reCAP:: Wetland’s 25th Anniversary Show with moe., Special Guests :: 2014.02.08
The second night celebrating the now defunct Wetlands Preserve that stood proud for thirteen years in downtown NYC, continued their 25th Anniversary celebration by becoming a full-on throwdown in Port Chester, with moe. headlining both evenings. Special guests streamed on stage throughout the evening, including John Medeski (Medeski, Martin & Wood), Jen Durkin (Deep Banana Blackout), James “Fuzz” Sangiovanni (Deep Banana Blackout), Peter Prince (Moon Boot Lover) and Aaron Maxwell (God Street Wine).
No one paid any mind to the freezing temperatures outside the theater, as the first set was down right smoking hot. The first four songs were played without any guests, and right out of the gate the moe. songs “Recreational Chemistry>Skrunk>Time Ed and Downward Facing Dog,” left everyone waiting with bated breath for more. The evening’s special guests started to join on stage, with Chris Baron (vocals), first up to play the Credence Clearwater Revival classic, “Seen the Rain.” Then joining Baron was John Medeski (keys) playing The Spin Doctors’ “How Could You Want Him.” Baron’s voice sounded perfect, like no time had passed at all. I’m pretty sure we all experienced some type of flashbacks to The Wetlands, circa 1990, where The Spin Doctors were regulars.
We continued onto another Spin Doctors classic, “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.” The energy in The Capitol was now on overdrive, with the whole audience now singing word for word with Baron. Lighting director, Preston Hoffman, lit up the theater, the walls and the ceiling with trippy patterned shapes, strobe effects, and lasers snaking throughout the theater. At times, the light show was wonderfully overwhelming. Jen Durkin (vocals) and the Conehead Buddha horns (Shannon Lynch, sax; Terry Lynch, trumpet; Shaun Bazylewicz, trombone) joined John Medeski and moe. for The Beatles “In My Life.” Fuzz (guitar) joined for a glorious shredding moe. original, “Akimbo” before the stage exploded with the Peter Gabriel cover, ode to the 80’s-bring-us-back-to-Wetlands-days-“Sledgehammer.” First set complete, we all needed to take a breather from that crushingly strong set, hit the rest rooms, and grab another beer before second set began.
Set two began with “Spaz Medicine” with the Conehead Buddha horns, as just a little warmer before we went full force into Little Feat’s “Spanish Moon,” featuring Suke Cerulo, shredding the guitar and setting the pace and speed of the next couple of hours. “Crab Eyes” played by moe. alone, and “Okay Alright” with Jen Durkin was next before the random Jim Croce cover, “Don’t Mess Around with Jim” came out with special unannounced guest Peter Prince (Moon Boot Lover).
Aaron Maxwell (guitarist, God Street Wine) came on stage, joined by Medeski and the Conehead Buddha, and together with moe. sang a beautiful “Into the Mystic,” a rendition that perhaps Van the Man would have given his approval. Maxwell, Medeski and moe. then played the God Street Wine cover, “Mile by Mile.” The Conehead Buddha joined for a bouncy, “Happy Hour Hero,” where the sound felt so full, the horns hitting the highest points, crescendo in a furious Sly Stone cover “Stand!” and “I Want To Take You Higher.” At one point, Al Schnier left the stage for a bit only to come back in a squirrel (?) outfit, and end up sitting on the monitors hitting a cowbell. Cowbell + Sly Stone + almost all the special guests back on stage was the peak of the night, ending the second evening of The Wetlands 25th anniversary to a sweaty, giddy crowd of music lovers.
The encore of the night was a cover of the Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends,” more on the Joe Cocker side then the Ringo side, with Peter Prince on vocals, and background vocals from Durkin and Lynch. The stage was full with talent, and you could feel the respect and love from the stage to the audience. Here’s to The Wetlands Preserve, and her owners Larry Bloch and Peter Shapiro. Thank you for what you were. Happy 25th.