Ten Things We Hope To See During My Morning Jacket's Three Day Port Chester Run
Five My Morning Jacket-ish Things We Hope to See Happen in Port Chester
(Super) Deep Cuts
As mentioned, after MMJ went back and re-learned everything for the Terminal 5 shows, they thankfully didn't just abandon all the recently unearthed old material. But while some lesser known songs pop up now and then, there are still some real hidden gems the band could reincorporate into their setlist. "Evelyn Is Not Real" and "Strangulation!" make appearances, but Port Chester would be a cool time to bring out non-album tracks like "Chills" or "How Could I Know." One of the best resurrected old songs is "It's About Twilight Now", off of The Tennessee Fire, a foreboding Southern rocker that has morphed into something much heavier and frenzied when the band play it now. Perhaps we'll also hear something from Jim James' forthcoming solo album. Though it's less likely, there is some precedent, as they semi-regularly played guitarist Carl Broemel's "Carried Away" for awhile.
MMJ is no stranger to having friends join them onstage, whether it's openers like Shabazz Palaces, sometimes collaborators like M. Ward (who was in Monsters of Folk with James), or former band members like Johnny Quaid, who occasionally shows up and reprises his role as guitarist on iconic songs from At Dawn or It Still Moves. MMJ has a different opener each night in Port Chester. Members of Deer Tick could come out and jam. Perhaps most exciting is afrobeat group Antibalas opening on the second night. They could bring out some horn players for the wild, bizarre funk of the Circuital track "Holdin' On to Black Metal", or for the unease of the rare "How Do You Know."
Jim James Saying Something Mystical And/Or Batshit
Check 1:00-1:50 in that video. Jim James says really strange things in concert. I saw them in 2008 at Radio City Music Hall around the release of Evil Urges, and James marveled about playing the same stage that he had once hosted Aretha Franklin. Then he described a pre-show ritual in which he pretends he's a cotton candy machine and "opens up the top of his head and lets all the bad shit out, and that's the cotton candy," and then he just lets the good things back in.
On the third Terminal 5 night, the one where they played It Still Moves, James took a rare break in the action to thank us all for coming out for their little celebration/experiment. Then he explained that none of us were really there right then. We were all actually back home, logged onto our computers, sharing in a virtual reality experience. Then he thanked us for logging on with him tonight. And this guy says he doesn't smoke much weed.
James will most likely say something like this. If not, rest assured, he'll still wear a cape at some point.
There was a time in My Morning Jacket's career where you knew you would hear all of their epics on one show. One 7-10 minute, multi-part exorcism after the next, each seemingly more crushing than the last. There were "Run Thru," "Lay Low," "Dondante," "Steam Engine," "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Pt. 2", and then there was the second level, the songs that weren't super long or epic on record necessarily, but had grown into live events: "Off the Record", "Victory Dance", Mahgeetah," and, of course, "One Big Holiday." But when you have a catalog this stacked with songs that should be the major focal points of a show, you can't really keep playing them all every single night, and suddenly you could go to a MMJ show and experience the previously unimaginable situation of leaving a show without hearing "Run Thru." The good news is that three nights with no repeats means we can pretty much rest assured we'll hear them all in Port Chester. There will probably even be room for the less common epics like "Rollin' Back," "I Will Sing You Songs," "Strangulation," "Honest Man," and "Cobra."
The Just Plain Bizarre
Well, you could say it's bizarre enough that MMJ plays "Careless Whisper" every now and then. There's usually a bit of quirkiness at a MMJ show, this is a given. James likes music to be fun, you know? But easily the strangest thing I've seen at a concert was when, two-thirds through "Careless Whisper," James drawled on about how George Michael was chanting "ba-ba, ba-na-nas, na-nas" (he's not) because he really cared about health and potassium and such. Which is one thing. But then James leads the audience in chanting about bananas as he and the band start throwing bananas into the crowd. I thought this was a one-off stunt to close the Z night of the 2010 Terminal 5 run. But, uh, here they are doing it again in Kentucky this year, with a guy dressed as some old imperial soldier or something helping out.
A My Morning Jacket show can take a lot of you physically and emotionally. Sometimes you need a bit of levity.