moe. Superfan Details The Incredible Journey To His 200th Show At Red Rocks

first_imgIf you are lucky enough to find someone or something that fills your life with light, frees you from your bonds and burdens, and gives you the inspiration to carry on, then you’d be a fool not to embrace it with all your heart. For eighteen years, from the first time I experienced the band called moe., to my recent magical 200th show at the revered Red Rocks Amphitheatre, I have done all I can to lose myself in the musical spell they cast. It’s safe to say you wouldn’t be reading these words if it wasn’t for the five friends from upstate New York and the wizardry they work.My name is Rex Thomson, and I’m a writer/photographer/videographer working for Live For Live Music. I’ve been given this opportunity to step out from behind the lens and the third person narrative voice, to get a bit personal on a topic that means the word to me: the band moe. For almost two decades, bassist Robert Derhak, guitarists Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey, percussionist Jim Loughlin and drummer Vinnie Amico have been performing the sound track of my life. Thanks to legendary guitar tech Frank Robbins, I even have some of the very tools they used to make that music during my 200th show!No one ends up seeing a band hundreds of times without a damn good reason, and I certainly have a few. First and foremost, the transformation I feel in myself during a show… it’s like being scrubbed clean of all of life’s cruddy residue on a spiritual level. I remember a swirling guitar crescendo at the tail end of a “Rebubula” that made me spread my arms wide to the waves of ringing perfection buffeting me in the crowd. It was completely involuntary, and I watched as if from beyond myself as it happened. It was bliss.Here’s an outstanding version of “Rebubula” from Mountain Jam, after it won a fan contest to pick a song for the set:Bliss is a pretty powerful concept, but until then it had been just that, a thought known but not understood. I’ve since learned of how powerful an effect your sense of hearing has on things like emotions and epiphanies through lots of science words. Long story short, humanity used to keep its collected knowledge and share its most basic concepts through song. We are programmed on a primal level to receive information on a mental and emotional level through music.Whatever subconscious burst of information I receive from those five minds fills me with a lasting inspiration that makes my every thought clearer and intention easier to form. Mixing laughter, fury and jaw dropping displays of musical skill and dexterity, moe. is sending out all the listener can handle and more. The rapport they share onstage makes it all the easier for fans to tune in and join the fun on the more ethereal planes.Without going to far into my final reason the band moe. means so much to me yet, I will say that some cognitive issues I face are all but gone after seeing the band, before slowly returning. Simply put, I am a better functioning, feeling human being after I spend some time seeing moe. play.I am here to tell you that not everyone finds perfect inspiration, but when it hits you, it changes everything. After first seeing the band in 1999, I made sure to catch them at any festival or show that came within striking distance. As the years flew by, the range I was willing to travel grew exponentially, all in an effort to plug into the white hot electric flow I first felt years ago. Saved ticket stubs piled up, and I continually had to find larger and larger receptacles for my treasures.In 2009, an opportunity to photograph the band’s annual Summer Camp Music Festival in Illinois for a fly-by-night outlet gave me my first taste of life BEYOND the front row at a major event. My tendency to go on face melting mental adventures during their shows met the equally powerful experience of focusing on the visual spectacle of the lights and intense performances being laid down by the band and my fate was sealed. After three straight days of massive sets of music, all watched from about five feet away, I knew what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life.I quickly found out that I was nowhere near alone in my burgeoning devotion, emotional uplift or even willingness to travel. Though I was aware that moe., like many bands had a devoted traveling fan base, I hadn’t looked up long enough to learn the faces and names. My new gig changed all that, and the more moe. shows I went to across the nation, the more of the same faces I saw. The best part? They were all slipping into their own beatific trances as the music swept them away.There are a couple of terms used for diehard moe. fans. “moe.ron” is one of the most common, and part