My Morning Jacket, Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, NJ- 6/1
With somewhere in the vicinity of three thousand people actually inside and listening, My Morning Jacket took to the stage of Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey for their first of two shows at the venue while opening for Pearl Jam. As the tour has progressed, MMJ has garnered generally favorable reviews from those PJ fans who have managed to make it into the venue early enough to catch the opener. However, by all accounts, not nearly enough fans have been making such a commitment. Based upon MMJ’s performance on this night, those fans whose stupidity got the better of them should be filled with nothing but regret.
Moving through less than ten songs, the band thrilled those fans lucky enough, and interested enough, to have made it inside to catch the band’s set. Frontman Jim James’ voice was in fine form, reverberating throughout the arena, making the notoriously poor sounding venue sound like an intimate club. The pulsating, dual-guitar intro of “One Big Holiday” sent the crowd to their feet, cheering along as the band tore through the song with vigor. Guitarist Carl Broemel and drummer Patrick Hallahan, stellar throughout the night, really stepped it up during this song, moving the band into overdrive as they returned to the guitar line that anchors the song. The same could easily be said for the rest of the set, highlighted by, naturally, some of the band’s best material including a mid-set “Wordless Chorus” which was every bit as mesmerizing live as it is on the band’s jaw-dropping album Z.
But it was on “Gideon” where My Morning Jacket really let loose, notably Jim James’ absolutely stunning vocals which send shivers down the spine in a manner like very few singers in the rock genre. “Gideon” could easily serve as a set closer at any MMJ show, as the dirty guitars, pounding drums, driving bass and soaring vocals reached an explosive crescendo. The culmination of this song, in the middle of the set no less, was one of the most incredible musical experiences I have had this year, and I imagine such a feeling will not be duplicated that soon.
As the band exited the stage after another of their stellar tunes, “Mahgeetah,” one thing was crystal clear; My Morning Jacket is anything but an opening act. They are a main stage band in every sense of the word, and as more and more fans discover one of the best kept secrets in all of music today, main stages the country over are going to get a taste of what three thousand people heard tonight.
My Morning Jacket is coming to a main stage near you. Buckle up.