the wonderful highline ballroom, a live music venue that opened last year in chelsea, organized a series of concerts this summer that all take place on the uninhabited governors island. most people confuse governors island with ellis island and staten island, but it's actually an even smaller fortified island that the rich-ass lois lane lived on in the most recent superman movie.
what better day to stage a show on an island off the southermost tip of manhattan and only accessible by ferry, than father's day sunday! aside from the horrible traffic, it was an awesome day for it! the sun was shining and the humidity of a 2-week august heat-wave had finally broken (it was june). on an aside, last week it also snowed in the cascades and there was a tornado in burlington, vt. i hope everybody is getting used to their new climates and seasons, it's gonna be a while. YAY.
while waiting for the 5:45pm ferry (i got there after 5pm ferry departed) we took a quick walk over to the beer gardens at battery park. i really needed to pee but aside from the park restroom being absolutely atrocious (wow, there's a bathroom worse than the ny public library?), a croatian janitor screamed at me for pushing the garbage can out of the doorway to peak inside. "YOU GO! YOU NO MOVE!! NO NO!" you don't have to tell me twice, zoltan. luckily i am quite skilled at holding my pee when absolutely necessary. this includes various situations including but not limited to: public bathrooms in new york city, long movies/music sets i don't want to miss, 4am on the nys thruway 1 hour from home. the boys downed some food/bevvies, lisa ate a piece of corn with dijon mustard on it (that's fucked up), and we jetted back over to the ferry (with police entourage) and stood in a sweatbox for a couple of minutes before being whisked away to the fabulous isle of governors, roughly 5 minutes from beautiful downtown battery park! it was a cool boat ride, nice weather, good scenery, and totally surreal.
we walked around a bit, but not beyond the paved path, since the paved path was lined with nypd every 50 feet or so, at attention, ready to bust some hippie heads at the first sign of dissent. you couldn't re-enter the concert area, which was pretty fucking lame considering we probably would have checked out the cool buildings and monuments if we could have wandered freely. somebody had constructed a chain of helium balloons stretching into the sky and over part of the concert field- that was cool, our guess was this would make it easier to find the tank. a couple of the guys went to find meat and beer, i got a new sticker for my new nalgene bottle (mine BROKE!!! wtf?) and walked up towards the stage to find some land. there was a ton of space and sitting front and center, matt campbell screamed incoherently and i was like, "hey, i know that guy!" so, we went and claimed some space right in back of him and his buddy and hung out listening to some digital underground, beasties, etc. good stuff.
gullo took a great pic as the show started up...
k, first set- 'tailspin', was nice but didn't really kick in as hard as something like '32 things' would have, i see it as more of a mid-set tune. still- great set- i LOVE hearing 'tambourine' in the middle of a set (usually it's a quick encore and it doesn't get it's deserved attention). it's a great song with a country/bluegrass vibe that fluently compliments the hard rock craziness of moe.'s jams that sandwich it. kenny brooks from ratdog came out to play sax on the classic rock, 'rise' which was a cool touch, everyone was digging it. there was a quick transition into 'happy hour hero' which was great to hear with a sax- apparently they didn't play it at the saranac brewery, which i think is pretty funny- matt was very psyched to hear it. 'happy hour hero' blew me away, of course rob fucked up the lyrics, but it wouldn't be a show without that happening a few times. it makes moe. endearing. it was a perfect end to the first set as it left many of us in the crowd saying 'WOW' (at least me) and full of anticipation for the 2nd set.
after braving the port-a-potty lines (actually, this rental company was called "the royal FLUSH") i went back up from whence i came and the 2nd set started with a vengeance. 'head'-> time ed! no shit, this was GREAT. 'time ed's such a fucking weird song but you gotta love it! no joke- 'four' was like a religious experience for me- one of those times you hear a song and that exact version at that exact moment in history- its like you're hearing the song for the first time all over again- but better. 'four' was an emotional outpouring of music. the placement was perfect, it didn't drag, it just slapped you across face and said "THIS IS WHY YOU LISTEN TO moe." everything just sounded perfect. i know i'll remember that 'four' forever. that happens every so often and it stays with you. that's when i think of mr. "best timmy tucker ever" guy and i want to shake him really hard and say "YOU WILL KNOW WHEN IT HAPPENS."
sorry, i got off on a tangent there- but 'four' was great is what i am getting at. spaz medicine, great. and those teases did it again--- 'brent black' busts loose and just as it's getting intense- BOOM! stop on a dime -> 'she'. YOU SICK BASTARDS!!! i swear rob had some sort of "ha ha we foooooled you" smile on his face the second it happened. 'she' has never been one of my favorites and it took real balls to go from the madness that is 'brent black' into it and they pulled off the slow jerky vibe of the song while maintaining it's sweetness. i really enjoyed it (as opposed to resenting it for stunting 'brent black'). then they went back into and finished off a slammin' version of 'brent black'. they were really successful maintaining the energy level of the show throughout the night. just great stuff.
before i go into the details of the encore, i'm taking an official stance: i'm sick of these dreadful announcements, it's like being back at summer camp. birfdays are totally fine, but i've had it with this "_# of shows" crap (and it takes up SO MUCH TIME). it's great you love moe., it's awesome that you are supporting independent music, congratufuckinglations- here's a pat on the back, douchebag. my friends and i have personally put like 7 of vinnie's kids through college already, so save it. such announcements are completely elitist and have to go. which is exactly why i was screaming "ENOUGH ALREADY" while al was trying to read them (and got them to laugh... but i was serious!).
now for the music. never quite sure what kind of encore will pop up. could be 3 minutes, could be 40. i was kinda hoping that since we were in freakin' new york harbor that they'd summon the beast that is 'GODZILLA', but, 'i wanna be sedated' was a nice, nostalgic choice and it's still a blast.
we headed back down the cop-lined path towards the ferry line and had to wait maybe 30 minutes or so before we could board the 2nd or 3rd ferry out. as luck would have it, we were the last few people allowed on our ferry--- that was scary! didn't want to wait any longer! at midnight they let the dragons loose, the screams as we pulled away from the dock will haunt me for the rest of my life. we thought they had mistakingly dropped us off at riker's but then we realized our police escorts were probably there to protect us from ourselves. they are very thoughtful like that.
so, yeah--- what an awesome fucking moe. show!!! the band was totally solid but there were definitely stand-out moments for each of the guys. vinnie is a goddamn machine, al had a couple of rippin' solos, jim did an extended vibraphone solo, chuck is satan- but i'm not sure if it's just cuz i was standing right in front of him and it seemed this way- but rob was on fire all night... just having fun playing the shit out of each piece, calling attention to himself, being rob, and loving every second of it. ROCKIN'. left us totally salivating for monday night at the highline ballroom. the field trip to governors island was a really cool touch- kudos to the highline promoters- stellar job! moe., 6/15/08, governors island, nyc: 9.3 HUZZAHS! TOTES AWESOME!
and a link to the gallery page (where you can DL hi-res versions... just got a new camera and am still adjusting to it):
DEFINITELY check out gullo's gallery - his pics are really effin' nice- he's all photographer-like and stuff. there's a funny picture of al in there that i think would make a great wallpaper for you al fans.
Bring You Down
Happy Hour Hero*
Time Ed ->
Brent Black ->
I Wanna Be Sedated
* w/ Kenny Brooks from Ratdog on saxophone
here's the archive.org page that lists versions of the show available (right now it's just 1, but i'm sure there will be a few more up soon). http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=moe%20governor%27s%20island
i leave you with a single question as old as the universe and time itself: how is it possible that one man can be oh so dreamy? i can barely stand to look at this picture.
(pic by gullo)