The vibe headed into moe. New Years Eve at The Palace Theatre was naturally festive, with moe.rons dressed up in an array of different attire, from tutus and wigs to tuxedos. This was bound to be a special evening in Albany.
moe. played a second night at the historic Palace Theatre to close out the year. Starting in rare form with a small stage set up in front of the main stage, the band played a short, fun and very well received acoustic set.Although the music itself was quiet it still captured the crowd’s attention. Highlighting this short set was the rarely played “Backwoods”, a song that long time moe. fans were quiet pleased to hear. In return, people who may not have been privy to that song were treated to a rendition of the Tom Petty classic,”Wildflowers”, the last acoustic song of the set, leaving Al Schnier, Chuck Garvey and Rob Derhak on the small stage while the other members Jim Loughlin and Vinnie Amico dispersed.
When the main stage curtains opened, a clock on the back drop of the stage was counting down the minutes until 2014. Drummer Amico furiously hit the drums, ensuring the acoustic set was not going to be the evening’s vibe. The rest of the band joined in at this point playing “Water”. This transitioned into the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon classic “Time”, slowing things down yet bringing the crowd into the fold. Going into the immense “Recreational Chemistry”, showcased the ability moe. has to fiercely jam, with wailing guitar solos and hard drum beats the set concluded on a high note.
“Mar-Dema”, an instrumental song highlighting Amico’s drumming talents transitioned into the fan favorite “Meat”. A heavy song with a slow beginning, Al and Chuck, the groups two guitarists, traded psychedelic guitar licks while Rob held it together with the bass. This lasted for a minute or two then broke down into a colossal jam verging on heavy metal. The intense electricity in the room was palpable. Percussionist Jim Loughlin took a xylophone sol, a highlight that raised the bar for the rest of the jam, hitting each note yet emphasizing the other instruments, putting him in a class of his own. “White Lightning Turpentine”, a transitional bluesy instrumental gave the crowd a rest after the velocity that ensued previously. This transitioned into a segue of songs, consisting of “Four”, “Spaz Medicine”, “Spine of the Dog and ending with a huge rendition of “Buster”, a staple in the moe. universe and one of their tightest and most danceable numbers. The tightness and patience the band possessed was outstanding as they were right on point for every note as the set closed.
moe. has never been know for their serious side and they proved this by coming out in animal costumes and playing “Sensory Separation Bank.” The New Years countdown began as balloons filled the room and the audience went nuts. The band sang “Auld Lang Syne”, a staple of any New Years Eve show, as per tradition. This cliché was easily forgotten when local heroes Shannon Lynch (saxophone), Terry lynch (trumpet) and Shaun Bazylewicz (trombone) from Conehead Buddha joined the band for Paul Simon’s classic “Late in the Evening” to kick off the first set of 2014. Terry Lynch not only played the trumpet throughout the set, he also took lead vocals on the Black Sabbath tune “The Wizard” which added to the fun. The set closed with a fantastic version of “Plane Crash”, where the horns took control and all the ranges imaginable were conquered, ending the set on a very high note.
The encore started with Al thanking all the moe. family for being there, and announced that lighting designer, Jason Huffer, would be leaving his five year stint with moe. This left the the crowd with a mixed reaction, as the moe. lights are a large part of the show. Playing “Bearsong”, the first of two encores, led to an ensuing jam that was heavy and dirty with a guitar jam bordering trance. “Wind it Up” followed suit nicely, continuing with the trance vibe as the guitars began to shred, moving the crowd towards the show’s finale. The end of a show is never easy, but when done like this it is, without a doubt, easier. Happy moe. Year to all!
Set I: Shoot First^, Blue Eyed Son^@, Willin’, Backwoods, Wildflowers^^, Water > Time > Recreational Chemistry
Set II: Mar-DeMa > Meat, White Lightning Turpentine, Four > Jazz Wank > Spine Of A Dog > Buster
Set III: Sensory Deprivation Bank , Auld Lang Syne > Late In The Evening$+, Spaz Medicine$ > Not Coming Down$, The Wizard$+, Nebraska$, Spanish Moon$+ > Threw It All Away$, Plane Crash$
Encore: Bearsong, Wind It Up
^Acoustic, band on small stage
@Al on mandolin
^^Only Rob, Al and Chuck (on acoustics)
$ with Conehead Buddha Horns: Shannon Lynch (sax), Shaun Bazylewicz (trombone), Terry Lynch (trumpet, trumpet & vocals on Wizard)