Jamming with Bob Weir and other associates of the Grateful Dead would at one time have been the ultimate Fillmore dream for jam band moe. But by this night in 1997, Uncle Bob—as they refer to him—was part of the family, and moe. were officially apples on the Post-Dead family tree.
Coming off the Further Festival that year, moe. was shifting into overdrive and discovering its own homegrown power as a live act. Following eight years on the road since their formation during college in Buffalo, they were bound to get good, but by summoning and now surrounding themselves with the energy of the Dead's legacy and using it to guide their own improvisational jams, they'd set the bar high—now they were reaching it on their own. Incorporating all forms of music—never minding pesky business like boundaries or genres, tempos, or time—it's one thing in theory but another to keep it fresh night after night after night on the road. Welcome to the moe.down.
Likening the gig to a "variety show" (their words), the first set of the evening had already hosted the special guest stylings of guitar and keyboard artists Henry Kaiser and Bob Bralove alongside the core of the four guys named moe.: Rob Derhak, Al Schier, Chuck Garvey, and Vinnie Amico. The second set featured here invited further friendly action to the boards in the form of Weir, Ratdog bassist Rob Wasserman, and resident Bay area loco guitarist and Dead scholar David Gans.
The crowd roars its recognition for "Viola Lee Blues" and moe.'s stage guests Weir on guitar and vocals and Wasserman on bass. The expanded band slide right on into a Weir rave-up from the Dead's repertoire, "One More Saturday Night." It doesn't stop there: They serve up the hungry moe./Dead fanbase a 40-minute feast of "The Other One." Wasserman stays on for moe.'s own "Meat," and the consortium is joined by guitarist Gans, one of moe.'s biggest champions.
The band tightens up for familiar takes on their own material like "Plane Crash," from the album Tin Cans and Car Tires and the slap-bass-happy tune "32 Things" from No Doy as well as the country rambler, "Waiting for the Punchline." But as if all those variations on themes weren't enough, they take it out with "Buster," their calypso/surf-rock/space jam that explores the question of whether pigs can fly. Oh yes, they can—but only on this rare night in the far west at a Fillmore moe. show.