Photos By: Dave Phillipich
By: Corey McComb
October 19, 2015 // SDSU Open Air Theatre
People were still filing down the stairs and looking for their seats when Jim James strutted out on stage in dark glasses and a black cape. He didn’t need to wait for anyone as the true fans were already waiting patiently for the opening chords of “Mahgeetah” to ring out.
While My Morning Jacket has been renting a special, southern kind of penthouse in my musical heart for years, they are not my favorite band; but they are my friend Dave’s. These are his photos. Right now, he’s getting his face melted off behind a camera lense that is pointed three feet away from his rock n’ roll idols. Even though he’s seen MMJ perform four times in the last four weeks, when he returns to our seats he’s giving off a possessed vibe that only over-priced beer and a favorite-band-of-all-time can bring out in a man. It’s a kind of madness.
“Haven’t heard this song live yet this year”, Dave says. The band doesn’t wait to dig through deep pockets of songs and within the first 30 minutes the set is already career spanning. New songs off their latest album The Waterfall such as, “Compound Fracture” and “Spring” mix in with old obscure jams that have even the most devoted followers like Dave second guessing what album they’re off.
James speaks to the crowd only once, “Thanks for doing what’s right and standing up on a Monday night”. While Dave’s feelings are partially hurt that the show isn’t completely sold out, those of us that are here can bare witness to the wide discography blending magic that doesn’t just span a career, but all the seasons. Summer jams like “Wordless Chorus” flow not long before “Xmas Curtain” offers up all the sentiments of winter and brings the performance full circle.
Jame’s falsetto soars to the top of the pine trees of the Open Air Theater. Dave is rain dancing and matching guitarist Carl Broemel note for note via air guitar. He’s shouting song titles at me that he thinks are coming next like a quarterback at the line of scrimmage. Just as I fear that not hearing one more song would rob him of his last breath, “One Big Holiday” kicks in and closes out the night.
My Morning Jacket is the band that, even after 17 years, plays every night for it’s true fans and keeps it fresh every time. It’s their mystery that brings out the madness, and tonight was a night for the die hards.
On the drive home, Dave reaches for his CD case and puts in the My Morning Jacket live album.