moe. March 1 2012 Higher Ground South Burlington, VT

moe.

Set 1: Time Ed>Not Coming Down>Where does the Time GO, Rainsong>So Long>Wicked Awesome, Shoot 1st>Timmy Tucker

Set 2: Threw it All Away>Crab Eyes>Happy Hour Heroes>Puebla>Bring You Down, Opium>Hector’s Pillow>32 Things

E: She Sends Me, Nebraska

They had finally made it back to the East coast and we were pumped.  If the CD Release party in January was any indication of how hot moe. is these days, we knew the shows would be on point.  Lately moe. is really, really tight..and they have renewed energy.  They have been touring hard for a long time now,  but surprisingly with no signs of slowing down (yes they just released a cd, but still.)

Yeah, Burlington. VT..how far could it be?  VT is close to relatively everything.   A fun little ride up and we’d be in hippyville.  Snow comes in and theres the first warning.  Not good.  We have a packed car and know with a lil help from our friends, we can do this.  The ride starts off OK, but of course when we hit MA, the snow goes to the next level..actually, practically every hour it got worse.  Bad windshield, slipping and sliding, and only an hour into the trip..kinda rough.  Next thing I know we are three hours into this trip and theres no letup on the damn snow.  Intense driving conditions..

Five hours later, we make it.  Looks like a little venue, but the hippies are definitely outside waiting to rage.  I hear bad things about the venue-basically that you cant smoke inside (like I care?), but overall I find it to be pretty good.  Security was not going full force from what I was told.  Get inside..small venue, 600 cap?  maybe a tad larger than Toads..We get in, seven minutes later moe. rips the first cord of Time Ed..Boom!  What great timing and a coolass song to kick things off.

We’re dancin..were smilin..oh yeah, kickin’ Thursday night at Mike Gordon’s venue..and then we go to the next level of not coming down.  Nice..memories of the start of that famous New years show..song starts slow and starts to rev up..feels so good..the anticipation, the slight feel of sweat..they blood warmin up..they sound good.  Set 1 has a nice flow to it and continues smooth..next thing I know we’re on Timmy Tucker, another new year’s song..and we are all at full energy.  Ragin hard we get a solid Timmy..must have gone moer than 20 minutes, Rob really pullin this one out with some good guitar twings..Al and Chuck bringin out some nice tweaks, Jimmy spicin it up, and Vinny is right on..I mean, hes right on..has been all year.

Second set has a nice starter, similar to first set starter, mellow, for the VT hippies of course (jk), but I do occasionally enjoy a warmup starter into a medium and finally a hard jam.  Classic crab eyes certainly on point into another classic Happy Hour Heroes.  Fourth song, which was the guesser for the night (moe. hosts a contest each night this tour, picks one slot, and you have to guess what the song is, prize is a box of random stuff from moe.).

Puebla!  Couple people picked it from what I see on fbook and will be going home with prizes (Rob’s old toothbrush, Al’s deodorant?)  This is by far one of my favorite new songs..it is perfect for a long jam..but has such a cool mellowness to it with some sort of spanish twist that these guys just love.  Whoaaaaa Puebla..co mon ca..it just makes you want to sing along..you cant help it.

Boom!  De na na na na na na..there it is..Opium!  Now its definitely a good show.  It has got to be a long time since this was ever played (wheres our stats man).  I really cant recall if Ive ever heard it in person..but it feels so good.  And, of course, not to generalize, but it is a great fit for VT.  Definitely a treat, sweet long jam..with so much joy filling the room.  We end the set with an awezzzome 32 Things and get the body out of da dance!

Encore was good.  She sends me is alright in my opinion, but I was really pumped to hear Nebraska.  This is truly such a beautiful sounding song..it makes you think about the Universe a little, and you just gotta laugh.  Of course you wanna sing along too..and its really a nice way to end the night..with a smile.

Bonus: Free Poster!  Cool print of a moe. ship ready to take off with clever song remnants.  360 made.  I hear its a Higher Ground thing..good peeps.

Rating: 8.0

 

Tea Leaf Green 2/10/12 Bowery Ballroom New York, NY

Tea Leaf Green

Set One: Soldiers. Dont Curse. One Reason>Warm Up>Cottonwood. Monsters>Doin It Over. Out in the Woods.  Sleep Paralysis. My Star.

