It’s hard to say who is happier about moe. returning to the venerable Red Rocks Amphitheater stage: their fans or the band themselves. After being forced to cancel last year’s scheduled performance at the iconic venue due to bassist Rob Derhak‘s cancer diagnosis, moe. has been eager to make it back to Colorado’s iconic venue. Luckily for everyone, Derhak’s treatment was a success, a new date was found, and the show goes on.

The last time moe. brought their avante-garde blend of rock, jazz, and funk to Red Rocks, the occasion was emotional, to say the least. The band was certainly happy to be co-headlining with longtime friends Gov’t Mule but saddened by the recent passing of longtime band follower and friend Glenn Roberts. moe. leaned heavily on songs they knew their late friend loved for the setlist and gave a moving tribute to him during the show. You check out their moving performance from 2016 below.

moe. – Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO – 8/25/2016

[Video: Robb McKeever]

moe. has always maintained a close relationship with their fan base. From their numerous wacky social media videos to their routine scheduling of meet and greets and signings, the band makes themselves accessible to their fans. One of the recurrent themes of these interactions is the sincerity with which the band members thank their fans for the energy and love they feel from their audience. More than just an army of strangers in the flashing lights, they see a sea of friends, feel the love, and try their damnedest to return it a hundredfold.

Diehard moe.rons are eagerly anticipating this show for a number of reasons. First and most importantly, their beloved band has been on fire since last year’s hiatus ended. The twin guitar attack of Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier has never sounded better. Schnier kept himself busy during the hiatus as did percussionist Jim Loughlin and drummer Vinnie Amico. Schnier made appearances with the Matt Butler-conducted Everyone Orchestra, Amico continued to play with his side project Floodwood, and Loughlin joined Mike Dillon for some serious vibraphone workouts. Schnier and Amico went so far as to team with Aqueous for a mix of both bands material dubbed moe.queous at the musical mix-and-match madhouse that is Brooklyn Comes Alive.

All this woodshedding coupled with the joy of their bassist’s successful and speedy recovery has seemed to infuse moe. with a fresh fire. Their shows since their return from hiatus have been extremely well-received by a fan base truly relieved to have their band back. Old fans and new alike are making their plans to flock to the Red Rocks show, sure in their feeling that this is going to be a performance not to be missed.

Speaking of flocks, one of the bands on last year’s canceled bill, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, is flying out to open the show. On a tear of their own, the funky jam-band road warriors from Baltimore have been seeing crowds grow nightly and will surely be making themselves some new fans at the show. If the collaboration between moe. and Pigeons in their show announcement video is any hint, lucky attendees are likely to see some seriously silly sit-ins.

It’s a rare confluence that a band playing some of their finest music, an opening act capable of fireworks of their own, and one of the greatest music venues in the world come together. moe. has embraced their return with an impressive mix of humility and determination that has even their oldest fans sitting up and taking notice. Any show at Red Rocks is an event, but this one has all the earmarks of a truly massive milestone show. One thing is for sure: in the moments before moe.’s first note is played, the smiles on the faces of the fans and the band will be one and the same. You can buy tickets for moe.’s return to Red Rocks on July 12th with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong here.