The mighty moe. showcased impressive cohesion and newfound vigor throughout its weekend run at Fort Collins, CO’s intimate 900-capacity Washington’s. After a period of challenging times due to sources internal (health-related) and worldwide (COVID), moe. has seemingly finally healed, processed the changes, and is moving forward with an impressively uniform stride into a new era of excellence. Throughout Saturday and Sunday’s four sets and nightly encores, fans new and old were treated to a prime example of just how good this edition of moe. is and the potential it has to grow even mightier.

Kicking the weekend off with the country vibe of “Time Again”, the audience was given a splendid testimonial to what this new era exemplifies. Well-worn patterns were slightly divergent, from the sing-a-longs containing a slightly different register to the snappy interplay of drummer Vinnie Amico and percussionist Jim Loughlin’s often under-appreciated washboard skills. The new energy was closer to the forefront of the as-usual delicious sonic nourishment found in a slice of “Blue Jean’s Pizza” followed by one of the best things to come out of moe.’s COVID works, bassist Rob Derhak‘s opus “Ups And Downs”.

moe. — Washington’s — Fort Collins, CO — 3/23/24 — Preview

To close out this hardy first set, moe. went into the lab and cooked up a sweet “Recreational Chemistry” that reinforced the creative worthiness of this new configuration. The song is one of the oldest and most beloved of moe.’s catalog and was met with rafter-shaking cheers when the first concrete note hit the ears and hearts of the wall-to-wall assemblage. Keyboardist Nate Wilson, the latest addition to the band, isn’t just looking for places to fill in a sonic crack anymore, well-worn grooves and spots are waiting for him that only come from getting the reps in.

With that new keys and organ element in place Derhak’s epic space fuzz bass solos, Loughlin’s melodic marimba excursions, and the always enthralling guitar wizardry of Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier can continue to evolve, just like moe. itself. Over the course of the explorative stages of the “Recreational” jam, there was the unpredictability you’ll always find in improvisational, collective enterprise but it was no longer drastically influenced by unfamiliarity.

Returning to the stage to find the crowd hungry for more of this new era, moe. knew well enough from its decades of working the crowd that what they needed was a healthy serving of musical protein. Luckily the band had a big, juicy “Meat” sandwich on the menu. After a solid opening stanza, Garvey dropped into the dark, looping drone of his “New Hope For The New Year”.

Stand-alone versions of the Wilson-penned “In Stride” and the classic “Happy Hour Hero” provided a bit of beef to the center of the set. Thanks to its roadhouse riff and historical use as a song for sit-ins, “Hero” in particular is one of the songs that has benefited most directly from this new era. From there the always welcome visit from “Buster” and his more insidious sibling link lifted the long and narrow room’s vibe to new heights before giving way to the second, wild and wooly half of the soul-satisfying “Meat”.

As always, guitarist Al Schnier came out with a clutch of notes and well wishes for the audience during the comically unorganized “al.nouncements” segment of the show. After wishing everyone well, moe. fittingly finished the evening with “Rocky Mountain Way” which featured some talk box shenanigans from Garvey and some fun higher register vocals from Wilson that did a spot-on job evoking the spirit of the tune’s author, Joe Walsh. Satisfied fans scattered out into the chilly Fort Collins evening with thoughts of the fun yet to come to keep them warm until they got home for such much-needed rest.

Setlist: moe. | Washington’s | Fort Collins, CO | 3/23/24

Set One: Time Again, Paper Dragon, Again and Again, Blue Jeans Pizza > Ups and Downs, Recreational Chemistry

Set Two: Meat > New Hope for the New Year, In Stride, Happy Hour Hero, Downward Facing Dog > Buster > Meat

Encore: al.nouncements, Rocky Mountain Way (Joe Walsh)

Night two immediately got to cruising speed while still edging toward new territory thanks to a quick, more whimsical than usual, sonic trip to “New York City”. Stopping to see/hear a fierce “Yellow Tigers” on “The Road” back to Washington’s, moe. was warmed up and let the rest of the set merge with seemingly effortless ease. The many peaks of “Hi and Lo” quickly got down, ’round, and dirty in “Big World” before the dance energy of “Ricky Martin” found its way to the set-closing “Plane Crash”.

Sensing the same hunger in the audience that led to Saturday night’s “Meat” sandwich, moe. served up Sunday’s special, another heaping non-stop set sandwiched nicely between twin slabs of “Zed Nought Z”. The crunchy “Zed” was followed by a wicked “Tailspin” > “Timmy Tucker” pairing that got the oldest fans’ palettes salivating for more. “Tucker” served as the real heart of the set, and after all these years can still leave fans hungry for more after a solid 20 minutes of intense jamming.

Though the “Tucker” could easily be thought of as the main course of the set, that’s not to say that the follow-up tracks, “Rise” and “Puebla, weren’t delightful as well. The last song before the looming set-closing “Zed” reprise was an extended and inexplicably distorted “Puebla” with the whole band getting multiple chances to show their most towering rock chops.

Those top-shelf chops, on full display all weekend, have become so expected from moe. that it’s easy to lose sight of how impressively talented they are as a collective. The bigger-than-the-sum-of-its-parts aspect of moe.’s sound has never been as diverse and ripe with potential as it is now. As the second round of al.nouncements for the weekend finished and the band launched into “Gone”, it began to settle in on the fans that, as the song was saying so poignantly, this show, like the previous eras of moe. was transient. On a long enough timeline, everything comes and goes in its own time but that’s what gives the beautiful things in life their meaning, isn’t it?

“Get busy living or get busy dying” is an echoing truism from unending replays of The Shawshank Redemption (thanks TBS!). Judging by the massive cheers and exhaustive state of the audience after the jam-packed weekend, the legend of this new era is already starting to form. While it will, by nature, take time and perspective to judge and appreciate it in contrast to the rest of the stylistic permutations the band has gone through, moe. has clearly gotten itself busy living, growing and, most importantly rocking the crowd as hard as ever. What more could any true fan or moe.ron want?

moe. will return to the road for a string of festival appearances beginning on April 21st at SweetWater 420 Fest in Atlanta, and the band just extended its upcoming Best.Summer.Ever tour, which includes shows with Daniels Donato’s Cosmic Country and Neighbor. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit the band’s website.

moe. — Washington’s — Fort Collins, CO — 3/24/24 — Full Audio

[Audio: jessedscott]

Setlist: moe. | Washington’s | Fort Collins, CO | 3.24.24

Set One: 1 New York City, Yellow Tigers (Ghosts of Jupiter), The Road, Hi & Lo > Big World > Ricky Martin > Plane Crash

Set Two: Zed Nought Z > Tailspin > Timmy Tucker > Living Again > Rise > Puebla > Zed Nought Z

Encore: al.nouncements, Gone