Set Two: Germ, Jubilee, Hangin, Fallen Angel, Innocence, Jezebel, Can’t Get High, Taught to be Proud, Two Chairs

E: All Wasted

I had been listening to Tea Leaf for a couple years on the Jam On channel, and had always wanted to see them in person.  They had some really eccentric music and I thoroughly enjoyed their tunes.  Some of their new stuff really turned me on..tunes like “Easy to be Your Lover” are such awesome groovy beats…I remember just being in my car thinking how good this could be in concert.  I was pretty psyched to have two cheap tickets lined up for a Fri+Sat night in the city.

The Bowery Ballroom has got to be my favorite small venue in the city.  Absolutely incredible.  If your band attracts 500 or less, this is the place to play.  You take some stairs underground to check in..beautiful bar, chairs, couches, and lighting surround you.  Its romantic, fun, cozy..perfect place to chill before a show starts.  (Headcount had a nice setup on a couch with table for instance.)  It also acts as a place to take a break from the music if you so desire…Upstairs is the main venue..solid floor with bar, and two sets of staircases that lead to an upper level equipped with bar and a couple VIP lounges.  What else could you ask for??!

HaHa Tonka started the night off as the opener.  I wasnt too impressed-they just arent my cup of tea.  They sound like any other band.  I was lucky enough to take a break, and pop into Reed the bassist outside!  Very cool, congenial guy.  Very down to earth.  He opened up about some side projects he is recording these days with Al Schnier, Benevento, Russo, and others..wild!  Got my pic with Reed, he rushed down to the venue to change, and next thing you know Tea Leaf is on stage!

They had a nice mellow start, and for the most part Tea Leaf is a pretty mellow and and countryish band.  I felt like the first couple songs were jsut a warmup..and we really got to movin with “One Reason.”  Everyone was warmed up and ready to dance at this point, I had found my spot on the dance floor and I really began to enjoy myself.  Cottonwood was a real treat and smiles were abound as Reed directed the band with some pretty heady bass play.

Reed knows how to bring the jam deeper with this group, and he has certainly been a nice addition.  Simon is all smiles, very talented on the keyboard and jumps around every so often to heat things up.  He has a great voice too and helps make this band waht it is.  Trevor leads the group on lead guitar, and the drummers keep things solid with that consistent drum beat.

The second set fired up with Germ, and got us moving from the start.  Jezebel and Cant Get High were well played..Simon took the band up a notch here, with an ear to ear grin, some dancin and some really talented keyboard playing.  I noticed that the keyboard has a pretty unique sound with this band, and is very unique.  It is an absolute element that is so key to the band’s performance.  Trevor leads the group, but Simon takes the reigns, and Reeds deep bass playing oil this motor up.  What a great band.

The fan favorite had to be one of their most popular tunes “Taught to be Proud.”  Everyone was screaming the lyrics out and it really had us in the mood to jam, sing, dance and enjoy the moment.  Once the Encore of “All Wasted” had come on, it was a little sad.  there were smiles all around but the night had to end…I found a band with a ton of talent and a unique sound..I think their jams could still get a little deeper and they are still moving forward..in a couple years, they have potential to be big time!

Rating: 8.0

The Lawn Boys 2/4/12 Sullivan Hall New York, NY

The Lawn  Boys

Set One: Run Like an Antelope>Chalkdust Torture>Bathtub Gin>Possum. Punch You in the Eye. Runaway Jim. Sample in a Jar. My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own. Train Song. Divided Sky.

Set Two: Sand>Tweezer>Roses are Free. Destiny Unbound. Funky Bitch>Tube>2001. Cavern>First Tube>Tweezer Reprise.

Encore: Crosseyed amd Painless>Golgi Apparatus.

A Saturday night in the city..to hear a Phish cover band.  I was pretty pumped.  Sullivan Hall is in a crazy part of town, and a Saturday night didnt help.  The sidewalks were bustling with drunkards, but smiles were all abound.  The traffic was bumper to bumper and I was so grateful when I finally saw a parking garage.  I circled in and got my ticket..just for kicks I asked how much it would be for 5 hours..”$50!” Whoaaaaa..take the ticket back, Im outta here..ridiculous..

