I caught My Morning Jacket in Phoenix (Tempe, actually) Wednesday night on their Okonokos tour.

They played at the Marquee club, which holds approximately 800 people. Just about the right size to see a band.

Having never seen MMJ, I wasn't sure what to expect. The reviews have been overwhelmingly postiive, and the boots I've listened to have been great. Knowing this however, I was not prepared for the show.

MMJ took the stage around 8:30, opening with One Big Holiday. They played 18 tunes all together, throwing in several obscure (to my ears anyway) covers. The tunes from Z translated very well - in fact I think they were better live than on the released disc. My favorite was the brooding Dondante, which started slowly and swelled to a gargantuan crescendo. I was blown away by Jim James' voice - he created powerful harmonies and had a great range. Both Golden and Bermuda Highway were fantastic acoustic showcases of his voice.

The entire set was backlit, no front-lighting whatsoever. It reminded me of No Quarter from TSRTS ... the smoke and dry-ice made it kind of eerie actually. I didn't see Jim James' face until almost the end of the show, and even then, it was just for a second. It reminded me of another Jim, Jim Morrison. In No One Here Get Out Alive, Danny Sugerman talked quite a bit about how Morrison was pretty shy (when sober) and would sing with his back to the audience. If Morrison faced the audience, he would sing with his eyes closed. Jim James was in the same mold - having a blast with his bandmates, but seemed a bit reluctant to face the audience.

Overall, the show was a definite 'A" - see 'em if they head your way.

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