The last time Louisville legends My Morning Jacket rolled through Boston, it was for a special two-night performance with the Boston Pops, an experience that Jim James praised on stage for their recent show at Avalon. Explaining that it's rare to make a connection with a city on more than one-day terms, he would introduce the horn section of the Pops during the encore, an experience that not even their excellent live CD/DVD, Okonokos, would feature.
Touring and touting their own reknowned live abilities, the band would end up reeling off several old favorites, unexpected rare tracks, and a stage presence that's as powerful as any today.
Kicking the show off with one of the most exhilarating intros of anyof their songs, the Jacket tore through "One Big Holiday", and immediately set the tone and ran an electric current through the crowd. Since the band's live set really needs no climax, they can freely start with an epic, and do laps around the pool from the acoustic shallow end to the hard-rocking deep end.
They blasted through "What a Wonderful Man" next before tripping everyone out on "Gideon". Tossing the crowd around like a rollercoaster was clearly on their agenda. Soon afterwards, "Just One Thing" and "Golden" amazed older fans and surely won more, then especially when James put down his guitar and picked up a stuffed woolly mammoth for "Wordless Chorus". As the shimmering disco ball swirled in rare splendor around the venue, James tossed his woolly buddy against it, in what was probably one of the strangest and enjoyable moments many attendees had ever seen on stage. Beforehand, James has gotten then attentions by telling the story of how Avalon was a hangar for model airplanes back in the early 1700's, a ridiculous history lesson that was told so convincingly that some surely believed him.
The group did the limbo with "Lowdown" and "Lay Low" before striking up "Phone Went West", adding to the already amazing set. They stretched out the end of their set with "Dondante" and "Run Thru" before ending the main set on "They Ran". There was no way there were going to get away without an encore, no matter how pre-planned it was.
In one of the longest encores of any band around, they started off with "Tonite I Want 2 Celebrate With You", which actually allowed them to build another mini-set in the encore. The Pops horns came out for "Dancefloors" and "Easy Morning Rebel", and while adding only minimal flare at the end of each song, they proved how easy it was for My Morning Jacket to completely rock out. "Mahgeetah" and "Anytime" ended it all on a really high note, and most people exhausted and grinning.
As they are in just about every city they play in, My Morning Jacket were as welcomed and enjoyed in Boston, as they are every time they're here. As Okonokos illustrates, and this tour reinforces, they have one of the most entralling live shows in indie rock, and should not be missed. But if you do, you'll probably get another chance to see the road warriors and be blown away at a later date. If you're crazy enough to wait that long.