Despite being quite the fan of Jack Daniels, I have yet to venture to Kentucky. But seeing how at home My Morning Jacket looked on stage last Saturday, it was hard to imagine I was 2,000 miles away. At one point during the gorgeous Oregon summer evening, front-man Jim James told the crowd: "I don't think there will ever come a time when we won't keep coming to this unbelievably, epic venue." And epic is what Edgefield is all about -- an adult playground in the woods that exudes comfort and beauty, and raises the "holy shit" level of any band you may happen to see there. MMJ melted into the landscape this night, weaving through a 23-song set that truly found the band in the finest form I've ever had the chance to witness.
There's no new album to promote this year, and along with a fan-aided setlist campaign for every show, the realms of possibility for sets are more wide-open then ever. Consequently and awesomely, I heard every song I wanted to hear at a concert for the first time in my life. An early set "Lay Low" would prove to be the first showcase of my highly lauded air-guitar abilities, which were magnified with new inspiration by the flying windmills that guitarist Carl Broemel was launching 20 feet in front of me. When they brought out ex-guitarist and current Idahoan Johnny Quaid, Broemel's strokes got somehow even more enormous -- most likely a subconscious display of a dog protecting his turf. Still there was no doubting that the 3-guitar attack with Quaid on "One Big Holiday" was massively enjoyed by all parties involved.
Other highlights included a mid-set "Wordless Chorus" that seemed beyond comfortable in its new home away from the opening slot, as well as crushing run-throughs of nearly ever track off of 2005's Z. The 8-song 'encore' if you could call it that, crept in with a couple delicate numbers accented by Broemel on the pedal-steel before landing in the rare At Dawn track, "Strangulation." The slow-fuse of the tune's first half held the entire crowd in silent rapture until that enormous guitar lick came in…"I won't feel a thing"…then Boom -- collective boner release by the thousands. In other words, it was fucking huge. A colossal "Dancefloors" seemed like it would close out the show, but was followed by an even more gargantuan "Anytime," which itself was capped with a positively Brobdingnagian "Gideon." Luckily, there wasn't a 2nd encore, because I had run out of synonyms for gigantic. There's big, magical, Kentuckian power on that stage, and it's somehow only getting bigger.