My Morning Jacket | 06.20.08 | NYC

Words by: Nick D'Amore | Images by: Dino Perrucci

My Morning Jacket :: 06.20.08 :: Radio City Music Hall :: New York, NY


Jim James - MMJ :: 06.20 :: Radio City Music Hall
What the Radio City Music Hall audience witnessed last Friday night in New York City was a band seizing its moment. My Morning Jacket was powerful, massive, awesome and inspired. Singer-guitarist Jim James was reverential to his surroundings throughout the show, calling the venue "sacred" and "hallowed," and was awed by the fact that he was standing on a stage where he had just recently seen Aretha Franklin perform. "Aretha fucking Franklin," James said to the crowd, seemingly still astonished at the juxtaposition.

But, if the band was humbled by its own headlining slot at the famous theater, it didn't show. For roughly two hours and 40 minutes, they played masterfully, blowing the doors off the place song after song, with one piece's climax often reaching more incredible heights than the one before. The crowd's energy and excitement matched the band's own from the beginning beats of "Evil Urges" to the ferocious finale of modern guitar anthem "One Big Holiday."

The venue's pristine, unmatched sound proved to be a perfect place for MMJ's strengths to come through; James' miraculous voice soared; guitarist Carl Broemel's solos shredded; the ultra-heavy drumming of Patrick Hallahan thundered. The new songs, many with a subtle, 1970s California soft rock feel, meshed beautifully within the bombast of songs from It Still Moves and the rhythmic grooves of Z. The band kept Radio City rocking, with the Evil Urges tracks getting enthusiastic responses. More than half the crowd had obviously been bumping the album since it came out as many sang along and pumped their fists on cue with the new tunes. Opening with funky "Evil Urges," it was instantly obvious that the new songs would not disappoint matched up against MMJ standards. James was pitch-perfect throughout the falsetto-laden opener. Even "Highly Suspicious," the off-the-wall third track on Evil Urges, was highly entertaining and infectious. The band has begun to carve out an identity beyond classification. If Z surprised those who were expecting a continuation of the explosive power of It Still Moves, Evil Urges has similarly confounded many with its varied song styles and, at times, quieter, more reserved soundscapes. However, the majesty of My Morning Jacket is in their live shows. The band's talents, which at first seem to come through on their albums – thunderous rock, danceable grooves and beautiful harmonies – can only be truly appreciated in person.

MMJ :: 06.20 :: Radio City Music Hall
The 16-song first set consisted of many new songs weaved into MMJ concert staples. After the raucous "Highly Suspicious," the band launched into an inspired "What A Wonderful Man" from Z, whipping the crowd into an early frenzy. From there, they came with a chiller vibe on two new tracks, the dreamy "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream (Part 1)" and the ominous "Sec Walking," followed by It Still Moves gem "Golden." The set reached its emotional climax near the end with "Steam Engine," another It Still Moves masterpiece, during which the band expertly brought the song from quiet whispers to explosive outbursts and back down again until the song's peak. As the crowd sang with James, "Take your money and your drugs," the song rose to an incredible crescendo through to its extended jam, during which James ambled up the right side of the theater, playing to the audience up in the balcony. From the jam, the band segued into "Smokin From Shootin" and "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream (Part 2)" from the new album, ending the main set, and leaving the audience dazed and amazed.

After a quick break, MMJ returned for an elongated encore, beginning with James solo with an acoustic guitar playing "Bermuda Highway" from their pre-fame album At Dawn, followed by the beautiful quirkiness of "Librarian" from Evil Urges. James' haunting melody about pining away for a beautiful librarian brought the crowd to a captivated hush. The audience was then ready to explode as the band launched into "Wordless Chorus," where the crowd whooped and howled along with James. The encore reached its peak with a monstrous "Run Thru," which at times sounded as if it would actually tear the roof off Radio City.

It's often talked about, but Friday night's show was truly an event where a band and its audience were of one mind and spirit. The crowd – consisting of a plethora of band member look-alikes as well as people who had obviously just run down from their high-rise offices – had a relentless, boundless energy from the moment My Morning Jacket took the stage, and the band responded in kind. Coming into Friday, it seemed that the show would be a watershed mark, a milestone for the Jacket. It was the hottest ticket in town and only a few days prior, the band announced that they would be reaching a new career height – headlining New Year's Eve at Madison Square Garden. My Morning Jacket not only satiated their fans, they transcended the bigness of the event and offered the lucky few in attendance an incredible, unforgettable night. The New Year's Eve show just became a can't-miss, must-see performance.