We drove around for a half hour and finally found the tightest spot in nyc possibly ever, that my 2007 Camry could fit in.  It took some motioning, and it was about 15 3/4ft from the fire hydrant (15ft rule), but the deal was cleared…finally time to checkout some muzak.

The opener, Pulse Capacitor, was surprisingly good.  They really had good flow, I enjoyed the lead singer’s voice, and they threw in some hard rock, but it wasnt too hard.  There were many fans here for this band, and I could kind of understand why.  Not bad.

On to the main act..four guys with a little free time to jam out some Phish tunes.  Im not sure what their deal is, and if they have to keep their day jobs..but they are quite talented.  I believe they are on of the premiere Phish cover bands in addition to Strange Design and Phix.  (I had never heard of Phix before, and people thought I was crazy.)

Run Like an Antelope was an interesting starter.  It immediately brought me back to that beautiful night in the Garden, 12/29/11, or more appropriately entitled YEMSG. The closer to the first set.  I think this was a good starter as it brought everyone in, gave people time to groove, the smokers to get back in, before any kind of deep jam.  (This tune takes about 6 minutes to warm up.)  After this warmup Chalkdust was just what we needed to get our heartbeat pumpin and our juices flowin.  We all started to ease up and remember this was a Saturday night of fun, and to interpret A Phish cover band is all good in fun, but dont forget to jam!

Hearing Bathtub and Possum do accurately played, in addition to being a couple of my favorite tunes, is what really did it for me.  It didnt just bring back Phish memories, it created something new for me..an attachment to The Lawn Boys themselves.  These guys knew how to play and shall we say..let the music play the band. 🙂

The rest of the first set was par..but Sample in a Jar was a highlight that helped fill smiles throughout the joint.  We all had that part to scream out “Up on Limo’s Bed”, and then smile, smile, smile.  Great start..we were pumped..the second set was for the faithful as some people did clear out around the 1am finish..

Solid start to the second set with “Sand.”  The lyrics are so sweet to this tune, the only thing better is how the beat moves in and out, in and out..kind of like the water coming ashore..back and forth, back and forth..so relaxing.  Tweezer brought the energy level up only to give us the fun “Roses are Free.”  Destiny Unbound was the perfect opportunity to smoke a black n mild only to come back into a sweeeeet Funky Bitch..I enjoyed Tube and it was so damn late that I had to depart on 2001..I know, such a sweet groove to depart on, but the jam man was done.

Rating: 8.0 Awesomness Guys 🙂

Freak’s Ball January 21st 2012 Brooklyn Bowl Williamsburg, NY

Freaks Ball

I got the email Thursday at 3pm.  Freaks Ball at the Brooklyn Bowl..Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds (I was sold right there), Marco Benevento, Joe Russo, Scott Metzger..and, just announced, Eric Krasno and Warren Haynes.  Sick.  I was so sold.  Zoomed home, bought tics.  Then I texted my buddies change of plans..and then I threw my Umphrey’s Tics up for sale on stubhub.  Done.  I was so psyched.

This was the 12th annual Freak’s ball, and for the first time, was expanded into a two day affair.  Friday’s show was more focused on indie music and Saturday was the jammy nyc musicians.  As I was not there..heres an excerpt from jambands.com, 1/23/12:  “Like most of their recent shows, the group dotted their setlist with a mix of covers ranging from David Bowie’s “All the Young Dudes” to The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” (the latter song was particularly memorable since James passed away earlier in the day). Given the setting, Portugal. the Man played a particularly loose and groovy set; they also invited the members of Morning Teleportation—who are in New York working on an album—out to sit in on keyboards and percussion at various points during their show.”  Definitely a cool start to the weekend, if Umphrey’s wasnt in town, I would have been there.

Saturday night was the heavy hitter’s..esp for the nyc metro area. It kicked off with guitarist Scott Metzger(RANA), drummer Joe Russo of Furthur, Keyboardist Eric Deutsch(Fat Mama, Charlie Hunter) and Hagar Ben-Ari (Dap Kings).  The lineup got things rippin with a boogie style, instrumental set…Neil YOung’s “Dont Let it Bring You Down”, the Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” and the Beatles “Day Tripper.”

