Words by: Rich Lieberman | Images by: Dino Perrucci
moe. :: 06.15.08 :: Governor's Island :: New York, NY
Board a ferry from the financial district along Manhattan's southern coastline and in five short minutes you're docked at Governor's Island. A National Historic Landmark, the island was home to the Army and Coast Guard for over 200 years. It boasts two 18th century forts, a prison for captured Confederate soldiers, pre-Civil War arsenal buildings, Victorian structures and early 20th century neo-classical architecture. On this beautiful evening there was a planned invasion of tie-dye and peaceful vibes as fans of jam band powerhouse moe. stormed the shoreline.
moe. :: 06.15 :: Governor's Island :: New York|
As the NYC summer concert season begins to roll with big time artists taking to open air spaces amongst the steel and concrete skylines, moe. stood poised and ready to christen a new outdoor venue and summer concert series. This evening's show represented the first-ever large-scale performance on Governors Island. Over two consecutive days, moe. packed in tons of music for NYC, adding a visit to the Sirius Satellite Radio studios and a Headcount benefit acoustic performance followed by a full show at the Highline Ballroom (see below for Highline coverage).
This was my maiden voyage to Governor's Island and my first impression was a good one. The ferry ride was quick and painless, offering stunning views of the skyline, harbor and the Statue of Liberty. A short walk past a cool looking circular fort (Castle Williams) sits the concert field. The medium sized, V-shaped open space had trees and Victorian period brick row houses lining either side, providing the feel of being in the middle of Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The stage was set at the far apex of the field. Magic Hat beer, food, concert shwag and non-profit tables were conveniently located off to the side in full view of the stage. The Highline Ballroom promotes this concert series and they know how to host a live music event. Stage right, a DJ spun for our pre-show and setbreak listening pleasure, and the Highline waitresses and bartenders also made the trip to provide bar service throughout. The ferry schedule was one area for future improvement. There is only one boat and it makes only a handful of scheduled runs. Since it's the only way to and from the island, one must plan accordingly. However, the weather couldn't have been more perfect for an outdoor concert and the excitement was palpable as moe. took to the stage just after 7 p.m.
The opening power chords to "Tailspin" filled the air and the moe.ron's were off boogying, "spinning around again, caught in the tailspin." This sweet show opener paved the way to the soothing groove and fluid guitar riffs of "Bring You Down."
Brooks & Derhak - moe. :: 06.15 :: Governor's Island :: New York|
"Thanks for making your way to Governor's Island! We know it's not an easy place to get to. Thanks for comin' out on a Sunday night in the summer at a place where you have to take a ferry to get here and on Fathers Day. Happy Fathers Day!" offered the band.
The guitars of Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey dueled beautifully during "Rise," weaving in and out of each other's lines with precision. RatDog saxophonist Kenny Brooks was announced to the stage, lending his horn to an extended Grateful Dead inspired jam that gradually and seamlessly segued into "Happy Hour Hero" to the crowd's delight. The faithful joined Rob Derhak for "one more bottle," as they sang in lockstep. Brooks' sax was a wonderful addition to the tasty mix that made up a strong first set.
The band picked right up where they left off with a rollicking "Head" to begin part two of the program. The spacey interlude provided a runway to take off as the sun dropped below the trees. Garvey's fiery guitar work would make Carlos Santana proud as the boys slipped into "Time Ed" and circled back to the climax of "Head." With a great setlist, moe. delivered a gem, and a tasty "Brent Black" > "She" > "Brent Black" sandwich closed the second set.
With a tip of the hat to NYC's own Ramones, the band launched into old punk favorite "I Wanna Be Sedated" for the encore. With twenty-twenty-twenty-four hours still to go here in NYC moe. did it up right as they christened a great new venue.
It's worth noting that the promoters for this concert series took numerous steps to help reduce the impact on the national park's environment: Beer was served in biodegradable cups, everything that could be recycled was, a water bottle exchange allowed people to redeem empties for full ones and the concert is accessible (both to the public and crew) only by public transit.
Ready to trade in the ferry for a subway ride, it was onto The Highline Ballroom.
moe. :: 06.15.08 :: Governors Island, New York
Set I: Tailspin, Darkness, Bring You Down, Tambourine, Rise1, Happy Hour Hero1
Set II: Head > Time Ed > Head, Four, Spaz Medicine, Brent Black > She > Brent Black
Encore: I Wanna Be Sedated
1 with Kenny Brooks on sax(RatDog)
Continue reading for coverage from 06.16 at the Highline Ballroom...