Performer: My Morning Jacket
Songwriter: Jim James
Original Release: Z
Definitive Version: None
As I documented awhile back, I saw My Morning Jacket before I got into them—at least a year before. The second time I saw them, however, I was ready.
To celebrate my 46th birthday in 2010, Laurie took me to Harbor Country for the third time. This time we stayed at the Gordon Beach Inn, which is more of a hotel than the previous place, the Firefly, which is like renting someone’s condominium.
Anyway on the drive up, we heard on the radio that My Morning Jacket was going to play a show—not part of any tour—at Northerly Island, formerly known as Meigs Field, which, of course, was the lakeside airport that Mayor Daley infamously chopped up in the middle of the night because he wanted to. Tickets were going on sale … tomorrow.
The Gordon Beach Inn didn’t have Wi-Fi in the rooms, only the lobby. So at the appropriate time, I went to the lobby with my MacBook and got the tickets. They weren’t the best of seats, but we were in the gate.
The show was in August, and Laurie had just started her new job, so we had to meet there separately. I took the train and made the 2-mile hike from Union Station to the amphitheater under a gloomy summer sky.
This was not good: Rush, which as I mentioned had been scheduled to play the same locale, had been rained out not a month before. This evening wasn’t as warm as that evening had been. It was jacket weather. If it rained at all—let alone enough to wash out the show—it was going to be fairly miserable.
It did rain—a mist, really—that came only in fits when it did at all, and the show was anything but miserable. True, our seats were in the bleachers, close to the top, but they were center stage, so we had a great view of everything happening on stage through from a distance.
What really made it work, however, was we were up high enough in the bleachers that we had a panoramic view of the entire Chicago skyline as a backdrop. The clouds were high enough that the view was crystal clear, all the way to the top of the Sears Tower.
My Morning Jacket were on top of their game. Because it wasn’t part of a tour, they had no album to push and played stuff from their whole career, with huge helpings of Z. This song was the third one out of the gate, which seemed early, but it came right after I called it to Laurie. It sounded great, as the band did the rest of the show. Alas, there were no Sasquatch sightings: Jim James was lit traditionally, unlike in 2005 when his face was always in a shadow.
All in all, it was a phenomenal show. I was already a My Morning Jacket fan by this time, but that show cemented my affection. I told Laurie as we walked back to where she parked her car downtown that it was easily the best concert we’d seen together—better than Rush, better than Tool, better than Pearl Jam even. It still might be … although the My Morning Jacket show we saw last summer has to be in the running.