This was just a warmup as things got really hot and heavy for the second set.  The big boys took the stage..Joe Russo returned, with Marco Benevento, bassist Ron Johnson (Warren Hayne’s Band, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe) and guitarist Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds.)  Rising soul singer Alecia Chakour got things rolling with a sexy rendition of the Freak’s Ball song..and then Eddie got the band fuckin’ rippin with a sick New Mastersounds tune.  Eric Krasno joined and kept things going really strong.  He was a huge element and kept the beats strong and tight.

This turned out to be a particularly awesome set..even though so many were greatly awaiting Mr. Haynes to approach the stage…”Becky”, “Mephisto” and “Scratchitti” were all impressive originals, thrown in with some covers such as Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”, The Beatles “Something” and Grant Green’s “Ain’t it Funky Now.”  Love it.  Awesome set.  We danced hard for another hour and were in full jam mode.  What a delight.

Warren Haynes approaches and the fans go wild.  He has a presence here..a strong one.  And, still, so graciously thanked everyone for the invitation, in that humble, but strong way, that he does things.  He said he “hope he qualified for the night.”  But we all found this funny and knew it was not egotistical.  Warren did it like he does, with that deep resonating sound.  We were lucky enough to hear “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love”, “D’Yer Maker”, “Fire on the Mountain” and the late great James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind.”  The finisher was with the whole entire ensemble playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”  A final finish was appropriately done with Shel Silverstein’s “Freaking at the Freaker’s Ball.”  Perfect.  One Helluva night.  A sweet last minute treat for all who attended.

Rating: 8.0

The Zen Tricksters January 22nd, 2012 Brooklyn Bowl Williamsburg, NY

The Zen Tricksters

Set 1:
Greatest Story
Row Jimmy
Down The Road
^Orange Sunshine
^Deal
Call Of the Wild> Jam>
Scarlet Begonias> Jam>
Stella Blue>
Samson & Delilah

Set 2:
Mission In The Rain
All Night Long Blues
Pride Of Cucamonga
Shine Your Light
Alligator>
Lay Your Love> Jam>
Not Fade Away

Encore:
Good Shepherd

^ w/Jaik Miller

Another night at the Bowl.  It would be hard to outdo Saturday Night’s Freak’s Ball, with some of the who’s who in the Jam Band Scene..but, we were looking forward to a solid Grateful Dead Cover Band nonetheless.  Its not easy to see the Tricksters much these days, with Jeff and Rob playing a couple hundred shows a year with DSO, it just doesnt leave much time to see this band.  I was glad to see this unique group, and get down..

We got there around 9pm to see the end of the Giants came.  The 4th quarter was just beginning and the bowl was heating up.  It went on and on, and with a couple minutes left I was worried we might hit OT, and it would be forever before the band went on.  That happened, OT came, and the Giants masterfully put together a drive and field goal to win the NFC championship, and solidify a spot in the SuperBowl, and huge rematch, with the Patriots.   Everybody was going crazy and the Tricksters took the stage

They started with a sweet “Greatest Story” and fed off the energy of the ragin bowl.  They literally started playing four minutes after the game ended, and jelled in perfectly with the chaos.  Half the place was departing, which I was ok with..as the Deadheads knew it was time to dance.  We slowed down a little with Row Jimmy and this was unfortunately a glimpse of how the night would go.  Down the Road was ok..and movin on we finally hit a sweet “Deal.”  They let this one ride..and played it long and hard.  Finally started to feel that Dead beat I was craving..

Scarlet Begonias was good, very good.  It didnt crush it, but it had a nice mellowness to it and really kept us all smiling.  The beats hit right on, so we could move to it and shake our bones right on the ding’s.  Stella Blue put me to sleep, but once Samson and Delilah came on I was able to really shake it out.  Sweet Samson, sweet finish..solid set.

After a quick pic with Baracco (Good Dude), we moved on to the second set.  This one was slow, slow, slow..way too slow.  Come on guys..lots of old people here tonight, but a little disappointing.  It was late on a Sunday night and I was starting to fall asleep.  Im sad to admit I left on “Pride of Cucumonga”, losing faith in the band.  It was a good time to whisk out, as the second set brought out nothing extraordinary.  Overall it was a decent night, but wish they had brought a little more energy with them..

