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Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York is one of the most interesting music venues I have ever been to in my career as a concert gower. Initially built to host tennis events like the Olympics and the U.S. Open, Forest Hills Stadium has been repurposed and host a few concerts in the summer months. Over the weekend, I caught two of my favorite acts Gary Clark Jr. and My Morning Jacket. Even though I am huge fans of both artists, it seemed like a very unusual pairing to me. I have seen and photographed both bands multiple times over the years and it seems like they keep getting better. This show gave me no reason to think otherwise.
Gary Clark Jr. started shortly after the gates opened and this signature South Texas sound reverberated through the concrete building with songs like “Next Door Neighbor Blues” and “Bright Lights”. The sun started to set and gave everything it touched an orange glow. Donning some pretty stylish shades Gary continued to shred the guitar solos with ease. This was the second time I have seen Gary Clark Jr. at Forest Hills Stadium, last time he was supporting D’Angelo back in June 2015.
By the time GCJ finished his set he already had the crowd in a frenzy, the beer vendors were flooded with patrons and the portapottys were developing some lines in anticipation of the headlining act, My Morning Jacket. The sun had not quite gone away for the day yet when it was time to start the show and the golden hue was sticking around for a few more minutes. This made for some good pictures of frontman Jim James and the rest of the boys. A large part of the My Morning Jacket experience is the stellar stage lights and when the sun finally set the real show began. Stand out tracks included “Victory Dance”, “In It’s Infancy (The Waterfall)” but lacked staples like “Big Decisions” and “Believe”. This plays into the hands that My Morning Jacket chooses their setlist carefully and even though they put on one of the best live performances available, you can leave wanting more. There were two songs performed off of Jim James’ solo projects including “State of The Art (A.E.I.O.U)” and “A New Life” which the full band puts their own spin on.
The sights and sounds of an MMJ concert in the confines of a tennis court turned amphitheater in the middle of Queens, New York was enough to make my head spin, but in a good way. In such a good way that I might consider it among the best concerts I have ever attended.