The weekend started off St. Paddy’s Thursday with an intimate show at a smaller venue, Stage 48. The concert hall opened three years ago and has a capacity of about 1,100, with a horseshoe-shaped balcony area around the top, multiple bars and plenty of room for dancing.
The boys didn’t waste any time getting into it, launching into a nearly half-hour-long “McBain” to start the show, which then slid into “Down Boy.”
When guitar player Chuck Garvey took to his talk box in “Happy Hour Hero,” he sang into it a holiday wish for the crowd: “Happy St. Patrick’s Day you guys,” “I hope you have a very nice St. Patrick’s day. I hope you get real fucked up.”
The band then played “Downward Facing Dog,” but they didn’t finish it; instead they transitioned into “Deep This Time” to end the set. DFD is broken into two distinct parts, so it’s perfect to break up within a show, but it doesn’t happen often, if ever.
At the end of the set, bassist Rob Derhak, who had been coughing here and there throughout, made it pretty clear how he was feeling: “Thanks folks, I’m going to have to go get a blood transfusion, because that was like a four-hour first set.”
The second set didn’t let up, though. It was a festive ride from the opening notes of “Billy Goat” all the way through the set to the apropos “New York City.” The set only stopped once, after going “all the way down to the bottom” with “The Pit” then finishing up “Downward Facing Dog” with the part that gets dark and guitarist Al Schnier nearly growls out the lyrics.
After taking a quick breath, the band dove into the creepy-yet-whimsical “Bearsong,” which transitioned into Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive.” Then the whole thing became a “The Pit” > “Tubing the River Styx” sandwich before going into “Farmer Ben.” Percussionist Jim Loughlin didn’t venture out from behind his setup as he often does when he’s singing a song, but it didn’t take any energy out of the crowd favorite that’s on the rarer side. The song always breaks down into a few covers, and this Ben had some very appropriate treats: “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” by the Pogues, “Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphy’s, and moe.’s own traditional Irish-sounding tune, “Raise a Glass.” The band played the full RAG and didn’t finish Ben before going into “New York City.”
The encore featured some neat play with lyrics. moe. started with Neil Young’s “Down By the River,” which they hadn’t played since 2002, then played their own “Wind It Up.” “River” begins with the phrase, “Be on my side. I’ll be on your side,” and WIU both starts with similar lyrics and ends with a repetition of that phrase.
3/17/16 Stage 48 setlist:
I: McBain > Down Boy, It >(nh) Smoke, Rise > Happy Hour Hero, Downward Facing Dog > Deep This Time
II: Billy Goat > Tubing The River Styx > The Pit > Downward Facing Dog, Bearsong > Interstellar Overdrive > The Pit > Tubing The River Styx > Farmer Ben > Raise A Glass > New York City
E: Down By The River > Wind It Up
Farmer Ben jam section: Ben> If I Should Fall From Grace With God > Ben > Shipping Up to Boston > Ben > Raise a Glass
On Friday, the fun moved to PlayStation Theater in Times Square. The band played the same venue in March 2015, but it was called the Best Buy Theater back then. This show kicked off right with “Yodalittle,” and the first set also featured a great “Puebla.”
The second set began with the band’s second time ever playing “Cosmik Debris,” a Zappa cover that moe. debuted at their Halloween show in Philly. That gave way to a string of songs lasting nearly or more than 15 minutes each, the highlight of which was “She.” The set ended with “Suck a Lemon,” which the band hasn’t performed since 2014, and they encored with “Bodhisattva,” a Steely Dan tune moe. hasn’t played since 2003.
3/18/2016 PlayStation Theater setlist:
I: Yodelittle > Blue Jeans Pizza, Puebla > Bullet, Calyphornya, Gone, Queen Of Everything
II: Cosmik Debris, Silver Sun >(nh) Kyle’s Song > Opium, She, Suck A Lemon
E: Bodhisattva, Mexico
Returning to the Playstation Theater on Saturday for the final night of the run, the revived audience welcomed moe. back to the stage with cheers and hands-full of beers. With a quick entrance and a 4-count, the evening blasted off with a rocking, short but sweet “The Ghost of Ralph’s Mom.” The highlight of the first set was the tasty “Brent Black” sandwich that included two fan-favorite covers from last year, House of Pains‘ “Jump Around” and “The Imperial March” from Star Wars. As the intermission approached, some fans filtered outside into the streets of Times Square and some took to the media center of the theater lobby to play the few select Playstation console games mounted to walls.
Set two came in easy with “The House of the Rising Sun,” which set a mellow mood for the “Lazarus” that followed. Special guest Suke Cerulo, from NY bands Lynch and Conehead Buddha, joined the group for a jammed out “Moth,” allowing Suke to explore the fretboard of his six-string guitar for the better part of ten minutes. That song is what the crowd needed to be picked up into full dance-mode again and Cerulo delivered with class. As the song ended, Suke waved to the grateful moe.rons and exited the dimly lit stage as Chuck melodically picked his way into “Rebubula.” It seemed as though the setlist for the evening was hand picked by Rob, since most of the songs were either written/sang by him or rhythmically driven by the bass guitar.
Before the encore, Al came out to sound off a few of the Al.nouncements for the night. Since some of the songs ran a tad over length and the “Hard” curfew was only a few minutes away, Rob hilariously slapped the scribbled on pieces of notebook paper out of Al’s hands and apologized to the audience saying, “Sorry. Blame me, blame me,” The crowd took it in stride and cheered as moe. executed an emotional “Ziggy Stardust” by the late David Bowie. A song which has become increasingly popular amongst the crew and community since Bowie passed away.
3/19/2016 PlayStation Theater setlist:
I: T.G.O.R.M., George, Blond Hair and Blue Eyes, Brent Black > Jump Around > Brent Black > The Imperial March > Brent Black
II: The House of the Rising Sun, Lazarus > Ricky Marten > Time Ed, Moth, Rebubula > Four > Rebubula
E: Ziggy Stardust