of the band and fans shared love of puns. The other, “famoe.ly.” The difference between them can blur, and in the end, the true meaning is love. These are people who share in something that is nearly beyond words, bonded not by race or creed but by mutual understanding and emotion and I was now a happy soldier in the army.Over the next five years, it would be fair to say I went a special kind of crazy in regards to moe. When the band hosted the annual moe.down festival for their most rabid fans in upstate New York, a tradition formed around a last day election for “Mayor of moe.down” or “Mayor of moe.ville,” depending on who you ask, time of day and sobriety levels. I decided that between my work as a pretend music journalist, my occasional working with bands and promoters, and my connection to the scene itself, I was the first actually qualified candidate for office.The details of my five and a half year campaign across the country are not only too long to go through here, honestly…it’s kinda scary to type. But behind my weird endorsements……full blown campaign commercials……and even the stupid sign I lugged across creation….…there was a secret plan. Wherever I went, whether I approached them or they approached me, I asked people, “Have you ever heard of a band named moe.?” And if they hadn’t, I either urged them to check them out or gave them some of the over two thousand burned CDs I have burned from their live shows and carry with me whenever I can.Through my… zeal… I have ended up interacting with the band on a personal level from time to time. I’ve gotten to request songs for acoustic performances……gotten the band to explain things like how they write set lists……even spent a half hour getting Jim Loughlin to go through his entire percussive toy repertoire!Basically, I’ve tried to make myself useful, and I think I’ve done a good job. Feels like the least I could do, really. I try not to let my crazy appreciation of what they do get too scary for them when I am around, but I am fairly certain they have a crew member in place to taser me into submission if I get out of hand. Can’t really say I blame them.Eventually I was appointed Mayor… but I didn’t stop spreading the love and I never will. When you stumble across something that resounds within you with such a positive, energizing level, all you want to do is bask in the magic and share the love, and that’s what I’ve done. You can read my review of the Red Rocks show that was my much ballyhoo’d 200th HERE. You can read my review of the spectacular follow up show the next night in Boulder HERE. Hell, you can read about the show they played with Yonder Mountain String Band a few days later in Wisconsin HERE.But just reading those reviews won’t tell you the real story. It doesn’t mention that, to see that Wisconsin show, I had to drive about 17 straight hours out of my way, or that I had to sleep in rest stops due to the remoteness of the location and my needing to get to the next event. I don’t do this for the money. I do this for the life and love moe., has inspired me to live. And seriously, when I say they gave me life, I mean it.My mom taught me to always have three reasons to do something, and my third reason for loving the music of moe. like I do is a dozy. My life, like most, has been fraught with obstacles, like most. Mine have taken the form of some rather bleak medical prognoses that hang over me like the sword of Damocles. I’ll say this bluntly: I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the spark moe. ignited inside me. The litany of surgeries, crises and moments of pure terror I have faced would have crushed me if I didn’t have their song in my heart.To me, a moe. show isn’t a simple entertainment, though there is certainly nothing wrong with that. That’s why they play, after all. They want to share what they can do with the world, and, thanks to my job, I get to help them do just that. I blew past my 200th show and am already at 203, with three more lined up for next month. My next goal is to reach show number 365, so I can know I spent a year feeling that same magic I felt all those years ago, but in the end, numbers aren’t what matters to me.What matters to me is building the fire of love and hope inside me burning bright, to face the long and scary nights ahead. In our primitive days we sang around the fire and danced into the night. Those rituals live on today. Bands like moe. roam the land giving us all the chance to build the strength to face the dark and the joy to truly embrace the light.Special Bonus! As usual al. took a moe.ment to thank the fans and crew on the night of my 199th show, and sent a little love back my way before nailing a wicked weekend closing cover of Cream’s “White Room.” Dig it!last_img read more

