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moe. - Oct. 16, 2005

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moe. at The Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, B.C. – October 16th, 2005.

Show Review

By Tom Guerquin

photos by Tom Guerquin

Rob Derhak

Being a Toronto native, this was my first time at The Commodore Ballroom, in Vancouver, B.C. I’ve only heard great things about the ballroom, and once I was inside, the rumors held true.

I was extremely impressed with the size of the venue, and layout, offering such a diverse multitude of bands to play there with ease. It provides many different options to choose from to view a show: directly in front of the stage, right on the sides complete with fully elevated seating (with superb service by the circling waitresses checking if you need a refill), or on the balcony overlooking the stage. In whatever concert-viewing form one chooses to view a moe. show - from dancing trance-like directly in front or in your seat, bobbing your head, or sitting down with a drink, the Commodore's landscape is very conducive to a moe. rocking-out experience. Serving the venue’s capacity very well, to allow one to have space to breathe and move around freely.

I was unclear about how many people came through the door, but according to some die-hard Vancouver moe.rons, this show had a larger crowd than the last time moe. was in town back in October of 2001. It is always good to see fan bases grow in markets that the band rarely frequents. Here's a helpful hit to convert a friend who (for some odd reason) is not sold on moe.: see them live - That will be the closing sale.

Chuck Garvey

The official setlist rings in as follows: ‘32 Things.’ ‘Water’ --> ‘Big World,’ ‘Sweet Emotion,*’ ‘Hi and Lo’ --> ‘Kyle’s Song,’ ‘BJ & P (a.k.a. Rob’s untitled song),’ ‘She’ --> ‘Mexico,’ and finished off with ‘Fire*’ as the encore song.

* with Frank Hannon of the band Tesla, on guitar and vocals.

It’s key to examine the setlist, as many moe.rons (including myself) study it and use it as a reference material to try to predict future ones. As moe. has a catalogue of over 100 songs, it’s difficult to guess what they’ll play and impossible to guess who will join them on the set.

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Having Al lead the night off with ‘32 Things’ was a perfect way to start the show. It was an extra long version of the song that snagged the crowd by their ears for the rest of the night. After which the band introductions were made, they started to play a super rare song, ‘Water.’ Out of the seven shows I've been to (including two moe.downs), I have never seen moe. perform it live, so imagine how lucky I felt to have this honour bestowed upon me. Such crazy guitar/bass solos and so much energy, the whole band was just working off each other, it was incredible. I scanned the lively crowd to gauge their reaction - we were all clearly blown away. The atmosphere was just incredible, the crowd was so into the music doing their thing, and just jiving with the electrifying sound produced by Al, Rob, Chuck, Vinnie, and Jim.

One of the many, many great things about moe. is their ability to transition from song to song. The flow seems so effortless. As I was in my moe. trance, ‘Water’ instantly turned into ‘Big World,’ and the crowd loved it. Perplexed by the way they make those transitions work with such energy, I got the chance to talk to Vinnie after the show for a couple minutes (they were heading to Eugene, OR for their next show in the tour) about this mystery. His answer to how they do it, was honest and simple. ‘We just pull it out of our asses,’ the great drummer said casually. That answer blew me away, on stage it looks so easy and the result is pure power.

Just as they’re finishing ‘Big World,’ along comes Frank Hannon on stage wearing a moe. shirt for an insane cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Sweet Emotion.’ Frank was just jamming with them and started singing it with Chuck. Steven Tyler or Joe Perry would have been proud. Adding the moe. twist to the version stretched it out with some very cool jams by Frank and Rob. Glancing at Rob during one of Franks’ solos, I could tell that he was even impressed by his ability to make his guitar wail. As the set continues with ‘Hi and Lo,’ and ‘BJ & P (a.k.a. Rob’s untitled song),’ the crowd kept at it, just swaying with the music, creating a powerful form of energy at the Commodore that night. Rob was just giving it his all on the bass, insanity at its finest. As I thought the energy of the show had peaked, along comes a two-hit-combo of ‘She’ and ‘Mexico’ that was surreal. I was just speechless, each member of moe. was feeding off each other, collectively thwarting the band further. A power that I, and a legion of others, have come to adore at every moe. concert.

After playing for close to two hours, the band went off stage for a few minutes before enthusiastically being called back out for an encore. As moe. remerged, Frank joined them to rock it again, this time to Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Fire.’ An unbelievable song to end the show with, a surprise to the crowd, culminating in the shows pinnacle of energy.

Needless to say it was a unbelievable show for all, one of my favourite moe. concerts to date. Everyone who has ever seen them, will agree with me that they give it their all at every show; and that night at the Commodore was no exception.

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