On such an amazing weekend of music around Boulder, Colorado, there were many tough decisions to make regarding what to see this weekend. The decision to see moe. at the Boulder Theater was an easy one. They always kill it, and the Boulder Theater is the perfect venue for them to play. It snowed quite a bit the night before the show besides being incredibly cold; therefore, there was plenty of booty shaking room inside the nice warm venue.
moe. has been one of my favorite bands since I began seeing them live on the east coast in 1996. Their double guitar shredders, double percussion magicians, and sick slap bassist allow them to soar above many others. I have never had a bad time at a moe. concert, and they have some of the most chill followers as well.
With this all being said, after hearing the first night was not their best show from several moe.rons, I knew the second night would be an incredible show, and it was. They opened with a song that was written in the year in which I started seeing them in, but not played very often, called “Bearsong”, which was followed by the Floyd/Dead-esque “Runaway Overlude.” This jam sounded reminiscent of a Frank Zappa song with very heavy xylophone from percussionist Jim Loughlin. Zappa was the first influence that the band recognized that they all liked so the comparison is not that far off. After mixing in a fast “One Way Traffic” for the fifth time ever from their newest album What Happened to the LA LAs?, the band went into an old favorite “Head.” This classic gem debuted at the Wetlands Preserve many years ago started a flurry of song into one another starting with the instrumental “Hector’s Pillow,” which is three years old, but has only been played 24 times. Then, the first notes of “Bullet” came out. This is one of my favorite moe. songs, and what was next is my all-time top moe. tune. I was in heaven hearing “Bullet > 32 Things” to close the first set. Chuck Garvey’s voice was not as sharp as it usually is during his tune “Bullet”, but then again that is a tough song to sing. Garvey’s guitar on the other hand was ridiculously on time as was Al Schiner’s on the back and forth solo toward the end of the song. ‘Twas an unusual, yet perfect first set of combinations for the serious moe. fan.
The second set opened with a song I have not heard since my first show at the Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia. “Awesome Gary” is a real bust out. It is only played a few times each year since it re-emerged from the shelf in 2009. Then, came a mellow rarity when the jam went smoothly into “CalifornIA > Big World.” This is a special show in the world of moe.
After all of the old schools jams came the new song “Rainshine”, which was debuted at Summer Camp 2011 and only played 10 times. “Cathedral” was the next of the newer songs off of the album Sticks and Stones. Keeping on queue with the back and forth classic / newer mix up came one of my favorite mid-era songs, “Opium.” This is a slow, and often dark song, but the guitars cry like a human. “Captain America > Mexico” finished the second set off, and the crowd favorites lit the theater up into a frenzy. These two songs bring smiles to everyone’s face. They tied the loose ends of this show perfectly like the dénouement of a story.
Finally, before moe. came on stage for their much awaited encore, a member of their crew came through and took pictures of the crowd. The crowd looked amazing for the shot, and the band showed their excitement by playing “Chromatic Nightmare > Rebubula.” The former is Loughlin’s recent contribution to the new album. The latter is a moe. constant that is ritualistic in many of their shows. It was an amazing evening, and even though Relix magazine recently stated that Umphrey’s McGee will be the last jam band standing, I do not think a band like that will ever be able to enter the class and level of bands like moe., Phish, the Disco Biscuits, or especially the Grateful Dead.