tag, Beatles cover)
    One Big Holiday