Home Live Review Live Review: My Morning Jacket @ The Anthem — 7/29/23

Live Review: My Morning Jacket @ The Anthem — 7/29/23

Live Review: My Morning Jacket @ The Anthem — 7/29/23
My Morning Jacket performs at The Anthem in DC on July 29, 2023. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

I’ve said it before, but summer doesn’t really feel like summer for me until I see the My Morning Jacket show on the calendar for Merriweather. Jim James, Carl Broemel and co. have played Columbia, MD in 2010-2013, 2015, 2017, and 2021. The 2021 show was my first proper concert post-Covid and it was just as amazing as I hoped it would be.

So imagine my surprise when this year, instead of Merriweather, the band was booked to play an “intimate” show at The Anthem.

By my count, My Morning Jacket hasn’t played DC proper since they toured Evil Urges at DAR Constitution Hall way back in 2008 (I’m not counting their 2015 appearance at the Earth Day concert on the National Mall). This time around, with no new music released, the band are ostensibly touring behind their Live at Bonoaroo 2004 live album. 

But let’s not kid ourselves here. MMJ are one of the best live bands in the world, they don’t need a reason to tour. Plug in the amps, fire up “Wordless Chrous,” and let’s fucking go.

Watch My Morning Jacket perform “Wordless Chorus” live on Letterman via YouTube:

Nine studio albums into their career, it must be hard for the band to concoct a setlist to appease all their fans, but I imagine Saturday’s show came pretty close. At The Anthem on July 29, the band drew four songs each from Z, Evil Urges, It Still Moves, and The Waterfall, providing a great cross-section of their discography.

There were the hits: “I’m Amazed,” “Compound Fracture, “ Gideon,” “Mahgeetah,” “Love Love Love.” There were the beloved album cuts: “Spring (Among the Living),” “Master Plan,” “The Way That He Sings.” And then there were deep cuts: “Knot Comes Loose,” “‘Smokin’ From Shootin’,” “I Will Be There When You Die.” (Side note: When I was making mental notes about my review before the show, I had planned to include a line like “Would it kill them to play ‘Knot Comes Loose’ or ‘Smokin’ From Shootin’’ once in a while,” and then they played them back-to-back. I couldn’t believe it. Friends, I reached concert nirvana.)

Musically, I’m not sure the band has ever been as good as they are right now. Jim James really leaned into being a frontman, dancing around the entire stage for “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream” parts I and II. Carl Broemel was absolutely on fire all night — and the underrated rhythm section of bassist Tom Blankenship, drummer Patrick Hallahan, and keyboardist Bo Koster was absolutely stellar.

It says a lot that a band I have been going to see in concert regularly since 2006 can still surprise and thrill me in new ways all these years later.


Love Love Love
Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 1
Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2
Wordless Chorus
I Will Sing You Songs
Master Plan
Believe (Nobody Knows)
Spring (Among the Living)
Knot Comes Loose
Smokin’ From Shootin’
Holdin On to Black Metal
It’s About Twilight Now
Tropics (Erase Traces)
I’m Amazed
Compound Fracture
The Way That He Sings

I Will Be There When You Die

Here are some photos of My Morning Jacket performing at The Anthem in DC on July 29, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Kyle Gustafson.


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