On Saturday, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong made their The Capitol Theatre debut in Port Chester, New York, which also marked their first-ever sold-out show at the historic venue. Last night’s show marked a big step for the rising jam band, who can now confidently state that they belong in a select class of artists who have managed to sell-out “The Cap” over the years, and they did so three weeks ahead of the big show. The four-piece rock band brought their trademark mix of strong collaborative jams, high energy, and easygoing vibes for the milestone, 17-song performance over two sets and an encore, which even included a fun tribute to one of The Cap’s most beloved jam bands of the past.
The night’s music began with Twiddle guitarist/singer Mihali Savoulidis treating the “Flockers” who arrived at the venue early with a thrilling one-man opening performance with just himself, his acoustic guitar, and a well-utilized looping pedal. The singer and guitarist, who is well known within the jam scene, had no problem getting the fun going with a mix of Twiddle tunes and a few select originals from his small but potent solo catalog.
Mihali – The Capitol Theatre – 1/26/2019
Pigeons took the stage shortly following Mihali’s exit from the stage around 9:30, and were welcomed by the exuberant roar of their dedicated fans who were thrilled to see the fellas back in the New York area within the first few dates of their 2019 winter tour. Singer/guitarist Greg Ormont wasted no time in thanking “[Their] brother and friend Mihali” as the opener before diving right into “Time To Ride”. The groovy song took flight with a fantastic guitar solo courtesy of Jeremy Schon (his first of many throughout the night) while Ormont and bassist Ben Carrey kept busy having fun with their own back-and-forth stage antics. From the get-go, it was clear the guys were sure to have as much fun throughout their Capitol Theatre headlining debut as possible, and their fans were right there along with for the ride. The opening set continued into “Trouble”, a funky instrumental from their 2010 Funk – EP, followed by “Melting Lights” with another fantastic solo from Schon.
The band brought out the members of West End Blend horn section, John Mundy and Mike Bafundo, to help them perform “Live It Up” and “Fortress”, before inviting Mihali to join in on the fun during “Too Long”. The high-energy first set kept rolling as Pigeons launched into the familiar opening riff to “Poseidon”, which eventually transitioned into a thrilling cover of the Grateful Dead‘s “Eyes of the World“, a fitting tribute to a band which made The Cap their home throughout the years. The cover wasn’t without some sly lyrical updates from Ormont, who threw in “Wake up to find out that you are the size of a squirrel” during the anthemic chorus–a nod to the historic theatre’s fuzzy mascot. The band triumphantly transitioned back into “Poseidon” to close out the first set.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong – The Capitol Theatre – 1/26/2019
The energy carried right into the second half of the show as the band returned to get the party going again with the psychedelic sounds of “Kiwi”, “Yo Soy Fiesta” (one of their newer songs), and “Burning Up My Time”. Carrey and drummer Alex Petropulos were locked in with some impressive collaborative solo work between the two before the rest of the band (along with the West End Blend horns) joined back in. They rolled into a multi-song run starting with “Spacejam” and continuing right into “The Hop” followed by their own fan-favorite sing-a-long anthem, “F.U.”. The wild and fun second half came to a thrilling conclusion with “Upfunk” and “Dawn a New Day”.
The West End Blend horns were brought back out for an encore that started with “Doc”. The band’s heady instrumental, “Schwanthem”, came next, which transitioned right into one of their trademark Disney covers with “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas, before returning to “Schwanthem” to close the show. Fans were sent home happy and exhausted knowing that the band absolutely brought their A-game for what was possibly the biggest gig of their careers to date.
Pigeons continue their winter run later this week with a show at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia alongside The Fritz on Wednesday night. Fans can head over to the PPPP website for ticket info.
Setlist: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | The Capitol Theatre | Port Chester, NY | 1/26/2019
Set One: Time to Ride, Totally, Melting Lights > Live It Up*, Fortress*, Too Long**, Poseidon > Eyes of the World (Grateful Dead cover) > Poseidon
Set Two: Kiwi > Yo Soy Fiesta*, Burning Up My Time* > Spacejam* > The Hop* > F.U.* > Upfunk, Dawn a New Day
Encore: Doc*, Schwanthem* > Colors of the Wind* (Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz cover) > Schwanthem*
* w/West End Blend horns