USC falls to Arizona in fourth conference loss

first_imgA cold start shooting from the field for USC could not be thawed out by a blazing scoring run in the second half in a 73-66 loss to Arizona on Thursday.Despite finishing the game on a 32-17 run over the final 10 minutes of regulation and even pulling within a score of No. 14 Arizona with one minute remaining, USC fell prey to the Wildcats. The Trojans (16-4, 3-4) dropped their second consecutive home game at the Galen Center and fell to a losing record in conference play at 3-4. After shooting just 8-for-31 from the field in the first half, the Trojans finished the game by shooting 14-for-28 in the second half. With just over 11 minutes remaining in regulation, USC trailed Arizona (17-2, 6-0) by as many as 22-points.A 28-11 scoring run from USC which spanned 10 minutes in the later stages of the second half pulled the Trojans frustratingly close of tying the score with the Wildcats late in regulation. A pair of made free throws from redshirt sophomore guard Shaqquan Aaron pulled the game within one possession, 67-64, with one minute remaining in the fourth quarter. On the following possession, Arizona freshman forward Lauri Markkanen — who recorded a game-high 23 points — took the ball up the floor and sunk a 3-point field goal that put the Wildcats ahead 70-64 with 39 seconds remaining in regulation.“That was a huge shot, the shot clock was running down, we were playing great defense and we had all the momentum,” Enfield said. “It was just a back-breaker. It was a tough way to lose when they knock down a 30-footer at the end of shot clock.” The late 3-pointer from Markkanen put an end to the Trojans’ comeback efforts and effectively put the game out of reach for USC. “You never want to have to rely on a late last-minute run to win a game,” junior guard Elijah Stewart said. “We’ve just got to get off to a good start (in games) when it comes to certain assignments. Usually when you get that adrenaline towards the end of the game it helps you out.”USC’s offensive barrage in the second half was a complete contradiction to the struggles which they dealt with offensively in the opening half. As a team, the Trojans shot 1-for-10 from beyond the 3-point line in the first half. USC missed its first nine 3-point field goal attempts in the second half, and a 3-pointer from junior guard Elijah Stewart in the final minute of the first half was only the second 3-point make for USC of the game. In the second half, USC shot 6-for-11 from beyond the arc as a team. After missing eight of its last nine field goal attempts to conclude the first half, USC found itself trailing by double-digits at halftime with a score of 29-19.A 27-15 run from Arizona which spanned the opening five minutes of the second half preceded the Trojans’ comeback run late in the game. Stewart was the leading scorer for the Trojans, scoring 15 of his 20 points against Arizona in the second half. Clutch free-throw shooting from USC preserved and enhanced its comeback effort in the second half Thursday night. After recently poor shooting performances from the free throw line in previous losses to Cal and Utah, the Trojans shot 15-of-18 from the stripe against the Wildcats. Following the loss, the Trojans will now stay at the Galen Center to take on conference opponent Arizona State on Sunday. USC will seek a much-needed win over the Sun Devils to remain in the race for a strong finish in the Pac-12 standings.  “We’ve played well most of the season, but yes, there have been times we didn’t. We just need to keep getting better and staying confident,” Enfield said. “I hope our players realize that they can play with anyone on our schedule. They can beat really good teams like we already have this year … our staff has all the confidence in the world in these guys.”last_img read more

Stars’ Ben Bishop leaves game vs. Flames with lower-body injury

first_imgHe was replaced by Anton Khudobin and didn’t emerge onto the ice for the third period. Ben Bishop has found himself back on the bench.The Stars goaltender left Wednesday’s game against the Flames with just over six minutes to play in the second period and was listed as questionable to return with a lower-body injury. Ben Bishop is questionable to return tonight with a lower-body injury. https://t.co/gfJwauJpYL— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 28, 2019Bishop, who missed two games earlier this month after suffering a lower-body injury against the Wild on March 14, stayed down in the net before kneeling over in pain.Ben Bishop looks to have been injured on this play. He exited the game. Anton Khudobin is in. pic.twitter.com/fnEmhvRXS4— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) March 28, 2019Bishop, 32, entered Wednesday’s game first among starters with a .932 save percentage and tied for third with six shutouts.The Stars held on for a 2-1 victory at Calgary.last_img read more