MMJ At MASS MoCA: My Morning Jacket Closes Tour In North Adams – Photos, Audio & Videos
Words & Images by: Andrew Bruss
My Morning Jacket :: 8.12.17 :: MASS MoCA
North Adams, MA
North Adams, MA
My Morning Jacket brought their Summer Tour to a close in the most Northwestern corner of Massachusetts just hours after tragedy struck Charlottesville, Virginia. The remote location is walking distance from both New York and Vermont state lines so almost everyone in attendance had made a decent trek to be there.
The show took place in a field next to MASS MoCA, a contemporary art museum built in North Adams with the hopes of revitalizing a town that was once key to the Second World War effort but has since fallen into deep economic depression. Every other summer, MASS MoCA hosts Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival so it’s familiar with hosting the likes of My Morning Jacket.
The Districts opened for Jacket on the same week they released their third full length LP, Popular Manipulations, and to leave them out of the story would be selling readers short. The Philly-based quartet rocks out like they’ve got nothing to lose and Rob Grote is the most animated frontman to take the stage since James Olliges started calling himself Jim James. Four songs into The Districts’ opening slot, the sky tore open and unloaded flash floods, thunder and lightning of biblical proportions. Ticket holders sought shelter inside the museum and waited out the storm for four hours.
Plenty of frustrated folks went home, but neither Jacket nor MASS MoCA gave up on the prospect of letting the show go on and plenty of fans stuck with them. Well past 11 p.m., MMJ took the stage alongside The Districts for a take on John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.” The Louisville-based quintet has performed the song before, but the anti-war anthem was especially powerful in light of the white supremacist orchestrated terrorism that brought fear and death to Charlottesville that day. James added an additional verse that reflected on the charged climate: “Everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout collusion, confusion, Russian Revolution, repealing, replacing, crying dying, preaching, leaching, impeaching.”
The rest of the performance was solid but not spectacular. Staples like “Circuital,” “Compound Fracture,” “Victory Dance,” and “I’m Amazed” made appearances. “Wordless Chorus” was followed by “Off the Record” which was a treat for fans of 2006’s Z. Due to the delay, the set only lasted about an hour, which was disappointing, but for fans who traveled all day and weathered the storm, it was better than nothing.
“One Big Holiday” is as close as Jacket gets to an “Enter Sandman,” with regards to its reputation as a show closer but at MASS MoCA they followed it up with a vocal reprise of “Give Peace a Chance” that was a collaboration between James and the audience.
An abbreviated set in the rain is not what My Morning Jacket fans were hoping for when they got tickets to the tour closer. There was a lot you could be disappointed about, but plenty to be grateful for. Very few bands would actually take the stage following a four-hour delay when their contract permits them to cancel due to “acts of god,” but Jacket is not most bands.
During the wait, ticket holders got to enjoy the museum and complete strangers forged friendships that are sure to extend into the real world. No part of the concert is going to correct the horror that domestic terrorists wrought earlier that day but music has long been an effective vehicle to unify where other forces would rather see us divide. Music matters and the peaceful assembly of strangers who enjoyed it was an act of resistance against the ideology of fear, hate and fanaticism that is antithetical to the music of My Morning Jacket. Music won’t cure society’s ills, but it does help treat the symptoms.
Audio (Taped by opsopcopolis)
Videos (Captured by Tom Florczak)
My Morning Jacket at MASS MoCA
- Give Peace a Chance
- I'm Amazed
- Spring (Among the Living)
- Tropics (Erase Traces)
- Wonderful (The Way I Feel)
- I Will Sing You Songs
- Compound Fracture
- Victory Dance
- Wordless Chorus
- Off the Record
- Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 2
- One Big Holiday