While it’s hard to even pinpoint a favorite segment amidst the first-time-played Michael Jackson dance party, the masterful renditions of original Umphrey’s tunes, the Koko Taylor and horn section guests or the first-time-played With a Little Help From My Friends, there is one segment that stands out above and beyond. Some might consider the Amazing Grace -> Glory section a segue and some a mash up, but we can all agree that this concoction with the Chicago Mass Choir is as uplifting as music gets. Since I cannot really do this segment justice in words, I included what I believe is the perfect introduction here. While I really just wanted Will Ferrell’s verbal preamble, I’d be remiss to edit out the vocal stylings of the Channel 4 News Team.
Lotus, Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO, 12/31/2008 – Robot Themed Show
As Lotus began their ascent a few years back, I admit thinking, “These guys are certainly very good, but is their really room for another electronica jam band on the scene?” Coming off the release of a stellar album in Hammerstrike, Lotus continues to elevate their game and answer a resounding “yes” to that exact question.
In one of this year’s most notable New Years show, Lotus creatively incorporated the theme of robots throughout their entire concert, performing excellent renditions of Daft Punk’s Robot Rock, Styx’s Mr. Roboto, Radiohead’s Paranoid Android and mashing up their own Sunrain with the Flaming Lips single Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1. The real gem amidst the robot-themed monument though is Lotus’s take on the Alan Parson’s Project’s I Robot. I highly urge checking out this whole show, but at the very least, you gotta hear this. Finally, I included the non-robotic themed show closer, Shimmer and Out, simply because it’s good. 0110001 010110
My Morning Jacket, MSG, New York, NY, 12/31/2008 – Express Yourself
While My Morning Jacket brought a slew of old souls to the party in New York City, including Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Dion, Kool & the Gang, James Brown and Sam Cooke, it’s Charles Wright’s Express Yourself that stood out most. Admittedly, this is a biased selection as I have a ridiculously fervid obsession with this song that stems from the old NWA sample rendition of this song from a previous gangsta rap phase around age 15, but MMJ gave Dre, Eazy E, Yella Boy, Ice Cube and MC Ren a run for their duckets.
Disco Biscuits, Nokia Theater, New York, NY, 12/27/2008 – Tricycle
The reviews for the Biscuits’ New Years run have been all over the map, largely pointing to many a brilliant set and others disappointing. In particular, fans seemed less excited about the 3rd set New Year Eve show as the band chose to focus on new material as opposed to classics and surprises. I only caught the 30th and thought the first set knocked the cover of it, but the second set grew a little tedious. Anyway, fans who caught a number of shows all seem uniform in the opinion that the 27th was the highlight of the run and that the Tricycle Bust Out stole the show.
This Biscuits original made its debut in 2000 and disappeared until earlier this year with another very notable appearance at Camp Bisco. Tricycle made only its fourth appearance ever and this here is likely the best of all four.
Gov’t Mule, Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY, 12/31/2008 – Temple of the Mule
It’s becoming clear that the jamband scene might need to spread the wealth next New Year’s Eve, because the New York City crew does not deserve so much goodness. Government Mule capped of an incredible run of shows on their Temple of the Mule tour by playing an entire second set of Seattle grunge scene classics with Peter Thorn on guitar that spanned Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains. While Pete Thorn handled a hefty load of the singing on the grunge tunes, when Warren belts out his scratchy gutturals, you can really appreciate that the man has two sets of chops, both guitar and vocal.
Did we miss any bust outs you thought were particularly sickening? Let us know by leaving a comment below…