Last night at The Fillmore Philadelphia, hell froze over as Satan himself, Chuck Garvey, retook his rightful place onstage with moe. Arriving just over a year after the co-founding guitarist suffered a stroke, the New Year’s Eve concert marked his first live appearance since the band’s 2021 Halloween show at the same venue.
Back on November 6th, moe. finished out a three-night run at Boulder’s Fox Theatre with the al.nouncement fans had been waiting for: Chuck would return to the stage as a “special guest” on New Year’s Eve. As if the revelation needed any additional significance, it arrived on the one-year anniversary of Garvey’s stroke.
Leading up to the show, there was no clarification as to what exactly Chuck’s role would entail. As moe. took the stage on Saturday following an opening set from Eggy, the band boasted its altered touring lineup of Al Schnier (guitar, vocals), Rob Derhak (bass, vocals), Vinnie Amico (drums), and Jim Loughlin (percussion) joined by Michael “Suke” Cerulo (guitar) and Nate Wilson (keyboards), who have stepped in to fill the sonic space vacated by Chuck. Also joining the band was The Horn Section (Chris Brouwers, Josh Schwartz, and Greg Sanderson), who would lend their brass to a number of cover debuts throughout the show.
Cruising through originals “Spaz Medicine”, “Jazz Cigarette”, and “Dangerous Game” alongside covers like Paul Simon‘s “Late in the Evening” and The Rolling Stones‘ “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”, the first set unfolded in the fashion fans have adjusted to over the past year and change. Then, after “Sensory Deprivation Bank”, Derhak started chugging out the intro to “meat.” as Garvey emerged from the wings to an eruption of applause.
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Cerulo and Wilson graciously stepped aside as Chuck jovially waltzed onstage, displaying the vigor of health with his simple, easy movement. If there was any doubt about Chuck’s physical stamina, the ferocious 20-plus-minute “meat.” put it to rest.
As the band took its last set break of 2022, uncertainty surrounding Chuck’s involvement in the remainder of the program remained. With the monstrous set-closing “meat.” he had already proven his virility beyond a doubt, so when the band’s original lineup (plus Wilson) retook the stage for the second set, a semblance of normalcy washed over the group and its fans for the first time in over a year.
“I can’t tell ya how happy we are to be here, holy s—t,” Derhak said at one point during the second set. “I want to thank you folks for being here. You guys are why we keep doing this thing, you make it so wonderful for us. I can’t put into words what it’s like to finally play music again with my buddy Chuck. Our buddy Chuck.”
The band proceeded to blaze through beloved originals including “Not Coming Down”, “Wormwood”, “Okayalright”, and “Nebraska”. “Johnny Lineup”, which typically pops up about once a year, etched its fourth appearance of 2022 during the second set, after which came a stellar run of covers.
The Horn Section bolstered the band through takes on The Band‘s “Ophelia” and Little Feat‘s “Spanish Moon”, with the ball dropping during the Feats Don’t Fail Me Now classic as umbrella-equipped, sequined dancers joined the band onstage. After mankind rolled the odometer over to 2023, moe. fittingly covered the Rocky theme “Gonna Fly Now”, which both served as a nod to the City of Brotherly Love and perfectly encapsulated the moe. spirit of overcoming all obstacles.
The group even snuck in a brief detour through the It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia classic “Dayman” before a classy take on Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” and finally “Plane Crash” to close the set. Coming back out for the encore, all hands were on deck including Suke for “Blue Jeans Pizza” to send grateful moe.rons into the new year.
moe. is set to return to the road later this month on a winter tour and has yet to make an announcement regarding Garvey’s full-time return to performing. For a full list of upcoming moe. dates, head here. For a full list of upcoming Eggy tour dates, head here. Scroll down for the complete setlist and photos as well as full-set videos from the New Year’s Eve/return of the Chuck celebration via Ira Heller.
moe. – The Fillmore Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA – 12/31/22 – Set One
moe. – The Fillmore Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA – 12/31/22 – Set Two
Setlist: moe. | The Fillmore Philadelphia | Philadelphia, PA | 12/31/22
Set One: Spaz Medicine, Late in the Evening (Paul Simon), Jazz Cigarette, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) (Rolling Stones) , Dangerous Game, Sensory Deprivation Bank, meat.
Set Two: Not Coming Down, Wormwood, Okayalright, Nebraska, Johnny Lineup, Ophelia (The Band), Spanish Moon (Little Feat), Gonna Fly Now (Bill Conti) , Dayman (Cormac Bluestone, Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Scott Marder, & Robert Rosell) , 25 or 6 to 4 (Chicago) , Plane Crash
Encore: Blue Jeans Pizza
The show featured The Horn Section throughout as well as Chuck Garvey on “meat.” through the rest of the show, marking the guitarist’s first live performance since suffering a stroke on November 6th, 2021.