Download My Morning Jacket's entire New Year's Eve show here.
My Morning Jacket
Madison Square Garden
December 31, 2008
So My Morning Jacket isn't the new Grateful Dead. That was Phish. Except that Phish wasn't half as good as the Grateful Dead and only had about half a dozen great songs ("Wolfman's Brother," "Bouncing 'Round the Room," "Fee," and you have three others to fill in here, Phish phanatics. But Phish did sustain the Dead's lysergic lineage of giving liberal arts majors a common place to use their parents' money to wreck their brain cells, a place where Muthuselean guitar solos lasted long enough to memorize of the entire Torah in ancient Aramaic. It was a pretty fair trade, and most ersatz 4th Estatesmen hated Phish, like the Dead, so much that when they finally went belly-up five years ago, no one other than the gray-beards at Rolling Stone gave a fuck other than those offering up requisite lame jokes about patchouli, Birkenstocks, and hackie-sacks.
What they forget is that Phish, MMJ, the Dead, and their less original but perfectly serviceable peers like Widespread Panic, Tea Leaf Green, and Government Mule fill an important void. Namely that by their overt goofiness, refreshing lack of self-seriousness, and breathtaking musical chops, they channel the oft-ignored earth lesson of rock and roll: this shit is supposed to be fun. That's what Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, et.al understood, and what your favorite mustachioed Williamsburg-residing, Tyrolean-hatted, leather-jacketed trust fund babies usually forget, despite their Sarah Lawrence degrees and spontaneously generated Independent Croatian Ethnography Film Aesthetics majors.
Not to say that My Morning Jacket is necessarily better than Crystal Castles, or Crystal Stilts, or Crystal Antlers, or Billy Crystal--that's not the point. I'm just trying to explain why I flew all the way across the country from my sun-scarred home base of Los Angeles to attend My Morning Jacket's New Year's Eve Show at Madison Square Garden, and why the person sitting next to me flew in from Oakland, and why when Jim James asked the masses early on into the band's three-plus hour set how many of them were from out of state, the place degenerated into a deafening din. Like the Dead, My Morning Jacket are that sort of live band--the "you never know what kind of show you're going to get" type that inspires cross-country treks in search of transcendence from both the spectacle and the drug vultures skulking around the perimeter of Madison Square Garden mewling "Molly, doses, rolls." (By chance, if you're reading this, Molly-Doses-Roll man, I can be reached at passionweiss[nospam]gmail.com. I'm sorry I didn't take you up on your offer the other night; I was working and didn't think my editor would cotton to the four-word review, "I saw God, maaannn.")More »