In the annals of jam bands and jam history moe. has a special place. They have a dedicated fan base that isn’t just off season Dead heads or Phish fans. They have a long standing series of their own festivals in Upstate, New York, both ‘moe. down’ and ‘snoe. down’ which along with Phish was a revolutionary concept for modern festivals.
Moe. is a staple of what jam bands became, after the death of Jerry Garcia. Reeling from the loss of a giant like that sent other bands looking to expand on the sounds and ideas the Grateful Dead had built. Moe. has continued to show that they aren’t, one in a dozen, they are a unique and exciting experience themselves.
Sunday night, moe. stopped through Cincinnati at PNC Pavilion on their All Roads Runaround Tour that they are co-headlining with fellow jammers and 90’s hit makers, Blues Travelers. The tour also features G. Love, with him beginning at 6 p.m., followed by Blues Travelers running through their hits along with an impressive blend of Charlie Daniel’s ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia,’ into their hit, ‘Hook.’
The third set may have been the most fun aspect of the evening with all three bands collaborating on crowd pleasing covers. From Al Schnier of moe. taking lead on an upbeat ‘Fearless’ by Pink Floyd and ripping through into ‘Bertha’ by the Grateful Dead. Finishing the set off with ‘When the Levee Breaks,’ fronted by John Popper of Blues Travelers, felt only fitting to the slew of hits thrown at Cincy fans last night.
By 9:30, moe. took the stage and gave dedicated moe. fans everything, they wanted. Personally I wasn’t sure if they would throw in a few of the more popular tunes like ‘Okayalright,’ ‘Captain America,’ or ‘New York City’ but they went right for the fans hearts.
Opening with ‘Downward Facing Dog,’ moe. ebbed and flowed through the opener for about fifteen minutes with Schnier and Chuck Garvey going back and fourth on lead guitar. Schnier in particular seemed light on his fingers, playing several of the nights most exciting and engaging solos.
Flowing into ‘Stranger that Fiction,’ off of their 1998 album tin cars & car tires, bass player Rob Derhak brought moe.’s more rock sensibility into the show. The performance was matched with an impressive light show, which is almost a requirement for bands like moe. and Phish.
Coming back to their 2012 album What Happened to the LA LA’s, a personal favorite of mine, Schnier jumped into ‘Puebla’ which seemed to also be the crowd favorite of the night.
The show ran like a well oiled machine, which was impressive for the amount of jamming going on. Ending almost exactly at 11 p.m. moe. only came back out for a one song encore of ‘Crab Eyes,’ leaving fans possibly wanting more but insuring that I will be seeing moe. for years to come. The band was tight and sounded like seasoned vets, and was simply a joy for fans of good music.