moe. Plays Valentine’s In Albany On This Date In 1996

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Tonight, moe. continues their return to the stage following bassist Rob Derhak’s battle with cancer to play the first of two shows at The Palace Theatre in Albany, New York. Albany is perhaps outside of Buffalo, the city where the band was formed, the most important city in moe. history. The group lived in Albany during the years in which they grew from a regional act to a nationally-touring band. For much of that time Valentine’s was their home venue and one of the best shows moe. played at the now-closed venue took place on this date in 1996.

moe.’s February 23, 1996 performance at Valentine’s featured many of the songs that continue to be staples of the group’s live shows as well as a few tunes that have been mothballed. The band, which at the time featured Derhak on bass, guitarists Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier and drummer Chris Mazur, opened with “Ugly American” and quickly trainwrecked. Derhak joked, “We’re Ominous Seapods” in regards to another band growing out of the Capital District scene at the time. moe. then nailed “Ugly American,” a song that was last played on New Year’s Eve ’14 at The Palace.

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The memorable moe. show in Albany continued with a “St. Augstine” featuring Chuck “Chitlins” Garvey on slide. Chuck shined on “St. Augustine” but absolutely tore up the “Rebubula” that followed. “32 Things” came next along with a version of Garvey’s “Y.O.Y.” that started with a taste of “Sweet Home Alabama.” At the time, moe. was varying through a handful of renditions of “She Sends Me” and the one played in Albany was of the slow and funky variety as Derhak utilized an envelope filter on his bass. “Seat Of My Pants” served as the set-closer 22 years ago tonight.

When moe. came out for the second set they started jamming on Steely Dan’s “Josie” with Garvey playing the vocal line on guitar. Shortly thereafter, Derhak slapped out the line that signaled the beginning of “Timmy Tucker.” Chuck kept the “Josie” teases coming throughout the stellar, 20-minute “Timmy.” Next up was “I Wanna Be 10,” an original debuted a month earlier that wouldn’t make it past April.

moe.’s February ’96 show at Valentine’s continued with a raging “Time Again” in celebration of a fan’s birthday ahead of an adventurous “Recreational Chemistry.” From there, the quartet dipped again into recently-debuted material for Garvey’s “Four.” Chuck’s song, unveiled a month earlier, has stood the test of time. The guitarist’s early “Four” solos were jazzy excursions. The set rolled on with a masterful “Dr. Graffenburg” > “Buster” sequence that saw Garvey play sax for part of the former number.

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Schnier then led the group on one of just eight documented versions of “Home On The Range” as an intro for “Spine Of The Dog.” Two more new songs were up next. First was the instrumental “CalifornIA,” which still gets played from time-to-time and then moe. tackled Schnier’s “Guitar” which hasn’t been performed since 2001. The foursome said farewell with one of their oldest tunes: “Don’t Fuck With Flo.”

Listen to a recording of moe.’s February 23, 1996 show shared by Sapo:

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Setlist

Set One: Ugly American*, St. Augustine, Rebubula, 32 Things, Y.O.Y., She Sends Me, Seat Of My Pants

Set Two: Timmy Tucker, I Wanna Be 10, Time Again, Recreational Chemistry, Four, Dr. Graffenberg** > Buster, Home On The Range, Spine Of A Dog, CalifornIA, Guitar, Don’t Fuck With Flo

* One false start. ** Part of jam with Chuck on saxophone. With “Birdland” (Weather Report) tease.

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