Rating: 7.0

Umphrey’s McGee January 20th, 2012 Best Buy Theater New York, NY

Umphrey’s McGee

Set One
Jazz Odyssey > Booth Love > Rocker Part 2, Conduit > “Jimmy Stewart” > Conduit, Tribute to the Spinal Shaft > Passing > Utopian Fir

Set Two
40’s Theme, Der Bluten Kat > drums^ > All Night Long^ > Der Bluten Kat, The Linear > “Jimmy Stewart” > The Linear > Ringo
Encore
Divisions
Notes
The London Souls opened
^ with Jake on percussion

A Friday night in Times Sq and winter has finally hit.  Cold Air, wind, little snow on the ground..but the hippies will always find a way.  Surprisingly, this show only sold out a couple hours before they hit the stage.  I had never been to an Umphrey’s show, but heard they had some real followers.  I believe they have been on tour for close to fifteen years, and have built up some faithfuls.  I only got into them the last year and was still warming up to their sound.  They have some Lotus, Biscuits, STS9 in them..but they definitely are not that far on the electric side of the jam band spectrum.  I had been listening to new tunes on their albu,, “Death By Stereo”, and felt very fortunate to.  They have a deep bass in their sound that is nicely droning to the senses.  I was ready to experience the real deal with these guys..

Quick note on the Best Buy..its in the middle of Times Square, so your just gonna have to deal with some of the glitz in the theater (its clean and shiny.)  Surprisingly, the prices are not too bad..its a fairly comfortable theater..the floor is ridiculous, as most are, push n shove..the second level is a little better, and the seating has some space..its tough to get a good view here.  the second level, maybe the best option..has way too much movement..its brutal.  I thought this only happened at the Biscuits show, but it occurred for this one too..an issue.  Your either packed on the floor, cant maintain focus or see on the second level, or feel great from the seats, but at a distance.

These guys sounded good..they drone the senses.  You can really feel their beat and want to move with it.  Its a little spacey, a little slow..not prime dancing music.  It wont let you go crazy..but the mellow beat is very soothing.  I was so glad to hear them open with, essentially, “Booth Love.”  Great song off their new album.  The beat is just so chill.  I was not too familiar with the remainder of the first set.  They all had a good groove to them..its tough to get to know the tunes without as many lyrics..and esp. with the improvisational jams..my friend Doug explained this to me, and Im wondering if that decreases band popularity..

Second set was solid. We had a nice mellow start with the 40’s theme, Der Bluten Kat and some dreams…but then we all had to whip our lighters out..we were getting a sick cover..Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.”  The place was rockin’ and we were feelin good.  A little more Jimmy Stewart felt good in the second set and finishing it off with Ringo was a nice finish.  Division was a solid lil Encore and we capped off a decent night.

Id probably rate this a little higher, but I think the venue decreases attention and appreciation..

Rating: 7.5

Top Eleven Jams of 2011

Top Eleven Jams of 2011

This is a compilation of my favorite jams for 2011.  I have not been to all of them, but after listening to enough of them on the “jam on” channel, or you tube, I got a pretty good feeling for them..

#11: Phish “Back on the Train” May 27, 2011 Bethel Woods, NY

Second song, second set..first show of the tour.  We are absolutely on fire now.  The excitement and pure rush of Phish are at equal peaks, and we know there is nowhere in the world we would rather be at this time.  What a sweet version of BOTT..so perfect.  Trey sounded so good, and the dancing was ragin’ at this point..we were all nicely stretched out and the energy was mind poppin’.  Damn it feels good to be a Phishhead..

#10:  moe. “Money” featuring Marley Amico on Sax December 31st, 2011 Portland, ME

We knew the new years eve show would be exciting, but had no clue we were in for this surprise.  First song second set got us off to a nice roll.. a sweet cover of “Money” could only be more amazing with Vinny’s daughter coming out on stage to play the sax.  She was very talented too.  Great jam that had us smiling for the rest of the night..

#9:  String Cheese Incident “Desert Dawn” July 2nd, 2011 Rothbury, MI

For some reason, String Cheese just seems to fit into a festival.  Im not a huge fan when they are just in concert, but when they join in the entire mix, that funky, bluegrassy, spacey feel, fits in very well.  They hit this song on all notes, on a warm Summer day in July, and made it worthy of a top 10 in 2011.

