moe. 11.5 & 11.6.22

The Fox
Boulder, CO
Words and Photos by Nicholas Stock 2 Nights in Boulder with 6 Guys Names moe.  The entire moe. family was rocked by the news of Chuck Garvey’s stroke and they have been eagerly awaiting any word of his recovery and return to the stage. Given the close connection moe. has with fans in Colorado it made sense to cap off their three night run with a letter from Chuck announcing his comeback almost a year to the day after the incident. Chuck Garvey is Satan so we all knew it was just a matter of time, but as friends hugged and Al choked back tears this reassurance made everyone in the audience take a collective sigh of relief. Let’s backtrack a bit.  Z2 announced in mid July that moe. would be treating fans to 3 nights in the intimate Fox Theater as part of their 30th Anniversary Celebration. The Fox in Boulder is historic by Front Range standards and has been host to some incredible music over the last three decades. Night one was classic moe. with some great surprises including a Beatles and a Zeppelin cover. Friday I was running gimbal on stage for the Wolf Brothers show down the road at The Mission Ballroom. That’s how my 3 night run became a 2 night run. I’m not complaining.  Saturday, November 5:

I had to work a corporate gig all weekend so snagging stills at The Fox was going to require some strategy. I arrived about an hour before show time and snuggled in next to the camera guy who was rocking the stream for Top Level Productions. This room is about 1/3 of the size of moe.’s normal play so by showtime it was ass to elbow. Al took the lead on a breezy rendition of The Grateful Dead’s “West LA Fadeaway.” This sort of set the tone for the evening as Nate Wilson’s flute added ample melody to the mix. “Johnny Lineup” was a deep cut that has seen limited rotation since its debut in 1992. “Sensory Deprivation Bank” felt rushed but Suke Cerulo took the opportunity to bang out a sick solo on his fretless guitar. I appreciate the fact that Suke sounds completely unlike Chuck and yet he still compliments Al in a tangible way. “Letter Home” was like a warm hug. The set closing trio of "ATL" into "Silver Sun" into a chunky “Lazarus” featured some powerful improvisation and would foreshadow musically what was to come in set two. Few bands today live up to the moniker of jam band. It’s almost become a bad word. However at the core of jam is a jazz heart ready to collaborate and explore. Many of the old guard have abandoned improvisation but moe. has continued to embrace jam in the live setting. “Head” was a wake-up call for fans that things are about to get serious. We took a quick trip on “Tubing The River Styx” before they went to the dark side on “Pit.” “Timmy Tucker” stretched over 30 minutes and represented the real meat of the sandwich. The set closing “McBain” was split by a ridiculous version of Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive.” The boys returned with a Camper Van Beethoven cover of “Good Guys Bad Guys” which they’ve been playing since it was debuted at Tony’s in Fort Collins in 1995. It was a bit of a bust out having not been played live since 2018.  It was a perfect Saturday set that allowed Nate and Suke to shine while not going too far off the tried and true script. moe. has no problem getting down to business and busting out the jams; they’ve been doing it for 30 years. What’s new and unpredictable is the band performing without Chuck. The keys add texture and new ideas are obviously being floated but simply put, it’s not the same. And I’m not sure it ever can be again, time will tell.  Sunday, November 6: 
The combination of a Sunday show with Daylight’s Savings meant that doors were at 5:00 and the show started just after 6:30 PM. I raced to the venue in time to realize that I hadn’t confirmed my credentials meaning I wouldn’t get in until after moe. took the stage. Thanks to The Fox Staff (Murph) and moe.’s TM (Adam) for their quick work to get me in the door. The only issue was that I still needed to take a few pics in an absolutely packed house. I’m sure the fat camera guy upset a few fans but after a couple of laps I was wedged in with my people and ready to rage. 
The boys started the night correct with a “Moth” into “Skrunk” during which both songs dipped into Type II territory. For moe. its like clicking into third gear and taking the old ride for a spin. Rob’s slap snapped everyone to attention for a soaring “Blue Jeans Pizza.” They continued with “Skitchin’ Buffalo” about growing up and getting into trouble. “Not Coming Down” was an auditory assault before they treated us sweet with a Nate Wilson falsetto rendition of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home.” “Wormwood” worked as the perfect pad song before they introduced Emma Derhak to take over lead vocal duties on “Okayalright.” This was definitely a a family band moment and the entire room rocked along with Emma who was featured in the “Blonde Hair Blue Eyes” music video way back in 2014.  After a short set break moe. returned with a 2 1/2 song set that lasted 77 minutes. Lots of music fans get excited about 5 or 6 song sets, but moe. is like, "Hold my beer. “Recreational Chemistry” was an absolute launching pad to an extremely tight and completely improvised jam. And just as they were reaching the fevered pitch of a crescendo the bottom drops and Rob’s bass is driving the bus to “Meat” town. This song is already known to be a vehicle for the far out, but this time the tune stretched over 33 minutes. moe. closed the final set of the weekend with a “Moth” bookend. 
And we’ve reached the point where I started. Al gave us an emotional message about our fallen hero’s rise. Take a look courtesy of TLP. 
Needless to say the elation in the room was palpable. We love you Chuck! They eased out of the three night run with a bouncy “Jazz Cigarette” followed by a sick “Downward Facing Dog.” This band has faced some unbelievable adversity as of late and they just continue to push ahead no matter what happens. Musically they are completely focused on just “playing” the music. There are no egos and all that is left are the diehards and true friends. Every time we get a chance to see them play it always feels right. “It’s time to go home.” Now go rage in Philly Chuck, we are all behind you.  Nick's Photo Gallery
moe. Saturday Setlist: Set I: West LA Fadeaway*, Johnny Lineup> Sensory Deprivation Bank, Letter Home, ATL> Silver Sun> Lazarus Set II: Head> Tubing The River Styx> Pit> Timmy Tucker, Down Boy, Mcbain> Interstellar Overdrive%> Mcbain  ENCORE: Good Guys and Bad Guys *Grateful Dead Cover, % Pink Floyd Cover 

Saturday's Audio Recording

moe. Sunday Setlist:

Set I: Moth> Skrunk> Blue Jeans Pizza, Skitchin’, Not Coming Down, Can’t Find My Way Home$, Wormwood> Ok Alright#

Set II: Recreational Chemistry> Meat> Moth

ENCORE: Al.nouncements with Letter from Chuck, Jazz Cigarette, Downward Facing Dog

$ Blind Faith Cover 

# Emma Derhak on vocals

Sunday's Audio Recording


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