My Morning Jacket fans have converged on the Dominican Republic’s Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana this weekend for the band’s only scheduled shows of 2018. With a touring hiatus planned for the remainder of the year, the annual One Big Holiday destination festival offers MMJ aficionados their only chance to catch Jim James and Co. for at least the next 10 months. Fortunately for those MMJ aficionados, the Louisville-based rockers have delivered in spades by working their way through the entirety of their first four albums over the course of the event’s first two nights.
It all started on Friday when My Morning Jacket ran through their 1999 debut The Tennessee Fire during the first set of their three-night run at the picturesque Caribbean resort. It was their first time playing the LP in full since 2010, when the band performed their first five albums during a five-night stand at New York City’s Terminal 5. Fans who missed out on that experience eight years ago were in for a treat, as MMJ dove right into their sophomore effort—2001’s At Dawn—when they returned to the beachside stage for Friday night’s second set. The nature of the show meant plenty of bust outs were in order, including rarities like “By My Car”, “If It Smashes Down”, and “ I Need It Most”, all last played during the 2010 Terminal 5 run.
One Big Holiday attendees were a bit less surprised when Saturday night’s show kicked off with “Mahgeetah”, the fan favorite that opens My Morning Jacket’s 2003 juggernaut It Still Moves. Widely regarded as one of the best offerings in the band’s catalog, It Still Moves features some of MMJ’s most cherished tunes, all of which got the live treatment during the night’s first set. Interestingly, the group enlisted their friends from New Orleans institution the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for some of the album’s biggest numbers like “Dancefloors”, “Easy Morning Rebel” and the gathering’s namesake, “One Big Holiday”. Naturally, the set also showcased rarities like “Just One Thing” and “One In The Same”—the latter of which also appeared last during the 2010 Terminal 5 run.
Of course, set two was all about the My Morning Jacket’s fourth album, the delightfully psychedelic and synth-heavy 2005 effort Z. Favorites like “Gideon”, “What A Wonderful Man”, “Off The Record” and the downright glorious closer “Dondante” all made appearances during the set, which also featured bust outs “Knot Comes” and “Into The Woods”. Not content to end it with the glory of “Dondante”, My Morning Jacket returned for an encore rendition of “Cobra”, a monster of a tune from the band’s 2002 Chocolate & Ice EP that rarely gets played in full. Nevertheless, the band went big for this one as well, delivering a complete take on the number that clocked in at over 20 minutes.
My Morning Jacket – “Gideon”
[Video: Craig Dodge Lile]
My Morning Jacket will return to the stage on Monday night to close out their fourth annual One Big Holiday, and its safe to say fans are anticipating an exploration of the band’s three most recent LPs—2008’s Evil Urges, 2011’s Circuital and 2015’s The Waterfall. Tonight the festival will focus on some of the other artists on the bill, with headlining sets from Portugal. The Man, Sylvan Esso, and Hurray for the Riff Raff. Other acts that have already performed include Spoon, Broken Social Scene, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.