#8: Lotus “Golden Ghost” Toads Place New Haven, CT October 20, 2011

If you told me Lotus would make my Top 10 Jams list in 2011, twice, Id tell you you’re crazy.  I only discovered them this year, and really had no experience with electronic jam bands.  But, they have grown on me, and are really good Live.  I first heard this song at Terminal 5 a month earlier, and fell in love with it.  The choo-choo portion just reminds me of a train pluggin along, as we dance to the beat.  Were all on this train, all on this funky junky ride together.  Nice performace, kicked off a killer night at Toads!

#7: Widespread Panic with Trombone Shorty “Pusherman”  House of Blues Boston MA September 17, 2011

Panic really killed it this year.  For 20 years on tour, they should be very proud of what a banner year they had.  The most disappointing part was that they only decided to play three shows in the NorthEast.  I was lucky enough to catch them in Brooklyn for a great performance.  But, the night before was the real thriller, where they brought out Trombone Shorty for a killer performance, where the trombone really brought this song to the next level.  Nice choice boys.

#6: Widespread Panic “Heartbreaker” Bonarooooooooo  June 12, 2011

Panic comes out again with another killer performance worthy of Top 10 ranking.  “Heartbreaker” is wailed out by Dave Schools, and you can sing it from the mountaintops, because it has that sweet, sweet sound.

#5: Phish “Sand” September 16, 2011 Portsmouth VA

How could Phish not make this list?  Its just a matter of how good a ranking they get.  Coming near the end of one kickass Summer Tour, the sweet sounds of  Sand” echoed all through Virginia, as they boys sounded good as ever playing this sweet, sweet tune.

#4: Umphrey’s McGee “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” November 26, 2011 Chicago, IL

Umphrey’s just had the perfect take on this classic tune.  Brendan Bayliss bails this tune out, and you need to go find it on YouTube.  It touches every thread of the soul, and you feel at peace, and grateful.  I seriously did’nt know Umphrey’s could go to these levels, but they sure have taken it up a notch this year.  Master of covers, fun, and a brand new album, made for a strong 2011.

#3: Phish “Free” Tie: May 28 2011 Bethel Woods, NY, Dec 28 2011, MSG NY, NY

Both of these versions had everyone going berserk, I didnt have the guts to pick one over the other..they were both too damn good.  The first version took place in Bethel Woods..second song, segued from 2nd set opener “Down with Disease.”  Heavy Bass..The entire arena ragin hard..Opening Night, Madison Square Garden..Opening Song, “Free”..first time ver as an opener..enough said.

#2: Phish “YEM” December 29, 2011 MSG New York, NY

Night two at the Garden..Second song..Could it Be?  Is he really whipping out YEM at this point?  I knew they would play it on this run, I mean, for goodness sake, its the new years run, but second night, second song?  For surely this would be a new years eve tune, or at the very least last song second set or even an encore.  Nope, he whipped it out, and the Garden went crizzzazzzzzy!  They played this song to its piques and the garden shook all night long.  This was considered the set of the run, and YEM made it.  Or, shall we follow the term…”YEMSG.”

#1: Furthur featuring Al Schnier and  Clarence Clemons on Sax “Turn on Your Lovelight” April 6, 2011 Boca Raton, FL

Furthur playing Boca in April.  I look at this come up on my Sirius received and get jealous of the beaches and 80 degree weather.  But the real beauty to this tune, is Clarence whaling it out on sax.  He truly was a special act (Sadly, Clarence died a couple weeks after this show.)  My favorite moe.ron, Al Schnier, taking the time to sneak out here after playing Fort Lauderdale the night before, really capped this puppy off.  A truly awesome performance, one Jerry would be proud of, a must see on YouTube, as this can never be dedicated.

Well, thats it folks.  A truly special year on the jam band scene.  Get your cars tuned up for 2012, as its sure to be another rager.

moe. nye State Theater Portland, ME

moe.

