Portland’s State Theatre Turns 90: moe. Plays New Year’s Eve Concert In 2012

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Ninety years ago today the State Theatre in Portland, Maine opened its doors for the first time and now remains the city’s only surviving movie palace from the era. In honor of the occasion, this week’s Full Show Friday selection is moe.‘s New Year’s Eve 2012 performance at the venue, one of 19 shows the band has played at the State Theatre dating back to 1998.

The State Theatre began its run on this date in 1929 with a screening of Gloria Swanson’s first “Talkie,” The Trespasser. Boasting “scientifically upholstered jacquard velour” seats, the venue hosted 2,200 patrons who were guided to their seats by ushers who used hand signals to communicate with each other and were treated to music provided by legendary theater organist Birge Peterson. The State Theatre started hosting children’s programming in the mid-1930s and offered a mix of musicals and movie screenings during the 1940s and 1950s. A dark time came in the late-1960s when the State survived by presenting adult movies and closed down in 1990.

A run as a dinner-theater/concert house began in the mid-1990s but by 2006 the venue was shuttered once again. The re-birth of The State Theatre came in 2010, when Alex Crothers of Higher Ground Presents partnered with The Bowery Presents on an extensive restoration and to operate the venue. The State Theatre Team now produces and promotes over 250 concerts each year both at the flagship location and throughout Maine. “We’re thrilled to celebrate 90 remarkable years of concerts and events at the State Theatre,” noted Crothers of the occasion. “It’s humbling to think about all of the memories that have been created here — and it’s exciting to think about all the new ones we’ll make together over the next decade.”

After the marquee was restored to its original luster in 2017, operators now have another set of renovations in store. New seating will be added both in the lower and upper balconies and new carpeting will be installed in the lobby. “We are excited to preserve the rich history of the State Theatre while guiding it forward with continuous updates both inside the venue and out,” added Lauren Wayne, General Manager of the State Theatre. “As a history buff it’s been amazing to be a part of a venue that has such a deep connection to our community, and we love bringing some of the most well-loved national musicians and artists to our favorite city.” The State Theatre is celebrating the 90th birthday with a series of giveaways.

moe. made their State Theatre debut on June 7, 1998. The group returned 18 more times through this past February, including their New Year’s Eve 2012 gala. December 31, 2012 was the quintet’s second NYE performance in a row at the venue. moe. played three long sets highlighted by a countdown to lead into 2013 within the third frame that was followed by rare renditions of “Havah Negilah” and “Long Island Girls Rule.” Both songs had only been played twice by moe. since 1999 prior to New Year’s Eve 2012. The latter was well-jammed and spanned over 15 minutes.

The concert also featured “Brent Black” bookending the first set, a wild “Yodelittle” sandwich complete with “Spine Of A Dog” within and an extended “CalifornIA,” among other standout moments. For the encore, moe. treated fans to an improv-heavy “Timmy Tucker” and cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper” with Jim Loughlin on bass and Maine’s own Rob Derhak on cowbell.

Stream an audience recording of moe.’s December 31, 2012 show at the State taped by Marcus:

Setlist (via PT moe.)

Set One: Brent Black> St. Augustine, Lost Along the Way, Chromatic Nightmare, Faker> Brent Black

Set Two: Deep This Time> She Sends Me, Yodelittle> Spine Of A Dog> Yodelittle> Californ IA> Stranger Than Fiction, Waiting For The Punchline

Set Three: Crab Eyes, Spaz Medicine, Countdown/Happy New Year, Havah Negilah> Long Island Girls Rule, Head> Time Ed> Head, Opium> Understand, Happy Hour Hero

Encore: Timmy Tucker, Don’t Fear The Reaper

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