SAN FRANCISCO — Thanksgiving came early to San Francisco, at least according to Jim James.
The My Morning Jacket frontman profusely and repeatedly thanked headliner and Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst during their show Saturday at The Fillmore in San Francisco.
“It’s hard to believe it’s already Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for so many things,” James said. “This weekend, I’m especially thankful to my dear old pal, Mr. Conor Oberst, for bringing us all together. He has a beautiful knack for bringing people together and creating beautiful worlds.”
Oberst returned the favor in kind during his set, but the mutual admiration society did not end there. It also presented an opportunity for James and Oberst to team up with M. Ward, bringing together three-quarters of the rock supergroup Monsters of Folk, for the second consecutive day. The trio united the previous day at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park, which ended Sunday.
The Monsters of Folk members played “Say Please” and “Whole Lotta Losin’” from the group’s self-titled 2009 album. Ward switched between piano and guitar while Oberst and James brandished guitars as all three traded lead vocal duties.
Oberst was full of fire and verve throughout Saturday’s two-hour set. After breaking a string on his guitar during “Four Winds,” he ripped the strand from the headstock as he continued singing.
Later, at the end conclusion of “You All Loved Him Once,” he strummed his guitar with furious, brash strokes before stepping back and kicking over his mic stand.
“You guys can tell how seriously I take this shit. I’m wearing a fucking corduroy blazer,” he said.
Saturday’s show gave both James and Oberst the opportunity to show off new material. For Oberst, that meant selections from Ruminations, due Oct. 14 via Nonesuch Records, including “Next of Kin,” a striking piano-and-harmonica cut about notifying the survivors of the deceased. He dedicated it to his wife.
“You know, the day comes, she’s going to be the one to get the fucking phone call,” he said.
James, meanwhile, stuck to solo material, including selections from his second solo record, Eternally Even, due next month.
As dreary as some of Oberst’s songs can be in addition to his intense performances, he lightened the mood with levity between songs. Responding in kind to his friend, Oberst repeatedly thanked James for being there during the course of his set.
“What really impressed me was the respect that he showed me and the amount of times he thanked me,” Oberst said with his tongue firmly planted in cheek. “Just such a class act. … It just really meant the world to me.”
[Unknown] We Are Nowhere and it’s Now
Hundreds of Ways
Next of Kin
Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out
Bowl of Oranges
You All Loved Him Once
Desert Island Questionnaire
Take it Easy (Love Nothing)
Whole Lotta Losin’
A Little Uncanny
Train Under Water
A New Life
We Ain’t Getting Any Younger
Know Til Now
Same Old Lie
Hide in Plain Sight
The World’s Smiling Now
Here in Spirit
State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)