The Wetlands Preserve may be gone, but it is far from forgotten, thanks to Pete Shapiro and The Capitol Theatre, which served as the location from which to pay tribute to the fabled venue on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. The former lower Manhattan club is still fresh in the many memories of the fans but especially the musicians who performed in lower Manhattan in the 1990s. A wide group, including Jimmy Herring, Nate Wilson, Reid Genauer, Conehead Buddha, Peter Prince, Chris Barron and many more joined moe. over the course of February 7th and 8th. It was a night where those fans who did frequent The Wetlands and those who know the venue just from the oral history of the Jamband scene combined to share in the legacy of the venue and make new memories.
There is a great deal of history coming from The Wetlands, with extensive proof found in Wetlands Perserved, a must-see DVD. The venue lineup any given week was a who’s who of touring bands. Having moe. play for two nights and bring out friends served as a fitting throwback to yesteryear. When is moe. not moe.? When they have their friends playing with them on jam-friendly originals and a variety of covers on a special occasions such as this.
Opening for moe. were The Ringers, featuring three guitarists – Jimmy Herring,Wayne Krantz, Michael Landau, bassist Etienne Mbappe and drummer Gary Novak. A full set of rockin’ blues with glorious jamming was a sight not to miss. Flawless rock and shred done right, but the set was all too short. We need more Ringers shows, simple as that. In between the sets, video and photo footage was projected on the Capitol Theatre’s majestic walls; those in the balcony had a great view that aided the crowd in reminiscing.
moe. came out to “New York City”, naturally, then dipped into the past with “Y.O.Y.” and “Nebraska”, and brought up Nate Wilson to play piano and organ on “Blue Jeans Pizza” and “Plane Crash”, where he recalled “Giorgio by Morodor” from Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. Michael Landeau joined on guitar, as did Jimmy Herring for “Buster”, with a projection of the flying pig on the tour poster projected across both sides of the stage. To cap off an already stellar set, members of Percy Hill, Max Creek, Strangefolk and Aquarium Rescue Unit joined moe. for an instant classic rendition of “Sugaree”, rotating verses between them. What a closer.
“Mexico” kicked off the second set, and moe.’s oft-used jam-vehicle for friends had yet another stellar showing, launching themselves into the rest of the night. Reid joined and led on vocals during this conversational “Mexico”. A surprise to many, Strangefolk’s “Speculator” kept Reid on vocals and was rocked out between Chuck, Reid, Al and Nate. In particular, Nate played the perfect accents of piano in “Speculator”, a song above all other Strangefolk songs that is greatly benefited by the addition of piano. It’s a good song. “Growin”, “She” and “The Road” rounded out the set, with a monstrous “Timmy Tucker” closing out the set. An encore of “Up on Cripple Creek” with Reid, Scott and Nate made for an ideal communal song to end the night’s festivities. This was a classic night that will be recalled vividly, and hopefully, repeated annually at The Cap.