{9:02 PM > 9:48 PM EST}
I: Not Coming Down > Wormwood > Deep This Time, Backwoods, Suck A Lemon, 32 Things
{10:18 PM > 11:21 PM EST}
II: Money*# > McBain, Hi & Lo > Big World, Skrunk > Zed Naught Z##
{11:55 PM > 12:46 AM EST}
III: Recreational Chemistry > Auld Lang Syne > Recreational Chemistry > Johnny Lineup%, Haze@ > Buster > Tubing The River Styx > The Pit > Timmy Tucker
Enc: Godzilla**

{* w/ Marley Amico on sax
# LTP > 8/30/03
## completes 12/30/11 version
% LTP > 7/04/10
@ Al on ’74 Gibson double-neck guitar
** w/ Cass Libbers on drums and Vin on percussion with Jim}

New Years eve..the final night of this crazy week after Christmas.  Six shows in six nights.  I was beat but ready for one more.  This is a night to be experienced in the Jam Band world.  I couldnt ask to be anywhere else (but secretly, Id prefer to see Phish in the Garden), but this was a pretty sweet second place.  moe. sounded really good last night, it was a great bunch of fans..and the venue was delightful.  I was very satisfied with my choice, and a nice break from the wild Garden and many phake phish fans.

They started at 9:05 and I was glad I got into the venue on time.  Starting off with a “Not Coming Down” was a sweet welcome.  The venue had lots of free space, I was shocked.  Possibly fans were still shuffling in.  Moving on to the classic “Wormwood” the comfort of a jam came about us, and the dancing eased into all of us.  We felt that sweet serenity of being engulfed in a show with good people.  Smiles all around..Deep this Time, Backwoods (been a long time since I heard that one!), Suck a Lemon (supposed to be encore previous night, but was cut short), and the awesome finisher of 32 things.  A really sweet first set, quick but good.  Looks like were gonna have three!

Second set starts off so solidly with “Money.”  It had been a long time since we heard moe. play a cover, and this was a welcome respite. And, what do we have..? Marley Amico, Vinny’s Daughter, venturing out on the stage to play the sax for us.  A sweet treat for everybody, especially Vinny 🙂  Smooth transition into McBain and a sweet lil Hi & Lo into Big Skrunk and were havin’ a good ol’ time rockin the State Theatre in Portland..finally, a finisher of Zed Naught Z to finish off the 12/30/11 version What?? Yes, awesome.

Third set.  Hell of a show so far.  Feelin pretty good and approachin New Years.  Saw some balloons.  This would not have the hoopla of Phish in the Garden, but I was ok with it.  Holiday craze wears me out, and whoopdeedoo for new years.  A good solid show and little celebration was just what I was looking for.  We start with RecChem, such an awesome song..one of their best in my opinion.  Midnight is approaching and lets see..boom, its here.. HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Balloon’s fall, little kids come out, and some fat dude in a  diaper comes out running around..lil celebration back into RecChem..Woooooeeeee..30 minute RecChem mind you..lovin it onto Johnny Lineup, Haze (schnier is on fire here) into Buster!! dont know Tubing River song..the pit? and finally finish this badass set off with a 20something minute Timmy Tucker!  Great Tucker, great.  Boom.

Encore it up with a solid Godzilla and our night is complete.  A great night, a great weekend, a special week..livin the dream folks, livin the dream..

Rating: 9.0

moe. December 30th, 2011 State Theater, Portland, ME

moe.

{9:21 PM > 10:46 PM EST}

I: Zed Naught Z > head. > Billy Goat, Crab Eyes >(nh) Down Boy > George

{11:22 PM > 12:53 AM EST}

II: The Road > Ricky Marten > Time Ed > The Road, Rainshine, Water, Four > Plane Crash

Enc: Okayalright

The journey continues…after a long night in NYC..the rockin’ afterparty at the Gramercy Theater with Particle, and a good night’s sleep..Portland Maine was the next stop.  You really cant beat the week after Christmas, and the New Years shows around the country.  Furthur in San Francisco, Disco Biscuits in Chicago, Panic in Georgia, String Cheese Incident, Umphreys McGee, and of course, Phish continuing their run at the Garden.  All the heavy hitter..jammer’s could get their fill all across the country.  I chose moe..cheap tickets, nice drive, plus free lodging (my parents have a condo in Kennebunkport, 45mins South of Portland.  I mean, could you really beat this?

