The first time I saw Moe. was in Killington, VT back in 2010 when they played with Lotus for “Snowdown”. My roommates and I trekked through a blizzard from Burlington to see them and they put on such a memorable show that I was even more excited to see them again, this time with my camera in hand. I arrived early to scope out some good vantage points and was immediately greeted by some of the friendliest fans I have ever met, many of them camped out an hour early to make sure they had front row seats. The crowd ranged from young to old and I could overhear stories of past show experiences and talk of what the set list might be for tonight in between raucous laughter and high fives.
They opened up their first set with “The Ghost of Ralph’s Mom” and the lights were immediately just as mesmerizing as the music, my attention focusing a lot on the extended guitar interludes. One of the most impressive components of the show was how each member of the band had their chance to be the main focus and showcase their talent. They even went as far as to all leave the stage while Vinnie performed an incredible 5+ minute drum solo so that he was the sole focus of the crowd while they watched on in amazement. In my opinion, the allure of jam bands is usually how the members play off of one another, but this time Moe. decided to focus on how each member is an integral part of the experience by giving everyone their chance in the limelight; it really was an unexpected treat.
The “Jump Around” cover had the entire crowd doing just that, to the extent that I could feel the place literally jumping from all the way in the back mezzanine level. For me, the highlight of the evening was their beautiful, melodic cover of “House of the Rising Sun” that had the entire crowd- myself included- singing every word along with them. I was fascinated by how incredible the lights were and how they not only set the tone for each song played, but how they played off of the crowds smiling faces and the disco ball and chandeliers hanging from the venue’s ceiling as well.
What struck me the most was just how much fun they were all having up there together; from having Jim jump off the bongo drums to rap the House of Pain cover, to the smiles and glances being shot between them throughout the night- a silent acknowledgement that they were all on the same page and ecstatic to be there. They even went so far as to have a few funny conversations over the microphone between songs, my favorite being the extended “upstate C.H.U.D” dialogue- you had to be there I guess. Not to mention the “Ziggy Stardust” Bowie tribute for the encore was just the icing on the perfect jam cake.
At times I found myself in awe and I had to put down my camera to just watch from a distance. The crowd dancing, the lights filling the big venue, and me myself remembering why music is such a huge part of the lives of everyone in that venue. You have to appreciate the power that Moe. has to bring everyone together to share in an experience that they made feel so personal, like we were sharing every single note and lyric right along with them. Until next time guys.