Maybe I’m feeling the effects of an after show glow, but this one may belong in the same conversation with some of the more standout shows from MMJ’s storied 14-year history. After a none-too-special start, the band ripped through “Lay Low” and barraged the place with a dark, heavy, all business set, heavy on deep improvisation and furious intensity that didn’t let up until the final notes of the show-ending “Phone Went West.” From Lay Low (which hit at approximately 10:00), straight until the encore break around 11:30, there was nary a dull moment, just a powerhouse onslaught that has my head-ringing currently. The encore break provided some much-welcomed lighter fare with “Butch Cassidy” and “Wonderful”, before kicking into an astonishing Band / Prince / Phone Went West trio to ice the cake.
Notably, there was also almost zero banter, each extended tune (even “Gideon” got a big upgrade) seemed to take on a wholly different colour, tone and feel from past versions and one couldn’t ask for much better cover selections, hitting on Elton John (biggest crowd response of the night) and the aforementioned The Band and Prince tunes.
Now the only question is: how will they ever top this one on Wednesday and Thursday?
SETLIST: The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA || Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Circuital, It Beats 4 U, You Wanna Freak Out, Lowdown, I’m Amazed, Lay Low > War Begun > I Will Sing You Songs, Masterplan, Old Sept Blues, Rocket Man (Elton John), Strangulation, Evelyn Is Not Real, Easy Morning Rebel, Anytime, The Day Is Coming, Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt 2, Gideon
Butch Cassidy, Wonderful (The Way I Feel), It Makes No Difference (The Band), I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (Prince), Phone Went West
EDITOR’S NOTE: My two big requests for the night (Old Sept Blues and Strangulation) book-ended my first time hearing “Rocket Man.” Score.