Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review: My Morning Jacket @ Essex Junction, Friday, Aug. 20

"From the depths of Lake Champlain, to the shores of fair Vermont, we sang ye these songs." Courtesy of

In the words of Jim James, a.k.a. Yim Yames, (queue spooky Twilight Zone voice): "All signs point to Essex Junction."
It was an epic late-summer affair at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, Vt. last night.
For all intents and purposes, your standard county fairgrounds, the stage was set behind the large dirt track, grandstands and expo barns on the Midway Lawn, where the magic went down.
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals were a late add as opener. However, despite feeling good about getting an early start to our trip, we got stuck in a major traffic jam just short of the Vermont border for more than two hours and missed it completely. It was a one-car crash that resulted in only injuries, but backed up the busy thoroughfare into Vermont for more than three histeria-inducing hours! We turned around an hour into the gridlock, found an alternate route and, by the grace of God, made it to the fairgrounds just in time to have a beer before MMJ came on.
After driving 2 plus hours through rolling farmland and the scents it provided, we came over the crest of a hill and saw the lights of Essex Junction. It was a welcome site.
We arrived to find a crowd of about 1,500 friendly, flannel-clad 20-somethings moseying about the beer tent and lawn. Puffs of sweet smoke rose into the cool, crisp night, illuminated by a bright, three-quarters moon.
And did they ever come on.
My recollection of the set list is spotty. In my haste to make sure I heard the opener, I left my camera and note pad in the car. Thanks to a "Strict No Re-Entry Policy," I was left to my memory, which was of little use when I was so at the mercy of what I was seeing in front of me.
The space-cadet glow of the stage with the moon over head, mountains all around and Jim James advising the light guy to "Dim the lights, Marcus. ... Make it dark in here."
When they weren't crafting a spacey ambiance jam, they played their echo-induced rock with thunderous pulse, all exclaimed by Jim James' exalting howl.
Thankfully, I have some help with the set list thanks to a photo the band released on their site that shows the set list pinned on the wall near a ferris wheel (haha). But, I'm quite sure they strayed from the list. Unless I was on another planet (possible), they skipped over "Honest Man" "Easy Morning Rebel" and "Highly Suspicious." In their place were some extended jams, great segues, and amicable banter from James.
"It could be the 1950's, it could be the 1960's, it could be the year 3000 -- but it's right now."
Those words, the sights, the sounds, the smells ... This experience will stick with me for a very long time. Nothing short of magical.

Set list (prelim.)

Rollin Back>
Way He Sings
It Beats 4 U
Honest Man
I'm Amazed
Carried Away
Smokin' From Shootin>
Run Thru
If You Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2
End of Lay Low

Wordless Chorus (Jim James wearing cape)
Off The Record
I'm Amazed
Steam Engine
One Big Holiday

I'm hoping a recording and more photos surface from this magical show. If they do, I will post them here.

- Cheers

From Luke's phone. Without it, I would still be driving in circles. Thanks Luke!



  2. Great photos man, thanks for sharing! What a great night!