Playing the Capitol Theatre for the first time since their show with Medeski, Martin, & Wood on October 5th, 1996, moe. seemed determined to bring out the old magic that this building seems to do so easily since reopening its doors recently. With one of the best production systems and lighting rigs of any venue in the country, a plethora of bars that feature a great beer and liquor selection, and a super-friendly staff, The Cap lends itself to making any show played here a night to remember. And with moe. playing on this particular night, there just seemed to be something special in the air.
moe. opened up the night with “Rainshine”. I was hoping for something a bit bigger, but it was solid a version. And then the fun began. They slowly start that jazzy swing of “Don’t Fuck With Flo” and it turned into fire! Jim on his xylophone was straight nasty. They segued nicely into “Tubing the River Styx”, which always leads into “The Pit”, but not this time; they went into “Shoot First” (always a Chuckin’ good time in that one)! In all the years I’ve been listening to moe., “The Pit” has never not been played after “Tubing”. It wasn’t the buttery smooth segue we have become used to, but more of a start stop on this particular occasion. We received a solid “Shoot First”. And this is where the first set gets even better; a standalone “Bones of Lazarus”! The Capitol’s lighting setup & moe.’s rig sure was visually spectacular. moe.’s lights + the Cap’s video across the ceiling = great combo! They ended the first set with a fun “Jazz Wank”, which was jammed nicely; also, I think there was a Runaway Jim tease somewhere in there. “Wank” smoothly segued into “Buster” (always a fan favorite). Al & Jim were the standouts first set.
Second set opened similar to the first set. They opened with new song “Smoke”; really nothing to write home about other than the no-huddle into “Threw it All Away”. Just like the first set, the second song brought the energy level way up and was a groovin’ dance party, but that was to be short lived. The new Chuck tune “Suck a Lemon” came after and sort of sucked the energy out of the room. It’s not that it’s a bad song; it’s just that the placement of it at this point in the evening is questionable. The only thing I noticed different about this version (vs. the studio) was the “La-La’s” at the end of the song. But after “Suck a Lemon” it turned into your typical moe. second set. Then the dance party began – “Time Ed > Y.O.Y. > Spine of a Dog > Time Ed Reprise > Spine of a Dog > Plane Crash”. Tight multiple song segues and plenty of improv was just what the doctor ordered! All four of these songs were held together by the amazing percussion of Vinnie & Jim. Driving drums, shredding guitars, sing-alongs took the crowd for quite the ride. After a brief encore break & “al”nouncements, they were ready to get back where they finished the second set.
The energy level of the place stayed high going into the encore. “Seat of My Pants” started out with fun reverb. It had its happy, fun, bouncy vibe, and then dove deep into that dark jam that “SOMP” gets to. Waiting for the segue into “Y.O.Y” (to finish from second set), they went into “Zed Naught Z”!!! Not as spacey as some versions, but still sick. Again, still waiting to finish “Y.O.Y”, they segue into “Spaz Medicine”. (It was played well but I would have preferred if they finished “Y.O.Y.” then segued into finishing “Zed Naught Z”). “Spaz” made a nice transition back in “Zed Naught Z” to finish out the show.
Overall, there were some highs and lows, but this was a solid moe. show. The vibe and energy at the Cap makes any show seen there that much better. You can feel the history in between those walls, that it is almost palpable. What Peter Shapiro has done with this venue is incredible, and many kudos go to him for having the tenacity to make this dream come true. Here is to many more amazing times at one of the best venues to open in recent history.
Set I: Rainshine, Don’t Fuck With Flo > Tubing the River Styx > Shoot First, Bones of Lazarus, Jazz Wank > Buster
Set II: Smoke > Threw It All Away, Suck A Lemon, Time Ed > Y.O.Y. > Spine Of A Dog > Time Ed > Spine Of A Dog > Plane Crash
Encore: Seat of My Pants, Zed Naught Z > Spaz Medicine > Zed Naught Z