Pigeons Playing Ping Pong concluded their three-night Colorado run this weekend in Denver, CO at the Ogden Theatre. The Baltimore natives are currently amidst a nationwide tour in support of their latest LP, Pizazz, and have been consistently selling out venues, night after night, across the nation.
This weekend was no exception, and the Saturday night rager marked the band’s largest headlining gig to date. The night was also full of surprises, with the announcement made by Greg “Scrambled Greg” Ormont that Pigeons will be joining moe. at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre July 12th (see official announcement here). The newly announced show is somewhat of a rescheduling, as the bands were originally scheduled to perform together last summer, though the gig was abruptly canceled following bassist Rob Derhak’s diagnosis with cancer and the start of moe.’s sudden hiatus.
On Saturday night, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong got settled in from the drop of the first note with a “Walk Outside” opener, followed by a funked-out “Porcupine”, with lighting designer Manny Newman showcasing his unique and mind-bending approach on the lights. By way of a rhythmic break, the song dropped into the bubbly and feel-good “Totally”, with guitarist Jeremy Schon fully locked in while leading the quartet into deep jam territory. Drummer Alex “Gator” Petropulos and bassist Ben Carrey laid down the steady backbone, allowing Schon and guitarist Greg Ormont to comfortably hop in and out of the main groove on the drop of a dime.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong offered up a tasty palindrome next, with “Horizon” > “I Wanna Be Like You” > “Bare Necessities” > “I Wanna Be Like You” > “Horizon”. The band seamlessly wove in and out of “Horizon” and “I Wanna Be Like You”, driving the crowd into a frenzy with their cover of “Bare Necessities” from Disney’s The Jungle Book. This past New Year’s Eve in Covington, KY, the band offered up a Disney-themed setlist, and clearly, enjoyed the compositions enough to incorporate them into their recent setlists.
The psychedelic rock number “Whirled” was up next. Kicking the tempo up a few notches, Schon took advantage of the solid rhythmic base, shredding to multiple dramatic peaks before dropping back into the songs main theme. A silky-smooth “Julia” followed, highlighted by Ormont’s powerful and charismatic vocals, before “Avalanche” brought the first set to a close.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong returned after set-break with “Fade Fast”. During the beginning of the song, Ormont and Schon stepped side by side to the front of the stage and offered up their take on how a couple of birds would dance. With Ormont, Schon, and Carrey laying down a captivating three-part harmony, the band spread the wings and soared into space, before dropping into “Melting Lights”. With a shoulder-to-shoulder sold-out crowd, the enthusiastic room lent a helping hand to the band on vocals, before Schon stepped to the front of the stage and offered up a mean solo.
“Pigs (3 Different Ones)” featured more funky and gritty vocals from Ormont and saw Schon once again showcase his agility and creativity as he offered up a roaring guitar solo. At the center of Pigeon’s second set was an extended “Poseidon”. With Ormont providing the vocals, the quartet meticulously wove through “Poseidon”, as Petropulos brought the jam home with monstrous hits on the skins.
“Couldn’t We All” came next, before the bouncy familiar groove of “Dawn A New Day” rang out. The energy onstage was contagious and the audience helped Pigeons Playing Ping Pong celebrate their biggest feat in grandiose fashion–selling out the beloved Ogden Theatre in Denver. “Ocean Flows” brought the second set heater to a close, with the Rocky Mountain high audience begging for more. After a brief break, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong returned for their encore, as the crowd exploded with excitement and approval. Pigeons treated Denver with a blazing two-song encore, with “Bad For You” and ending with “Doc”.
You can check out the full setlist from Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s two-set Saturday night funk-fest below, as well as a photo gallery from Silky Shots.
Setlist: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Ogden Theatre | Denver, CO | 3/10/18
I: Walk Outside, Porcupine, Totally, Horizon > I Wanna Be Like You > Bare Necessities > I Wanna Be Like You > Horizon > Whirled, Julia, Avalanche
II: Fade Fast, Melting Lights > Pigs (3 Different Ones) > Poseidon, Couldn’t We All, Dawn A New Day, Ocean Flows
E: Bad For You, Doc