It was a solid four hour ride from New Haven to Kennebunkport which gave us twenty minutes to unlock the jointdrop our shit off, and get movin to funkyass Portland.  Another 45 minutes and we found ourselves in the city that would light our next two nights up with joy.  After seeing Phish in the Garden a couple nights, and a damn good time, I was ready for Maine.  A much cleaner fresher place.  A fanbase that knew their music and was a little more mature than the drunk college prep at the Phish show, there for the shrooms.  I was happy to be in a more comfortable environment, with some educated phans.

Took a little while to get in the theater, but man, what a beautiful place.  From a porn theater in 1990 to a kickin music mecca since 2010..(moe. played here around the opening.)  Looks like a solid 2100, but dont quote me on that.  Great floor, along with a couple other levels.  There were a decent amount of seats for the old people too, but really ended up being occupied by the folks who ended up trippin a bit too hard.

moe. started out with one of their new tunes which I was not too familiar with.  Zed Naught Zed..a pretty good jam..but we really started to move when they whipped into Head..played really hard and with a ton of emotion..people started to move, and I found myself in a very comfortable aisle.  Fan favorite crab eyes came out and it felt so good to sing along with that addictive little tune that just seems to get stuck in your head.  Down Boy>George>Zed Naught Z.  Wow, what a finish to the first set.  So comfortable in this theater..so comfy with the phans..cheap prices, free water, good ol’ guy at the Merch table every show (still dont know his name).  I was so glad I chose moe..and off the the Happy Hour Heroes table.

Fun meeting with some energy and heart.  We were all so pumped to be at such a great show, State and in such a great state of mind.  We were the lucky ones and were able to express it.  Livin the good life.  Livin the good life.  Great meeting, plus I met a sweet girl who is into rockin and hoola hoopin, whats better? 🙂

Movin on to the second set, We start with “The Road” and our juices get pumpin.  We go into Ricky and the energy level comes back, finally into an awesome “Time Ed.”  Now Im lovin it and so psyched to hear this tune.  Time Ed just gets so deep in your head, you feel like youve gone into a little time machine amd into your own little universe.  The timing is perfect, halfway through the second set.  Back to the Road we go to finish the long jam off and now Im feeling completed elated.

We start with Rainshine, a tune I was not familiar with..then Water.  Yes, that Water.  Such a good song it makes you want to dance.  It grasps your head, shakes it a little and then shakes your whole body.  I got to dance with Sonya a little this set and what a great gal she is.  She found us a great dancing spot and view, upstairs.  We had a fun conversation..most specifically that SHE was at the 4/6/11 performance of “Turn On YOur Lovelight”, featuring Furthur, Al Schnier and Clarence Clemons in Boca.  THE jam of the year folks.

Four>Plane Crash to finish the set off.  Damn was that good.  Damn do I feel good.  Good, Good, Good.  Sweet lil Okay, Alright Encore and we call it a night.  This was one refreshing experience.  One incredible good time.  Old friends, great venue, great location, sick band..couldnt ask for anything more…or, well, a three set new years show. 🙂

Rating: 8.5

Particle December 29th 2011 Gramercy Theater New York NY

Particle

Well, hell, somehow, after three shows in the last four nights, I still had some kind of energy for an aftershow.  Mind you, an aftershow from the best Phish show of my life.  We had prepared well by parking close to the theater and having a nice getaway car home.   We arrived to the theater about 20 minutes before showtime,  Met the craigslist scalper, (I dont consider him a bad person considering I only paid $15 per tic), and went in the door.  Cool theater, really cool theater.  If you get a chance, check this place out.  It has a sweet dance floor and probably another 150 seats.  Good capacity of 500 for smaller bands.  Get close and enjoy the show.

Particle has some deep similarities to STS9, Lotus and other electronic trance techno dubstep type bands.  They have to fit somewhere in the middle of all this.  I was not sure what I was in for, but the crowd was definitely hippyish, which was a good sign, esp. in nyc.  Lights went down around 12:30, show starts.  The lead guitarist and bassist are great.  They really bring the jams deep and continue on the path of jam, to not give into a quick close.

I stayed for the first set and it was a perfect close to a perfect night.  Phish played one of their top shows of 2011, without a doubt.  These guys were a nice discovery and well worth the $15 I paid.  I look forward to seeing them again soon.