My Morning Jacket :: 06.20.08 :: Radio City Music Hall :: New York, NY
Set I: Evil Urges, Off The Record, Gideon, I'm Amazed, Highly Suspicious, What a Wonderful Man, Touch Me I'm Going to Scream (Part 1), Sec Walkin, Golden, Thank You Too, The Way That He Sings, Two Halves, Phone Went West, Aluminum Park, Steam Engine > Smokin From Shootin > Touch Me I'm Going to Scream (Part 2)
Encore: Bermuda Highway*, Librarian, Wordless Chorus, It Beats 4 U, Dondante, The Bear, Lay Low, Run Thru, Anytime, One Big Holiday
*Jim James solo

My Morning Jacket 06.20.08 at Radio City Music Hall: MP3, STREAM, FLACs available here.

My Morning Jacket - "Off the Record" - 6.22.08 RCMH:

My Morning Jacket - "Highly Suspicious" - 6.22.08 RCMH:

My Morning Jacket - "Touch Me Part Two" - 6.22.08 RCMH:

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[Published on: 6/23/08]

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Comments

moecheeseplease Mon 6/23/2008 10:55AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

moecheeseplease

madison square garden next stop

hodgeswm starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 11:12AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

hodgeswm

Here's an extensive review of MMJ's late night Bonnaroo extravaganza:

http://digmusiccitylive.blogspot.com

thisiswhathappenslarry starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 11:21AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

thisiswhathappenslarry

Let's hear it for the MMJ boys!!!!! That show rocked my face off and while I had seen MMj once before (an unforgettable Langerado 2007 performance) my other 3 friends with me had not...and.....THE SHOW BLEW THEIR MIIINNNNDSSS. just like I knew it would. What a special night in NYC that was.

thisiswhathappenslarry Mon 6/23/2008 11:23AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

thisiswhathappenslarry

Also, Nick D'Amore----Awesome review! You couldn't have sumemd it up any better. Sweet pics Dino.

wagsinnorthernva starstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 11:28AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

wagsinnorthernva

I think the collective music world is going to get a large helping of MMJ to the dome this year. Lots of folks are going to left wondering what happened.

moemoe6434 starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 11:29AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

The encore was incredible with the peaking One Big Holiday which burned the house down!

Great show!

FormulaOBX Mon 6/23/2008 11:32AM
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These boyz are on fire. Check them out...

tourfan starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 11:38AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Absolutely, the best performance of the entire year ..... So Far .... ! I was there and was astounded, blown away. I've seen MMJ before, so I was aware of the bands prowess, but this was something else. One of the best live concerts I've ever attended.

Mountain_Icculus starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 12:17PM
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Mountain_Icculus

MSG.

umoe star Mon 6/23/2008 12:50PM
Show -13 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
Andrew Bruss starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 12:54PM
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Andrew Bruss

great review! anyone here see the roo late night AND the RCMH show? I've heard amazing things, and having seen MMJ a half dozen times, know to expect as much, but given the raving reviews of both performances, i'm curious to hear from someone who saw both which they thought was better

thisiswhathappenslarry Mon 6/23/2008 01:06PM
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thisiswhathappenslarry

Does anyone know what was up with the the backdrop being a screen with the picture of two eyeballs in --what looked liked--ring boxes?

GratefulHokie starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 01:12PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

GratefulHokie

@thisiswhathappenslarry - thats what the inside of the case looks like on the physical album copy of "Evil Urges".

I was at this show...simply fantastic but I went in expecting to be blown away. Love this band, love this music, love this review...hope to see everyone on new years!

JonSoda starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 02:12PM
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JonSoda

Well thisiswhathappenslarry it’s clear you haven't purchased your own copy of Evil Urges because if you had you would know what was up with the backdrop. It’s imagery concealed under the ohh soo nice smelling platic wrap which once held my copy of Evil Urges.

I suggest you go out and get your self a copy!!

thisiswhathappenslarry Mon 6/23/2008 02:32PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

thisiswhathappenslarry

You're quite right, JonSoda....I got the leaked "Evil Urges" back in the beginning of May

bealotcoolerifyoudid Mon 6/23/2008 02:38PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

bealotcoolerifyoudid

I would have loved to see this show. And even though they didn't play it, I bet Gideon would be an epic song live (i'v never seen them), especially in RCMH. I would love to get tickets to their show in DC, but Rothbury has left me with a lack of funds to spend on other shows. But that makes me a little less dissapointed to miss the show. I'll surley catch them next time around though.

