Saturday morning was ushered in by an electrifying midnight set from Louisville-based rockers My Morning Jacket. While the band wasn’t set to play until the midnight hour, That Tent was packed by 10:45, even with legendary Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers still jamming out at What Stage.
The band entered the stage with Disney’s “When You Wish Upon a Star” serving as their intro music. It is a song that helped to turn lead singer Jim James onto music at an early age, and thus is dear to his heart.
I didn’t have a great spot in the crowd, but as the guy next to me said as the house lights dimmed, “We’re far, but fuck it. We can see and we can bounce.”
Even from 60 feet away, the excitement in James’ face was evident; he was brimming with energy and the feeling was contagious. As the bass line for “Wordless Chorus” thumped away, the intensity was palpable. When James, who carried a lantern around for the entire song, belted the opening line, “So much going on these days,” the crowd exploded, sending dozens of glowsticks and few beach balls flying through the air.
My Morning Jacket’s set was one of those musical moments that makes all those in attendance feel like they were a part of something great, and anyone that wasn’t there missed out on something beautiful and special. It even caught the attention of New York Times reporter Jon Pareles, who wrote that MMJ “unleashed its three guitars in songs that pealed and surged in structures with monumental architecture.” I don’t know what that means, but I can say that this set was one to write home about.
“One Big Holiday” was My Morning Jacket at their absolute best?a slow-building intro, James’ voice soaring in maximum reverb, drummer Patrick Hallahan’s right foot sending shockwaves through the sternums of the audience, and blazing, fiery guitars.
Seeing My Morning Jacket play this song live is to see how live music is supposed to be done.
With a multitude of guest musicians?Andrew Bird was a reoccurring guest?and a couple of fantastic cover songs, My Morning Jacket was hands down the best set I saw all weekend.