Reviewed By Andy J. Gordon
The great news out of L.A. is that mainstay jam band moe. are back and stronger than ever. Bassist Rob Durhak has successfully recovered from his cancer treatment and the band is blasting back, currently in the heart of their summer 2018 tour. Just off three exuberant nights performing at Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California, that included multiple sit-ins with that Grateful Dead bassist, moe. headed down the California coast and blew into the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood on July 6, 2018.
Record-setting hot weather (with temps surpassing 110F) couldn’t match the musical heat inside Hollywood’s steamy Fonda Theatre, as the upstate New York rockers entertained a crowd of ecstatic fans with a magical two-set performance. They opened slowly with “Chromatic Nightmare” and “All Roads Lead to Home” that segued into “Who You Calling Scared?”
Guitarist Chuck Garvey shouted out that the band has been having a blast in California and then wowed the crowd with some trippy solos. Things had really heated up by the time the band launched into “Awesome Gary” and as Rob Durhak took over lead vocals on the song, the place went crazy. His strong voice and permanent grin while thumping his bass told fans what they needed to know – that all is well with both his health and the band’s continued reign as one of the world’s greatest jam bands. Topping off that transcendent moment was Al Schnier, the band’s other guitarist, punching out a groovy, psychedelic guitar solo, followed by Jim Loughlin’s animated vibraphone solo that added to the lovefest.
The second set was an end-to-end scorcher. Jim Loughlin did a rare lead vocal on “Farmer Ben.” Al Schnier took over on vocals for “So Long,” which also featured a Moroccan-style guitar interplay between he and Garvey. Vinnie Amico’s brilliant drumming stood out on that tune as well. Durhak sang lead for the set-ending “Spine of the Dog” that transitioned into a raucous “Plane Crash.” The band jammed with manic intensity as the set came to a close.
Al Shnier led the band through the country-blues ballad “Letter Home” to open the encore. The band dramatically picked up the pace for the show closing “Godzilla,” a song by Blue Oyster Cult that moe. frequently covers. Durhak played an intense bass line and the band dove deep into a psychedelic, trippy guitar-driven sequence before reemerging back into the familiar song’s melody as the packed-in audience screamed with appreciation and even more love.
On July 11, moe. plays an acoustic show at the Belly Up in Aspen before returning to the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, on July 12. The tour will continue in Omaha, Nebraska, then go on to Missouri, in Kansas City and St. Louis. Later in the month, moe. plays the Tippecanoe Amphitheater in Lafayette, Indiana, on July 18 and the Goodyear Theater in Akron, Ohio, on July 19. Their summer tour concludes on July 20 at the Peach Music Festival in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
moe. ~ 7/06/18 ~ Fonda Theatre ~ Los Angeles, CA
I: Chromatic Nightmare, All Roads Lead To Home > Who You Calling Scared?, San Ber’dino#, Angel, Hi & Lo > Awesome Gary## > Kids
II: Billy Goat > Farmer Ben, So Long, McBain, Spine Of A Dog > Plane Crash
Encore: Letter Home, Godzilla
# Last Time Played > 6/30/17
## Last Time Played > 7/02/17