Grateful Dread Mon 6/23/2008 02:57PM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Grateful Dread

Being possibly the only dread in RCMH that night, I looked over both shoulders and cautiously fired up my spliff of high grade as soon as the band took the stage. Amidst a sea of well-to-do NYC dudes and their $12 cocktail w/ glowstick stirrer sipping trophy wives/girlfriends, I proceeded to rock the eff out, with limbs flailing in all directions, for 2 hours and 40 minutes of pure, unadulterated MMJ. I've seen them before and knew what kind of heat they can bring, but man, this show absolutely blew me away. Just one of those moments of time and space that you have to experience in person to truly appreciate. Hence, the reason I am addicted to live music. Peace.

thisiswhathappenslarry Mon 6/23/2008 03:06PM
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thisiswhathappenslarry

wow bealo you know what....i actually thought they DID play Gideon. I know it's not listed on the setlist up there but i really swear they played it...am i nuts???? can anyone else verify? lol

k3spot starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 03:21PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

dino, why you always gotta blow my mind with your sick images!?! especially love the one taken outside the venue, all convex - hot!

bold99 Mon 6/23/2008 03:21PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Gideon was played, 3rd song and it rocks as did this entire show. I've never seen anyting like it. It was amazing from start to finish.

ScIFreak starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 03:25PM
Show -9 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
tourfan starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 03:55PM
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I too, to think that Gideon was played ...

bealotcoolerifyoudid Mon 6/23/2008 04:21PM
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bealotcoolerifyoudid

Well i bet Gideon sounded great, it's a really epic song, and I can't wait to hear it live one day.

CSchneids929 starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 04:32PM
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gideon was ridiculous. and it was played 3rd. myself and my brother have seen many live performances before and we felt chills listening to gideon on friday evening. mmj's high's and peaks throughout their songs are truly epic. great stuff. i wasnt feeling highly suspicious or what a wonderful man, actually went and got a beer. Great Great show though-Radio City is truly a special place. And is Jim James always shredding or Broemel? was wondering that during the show

bealotcoolerifyoudid Mon 6/23/2008 04:36PM
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bealotcoolerifyoudid

I see they've added it now to the setlist. Great set list by the way.

curtbraski starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 07:18PM
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curtbraski

i fucking love this band... nashville to kentucky... then KC... then train to NY for NY at MSG in the words of JJ i made a nasty decision wooooooo!

Chaloupka starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 09:46PM
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Chaloupka

Can't wait for Red Rocks!!! Nice review too.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/24/2008 04:36AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

I am becoming interested in this band.

grateful dread you helped me along just a little bit more.

maybe I will catch the FOX ATL show coming up, I cannot make any WSP summer tour, so I can try this out.. see how it goes. I want to ROCK OUT TOO!

mcnafh02 Tue 6/24/2008 10:22AM
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Great review though no mention of Dondante, my favorite song from the night. That slow build and release was epic.

mcarroll starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/24/2008 12:51PM
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mcarroll

CSchneids929, Carl is technically the lead guitarist, but Jim plays a lot of solos as well. It is kind of a dual lead. I'm sure this show was mind blowing, can't wait for Red Rocks w/ the Black Keys. Milesgone, you may have a new favorite band on your hands once you see them. That is all it took for me.

GeorgieP Tue 6/24/2008 01:28PM
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GeorgieP

I'll sell my first born to get tickets to that MSG NYE show.

Rich Lieberman starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/25/2008 05:55AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Rich Lieberman

The show was epic. No joke, mmj may just be the best live band touring right now. I don't throw that out there easily. See them if you can. This is a rock show like no other I have seen in a while. There is something very fresh about it. You have to see, hear & feel it for yourself. Dino, as always your photos are just spectacular. I am so glad I was in Radio City on this night.

MattDraper starstarstarstar Wed 6/25/2008 12:32PM
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MattDraper

Agreed on all fronts regarding the band, the evolution of their sound, and the varied and insane shows they throw down. Though it was a very, very good show, i've got to say my friends and I were not blown away (coming from a huge MMJ fan). Following the reviews/audio of the broo show, the fact this was a special night at RCMH, and on the heels of the launch of Evil Urges, maybe I was expecting a show in the stratosphere (as with first time seeing them at the Roxy in '02). James' voice is incredible and the band was tight - just would have loved some covers and maybe a heavier first two hours. Regardless, they are sick live and the new album is fantastic.

crispyinstilly starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/27/2008 08:32AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

crispyinstilly

This was the most epic show I've seen, out of 8. The balcony run was awesome, especially because that's me up front in the light blue shirt with my arms in the air, acting like a lunatic! I hadn't seen a full MMJ show in 2 years and this one tops em all. There is a great recording out there, more proof of just what an event this was.

curtbraski starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 11:19AM
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curtbraski

is it December 31st yet... MSG on the floor baby!

9phammer Thu 7/3/2008 03:00AM
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9phammer

Can't wait for New Year's.

Jahmazed Thu 7/17/2008 08:08AM
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This was the best show I've ever seen any band put on!!!