An Amazing moe.Year’s eve

A grown man dressed like a baby, nearly an hour of “Time Ed>Meat,” a bust-out, new covers and teases galore – it was definitely a New Year’s run to remember at the Palace Theatre. moe. rang in their 25th year as a band with two shows at the Albany landmark that left fans exhausted and satisfied from so much smiling, dancing and partying.

There were a number of highlights throughout the run that blew fans away, but a major one was an “Ugly American” bust out, a song moe. last played twice in 2010, and before that not since 1999, when it was in regular rotation.

Twiddle opens the run.
Twiddle opens the run.

The Dec. 30 show started with a set from Twiddle, which drew an enthusiastic crowd. Then moe. didn’t waste any time getting into it, starting out with a cool “Skrunk” that segued into a “Timmy Tucker” that got the crowd going early. The show also included “Kids” playing into a “Bones of Lazarus” that veered back toward the old-school way of playing the song with a full into and a pause before the lyrics, though there was no “Ricky Marten” section. Many fans have been asking for old-school “Lazarus” since it was stripped down to its bones a few years back.

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Tuesday was one of the first times moe. has really stretched out “This I Know” and jammed it out. The song off the band’s latest album has largely been kept around five minutes, except for on their West Coast tour this fall.

Bassist Rob Derhak’s son Zach joined the band onstage to give us more cowbell for a cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” during the encore.

“Four” and “Recreational Chemistry” were written into the original setlist, but they were both left out.

The New Year’s Eve show was all about nostalgia and celebrating the last 25 years of moe. Band members repeatedly thanked their fans, friends, family, crew and colleagues for the support over the years. They also talked a lot about how they consider Albany one of the band’s homes, since they moved to Albany in the ’90s to pursue music full-time.

“Tonight is special in so many ways,” guitar player Al Schnier said in one of his song intros.

The show began with the band rising out of the pit at the front of the stage to play a full acoustic set. As they rose to stage level, the band played an old folk song called “Low Bridge” about working on the Erie Canal. Bassist Rob Derhak said the song felt especially appropriate, since the band started in Buffalo then moved to Albany and played the circuit between those cities for years. Guitar player Chuck Garvey’s overalls and hat gave him a farmer look, Rob wore a bow tie, drummer Vinnie Amico played a wooden box with a hole in it, and percussion player Jim Loughlin was dressed in a vest, all of which made the old-timey folk tone of the acoustic set work extra well.

Farmer Satan and the gang
Farmer Satan and the gang

“Chromatic Nightmare” played with acoustic instruments sounded even more than usual like a creepy old-time carnival with bearded ladies and evil clowns lurking in every corner. The song also featured a “Carol of the Bells” tease that drew a huge cheer from the crowd. The full song was on the original setlist, but the band played a fun “Shoot First” instead.

Jim traded his normal Yankees hat for a more subdued black-on-black one for the evening.
Jim traded his normal Yankees hat for a more subdued black-on-black one for the evening.

For the second set, the band moved back into the main stage area and plugged back in. After a few hot songs, Al introduced the Conehead Buddha horns — people, he noted, that they’ve been playing alongside since the early days of the band. “This one goes about 25 years back,” Al said, and they launched into the “Ugly American” dance party.

The Conehead Buddha horns went on to prove a lot of haters wrong. Some moe.rons were growing concerned that the horns joining a performance meant the same stale setlist over and over, but they barely played any repeats from their performances with moe. over the last year, and they rocked the songs they played on for the first time.

The horn section — Shannon Lynch, Terry Lynch and Shaun Bazylewicz — rounded out “Ugly American” well and added a whole new level to “Same Old Story” to make it even better. Then they joined moe. in another new cover, “My Old School” by Steely Dan. When the horns took the stage again in the third set, they were a great fit on the super sexy “Dr. Graffenberg” that included Al and Shannon teasing “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” by the Beatles.

The CB horns were also a part of a fun family time “Happy Hour Hero” in which a handful of the band members’ children and other relatives joined the band onstage. Chuck’s nephew killed it on guitar, and the other kids added extra texture on percussion and horns.

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“Twenty-five years ago, they were but a twinkle in our eyes; none of these people existed,” Al said as he welcomed the kids to the stage.

These kids are a talented bunch.
These kids are a talented bunch.

The band took the stage very close to midnight unveiling a costume change: They had all put on some version of a silver jacket. Rob led a slightly off countdown, then at midnight a bald man dressed as a New Year’s baby — a diaper with a studded belt around it, a 2015 sash, a silver bow tie and a silver top hat — ran onto stage with a flying V guitar. It was Peter Prince, of Peter Prince and Moon Boot Lover, a Buffalo-based band that has been around on and off since the early ’90s. He ripped into a fast-paced and fun “Stone Free” by Jimi Hendrix, the third and final new cover of the evening, then he made the crowd join him in singing “Happy Birthday” to moe.

Oh baby.
Oh baby.

moe. then used up nearly the first hour of 2015 on a “Time Ed>Meat” that were super intense with lots of ebbs and flows, builds and releases, including a jam that teased “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly.


The encore of Pink Floyd’s “Time” into “Tubing the River Stix” into “The Pit” was appropriate: The first song, of course, since it time was such a big part of the night’s celebration, and “The Pit” was a good bookend to the beginning of the show with the band rising out of the pit.

Overall it was a stellar show with a number of high points and very few lows. If this is a sign of what’s to come throughout moe.’s 25th year, it’d be best not to miss a show.

Plus, the lights!
Plus, the lights!

SETLIST 12/30/14
I: Skrunk > Timmy Tucker, Do Or Die > Water >(nh) Puebla > Wind It Up
II: 32 Things >(nh) Paper Dragon, Kids > The Bones Of Lazarus, This I Know, Buster
Enc: Don’t Fear The Reaper, Captain America

SETLIST 12/31/14
I: Low Bridge#, Queen Of Everything, Smoke >(nh) Chromatic Nightmare, Shoot First, White Lightning Turpentine, Waiting For The Punchline
II: Downward Facing Dog, Billy Goat > Bullet > Silver Sun, Ugly American*##, My Old School*%, Same Old Story*, Happy Hour Hero*^$
III: Stone Free$%%, Time Ed > meat., Little Miss Cup Half Empty*, Annihilation Blues*, Dr. Graffenberg*
Enc: Time > Tubing The River Styx > The Pit
{First set acoustic
* w/ Conehead Buddha horn section: Shannon Lynch on saxophone, Terry Lynch on trumpet, Shaun Bazylewicz on trombone
^ w/ Marley Amico on sax, Madison Amico on percussion, Eddie Derhak on trumpet, Ayla Schnier on keys, Ben Schnier on drums
$ w/ Peter Prince on guitar & vox
# FTP – (cover – traditional / Thomas S. Allen)
## LTP – 7/15/10
% FTP – (cover – Steely Dan)
%% FTP – (cover – Jimi Hendrix)}