Friday, January 2, 2009

My Morning Jacket: New Year's Eve at Madison Square Garden

The last time I saw My Morning Jacket was at the Kool Haus (2,000 person capacity) in my hometown of Toronto Ontario. I knew this would be the last time seeing MMJ at such an intimate venue. Oh yah, did I mention that this was in June of 2008? Only 6months later I would be in New York City seeing them at would appeared to be an almost sold out Garden. Many a fan came dressed in their New Year's finest and so did the band. Rumours of guest artists were circulating the internet and this proved true. They opened with Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up", the first song to feature the New Year's Eve horn section that included Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck & The Flecktones and now Dave Matthews Band) as well as Steve Bernstein (Sex Mob and Levon Helm). For most bands the Mayfield classic would be an ambitious choice, but it was sung to perfection by Jim James. This set the tone for the rest of the evening's sets which were sprinkled with classic funk and soul covers. MMJ leaned heavily on tunes from 2008's Evil Urges as well as songs from , but the band did treat us to a few older gems such as the rarely played "Cobra". The band brought out Nicole Atkin's for Marvin Gaye's classic "You're All I Need" which was a crowd favourite. After a 30 minute intermission which featured a video clip from Charlie Chaplin's anti-Nazi film The Great Dictator, the band ripped into Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" while thousands of white balloons were dumped from the ceiling of MSG. The 3.5 hour show ended with the classic "One Big Holiday" and a poorly practiced version "Auld Lang Syne". Maybe James had one too many drinks. Although the show itself was perfectly played, with the exception of the cover tunes, the setlist barely varied from the show I saw earlier in the year. The Garden also lacked the intimacy of the Kool Haus which was obviously expected but a drag none the less. 2008 proved to be a huge year for the Jacket, and this is one band that truly deserves the success that they have found.

Set List:
"Move On Up" (Curtis Mayfield) *
"Evil Urges" *
"Off the Record"
"The Way that He Sings"
"Thank You Too"
"I'm Amazed"
"Golden" (w/ Will Johnson)
"All I Need" (w/ Nicole Adkins / Marvin Gaye cover) *
"Express Yourself" * (Charles Wright)
"What a Wonderful Man" "Low Down"
"Phone Went West"
"Look at You"
"Smokin' From Shootin'"
"Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2"
"Run Thru"
"I'm a Wanderer" (Dion cover) *
"Dancefloors" *

New Year's Intermission

"Celebration" (Kool and the Gang) *
"Get Down On It" (Kool and the Gang) *
"Wordless Chorus"
"Highly Suspicious"
"Islands in the Stream" (w/ Nicole Atkins / Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers)
"Bring it On Home to Me" (Sam Cooke) *
"Cold Sweat (James Brown) * "Anytime"
"One Big Holiday"
(* w/ New Year's Eve Horn Section)

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