My wife and I ventured out to see My Morning Jacket at the House of Blues in Cleveland last night. They put on a good show and this being my first show at the House of Blues even though it’s been open for probably two years now, I was impressed by the venue as well.
I don’t really know how to review a concert, because I generally only go to see bands I like and so I usually like the shows, so there you go. I like My Morning Jacket, so I liked the show. If I’d thought they were half-assing it, that might have made me not like it. But they did not; in fact, they were in high spirits for a Monday night, which I’m guessing would be the least inspiring day to do a show, although maybe they can’t even remember what day of the week it is when they’re on tour.
So, here are some impressions that don’t include me trying to describe their soaring vocals or kicky tunes or other ridiculous descriptions I always read in concert reviews.
First, the beers are crazy expensive at this venue, which I’m used to, but I thought they were a bit extreme even for a concert. I think it was $4.75 for a bottle of Sam Adams, which is admittedly a bit more expensive of a beer, but that still seemed extreme. It was possible to get a 16 oz. Pabst Blue Ribbon for $3.75, so I suppose to be fair there were deals to be had.
As you’d expect, the concert was heavily weighted toward the material from Z, their latest. There’s good stuff in there, so that was a good thing. I didn’t have to spend any part of the concert thinking “when are they going to play some of the old stuff?”
Lead singer Jim James was wearing what my wife referred to as his “Detroit Rock City” boots, which I thought was a pretty good description. They looked good for stomping.
New keyboardist Bo Koster is a Clevelander, more specific I hear he is a native of Lakewood, where I currenty reside. Excellent. They’re like a hometown band now.
I was surprised to find that the House of Blues does the “products” in the bathroom and has a guy who hands you your towel to dry your hands, which of course means you’re supposed to tip. Do I go to a My Morning Jacket concert to tip the guy in the bathroom? I can get my own paper towels, thanks. Can’t understand the rationale there—its not like I’m going to a wedding at the Ritz, but whatever.
I’m no longer young enough that I need to get close to the stage. I paid a bit more for balcony seats and it was great to sit and enjoy while also having a perfect view of the stage. Excellent acoustics there—I could actually understand every word Jim James was saying. Usually you go to concerts and the singer is rambling on about who knows what and the people right in front are cheering and laughing and no one else knows what the freak is going on. Not that James had the most entertaining stage patter, but it was nice to actually understand it.
No encore! I love it! I hate having to clap and whistle during shows while a band pretends it’s not coming back for an encore. These guys just played hard for a good long time and then said goodbye. Perfect.
There were a couple of very big guys about two rows ahead of me, and the one guy was going nutso. He loved MMJ, man. He was one of those people that likes to spend a lot of time at a concert with one arm raised, pointing at the stage and bouncing that arm up and down. Usually people who do these things kind of annoy me, but I liked watching this guy. He wasn’t just pretending to have a good time, going through the motions of what you’re supposed to do at a rock concert, he was in a rapture. He got his money worth from My Morning Jacket, and so did I. And that’s all you can ask.
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