My Morning Jacket @ KFC Yum Arena 10.29.10

My Morning Jacket’s show on Friday couldn’t have been a bigger celebration of local flavor if you’d had Will Oldham riding around piggy back on David Pajo. The biggest band to come out of Kentucky was backed by the Louisville Youth Symphony Orchestra at a hometown show in the brand-new arena built by a company based in the same city. It was a Louisville sandwich six layers deep — and it was delicious.

Having seen My Morning Jacket a few times now, I’ve got to seriously wonder if they aren’t the best band in America. The Roots might be a little tighter and ready to go with less practice, but they don’t exactly have a “One Big Holiday” or “Gideon” under their belt. And while I’m convinced there’s no better place to see MMJ than at a late night show at Bonnaroo, this symphony-backed show was a close second.

With the band fresh off their five-night stay in New York playing the entirety each of their studio albums, it was really anyone’s guess what the setlist would look like. But with about 25 highly recognizable hits to their name, there really wasn’t that much wiggle room in the setlist. here) The only omission in my opinion was my favorite, “Run Thru,” but they did a tease of the ending tacked on to “Smoking from Shootin.” That and the inclusion of “The Way He Sings” made up for it.

So about two hours in and we’ve had a lovely show with great backing from the orchestra (which you could often not hear, but that’s not the point) — how do you top it? Why with costumes and an insane encore, of course! During the encore break, someone came out dressed up as a chicken. I elbowed my friend and said “pretty gutsy to come in a chicken suit to the KFC arena.” Then, as if to one-up my joke, Jim James came out fully dressed as Col. Sanders. He and the chicken passed a heart around and then he grabbed a guitar and sang incredible versions of “Bermuda Highway” and “Librarian.” Let me also pause for a second and say that “Librarian” has definitely become a huge fan favorite. I thought it was just one that I enjoyed, but the crowd went nuts when he started into it.

After those two solo songs, the entire band came out dressed as Col Sanders. We got what few megahits were left, followed by a cover of “Move On Up” and a great performance of — you guessed it — “One Big Holiday” to close. For the last song, the band brought out the giant puppet walkers who had been in the lobby earlier. It made the stage a bit crowded, but was a really joyous way to end it all.

Lots more photos after the break

3 thoughts on “My Morning Jacket @ KFC Yum Arena 10.29.10”

  1. Hmmm…another review in which we see loads of photos of the lead singer, and hardly anyone else. MMJ is more than YY. Been nice to have seen more than just his hair.

    ‘Twas a great show indeed, though.

  2. I second that, Jenna. We already know what Jim James looks like, fanboy.

    Also, hearing the orchestra was not the point? Maybe for you it wasn’t. (Do you like music at all?) I was significantly disappointed that I couldn’t hear the orchestra for pretty much the whole show. Adding strings to a song like Gideon should so obviously work wonders and enhance an already-moving song. Instead, the only reason I knew the orchestra was playing was that the lights came on behind the stage. God, I was bummed.

    In spite of the band’s inspired performance, this show was only 75% what it could have been. By choosing to see MMJ in a gaping arena instead of an actual theater that’s designed for music, I feel some of my money was wasted.

  3. Dan: So am I a fanboy or someone who doesn’t like music? I’d love to somehow be both if at all possible, but they seem to be completely contradictory.

    Also it sounds like you had a harder time hearing the orchestra than I did — and I was right in front of a bass amp that rattled me so hard that during one song it was hard to breathe. I heard the strings fine on “Gideon” and several others, but I agree that the levels really should have been worked out better.

    As for the photos, I’ve always been fairly lead-singer-centric. And while everyone in MMJ is great, when I have a medium to wide range lens and a photo pit inexplicably crowded with non-photographers, I’m inclined to focus my attention on the guy who jumps around and wails on a flying-V guitar rather than the other guys who stand pretty still. Plus I spent 90% of the concert photographing from stage right where only Jim was close enough to shoot.

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