Summertime starts with a bang at The Amp in St. Augustine with the return of Fool’s Paradise! This two day sunny affair features alternating headlining sets from prog-rockers Umphrey’s McGee and Lettuce, who reside where jazz-meets-funk. Supporting these two stellar bands are a host of rising stars that include Andy Frasco & the UN, Flamingosis, Jennifer Hartswick (TAB) & Nick Cassarino (Nth Power), and Isaiah Sharkey (John Mayer). On June 4th and 5th the funk fueled Fools Paradise returned to The Amp for the first time in five years! We made it out to day 1 (Saturday). Review + Photos (by Patrick Hughes) below!
I can’t begin to express the excitement I feel as I hop in the car with my bud and head to the sun, surf, and sand of St. Augustine, FL. We race up the state and away from the tropical storm in the South in order to catch as much music as possible on this bright sunny Saturday. Arriving on site we get our wristbands just as Flamingosis’ first set is ending. Not to worry, he has a short but sweet thirty minute set in between Lettuce and Umphrey’s McGee!
We enter The Amp and are immediately given pit tickets by a friend, so we hike back to the gate and get our wristbands! Feeling like a million bucks, the two of us frolic down for the jazz and funk of Lettuce! They come out swinging playing the first track, “RVA Dance,” off of their new Unify album. The music is fun and upbeat so we dance and socialize during this heater of a set. They take the party to the next level with their cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Normally it sounds just like TFF, but this time they change it up and add funky and chunky pieces to the already winning recipe. Their set is once again highlighted by the singing and playing of Nigel Hall on the mic and keys. His solo on the next song, “Gravy Train” made getting baked by the Florida sun so much more enjoyable! They finish the set with their stinky subway classic, “Phyllis” and the crowd lets them have it!
We refill on water and head out to Flamingosis’ brief set out on the.. F R O N T P O R C H! Fans pair up with strangers and dance the day away to his unique blend of old soul, wild upbeat funk, and his own style of bass.
The way-too-short set is over before we know it and we are headed back inside for tonight’s headliner: Umphrey’s McGee! The progressive rock six-piece has the crowd taking off in a jet fighter right away with their opener, “Room to Breathe.” Gliding high into the sky we get a chance to see what it’s like to have lead guitarist Jake Cinninger back from his short absence from the group. The Amp comes alive as they spread their wings with “In The Kitchen.” Without finishing the song they slip into “White Man’s Moccasins.” The biggest jam of the first set goes to my favorite song, “Conduit!” Cinninger’s searing solo during this beast of a song is one to go back and listen to! The set ends with the always fun sing-along, “Mail Package!”
During setbreak we entice a stranger to prank our friend who is constantly (and sometimes obnoxiously) announcing to people that he is now a pilot. The stranger comes over nonchalant and says, “Hey man, are you a pilot? I was thinking to myself, you either work at the Subway in the airport, or you’re a pilot?!” The group kept their cool and my friend went the rest of the evening (and maybe still to this day) thinking that a random fan could tell he was a pilot just by his vibe!
Umphrey’s McGee has set two is filled to the brim with gigantic songs! We set off on the odyssey that is “Wizard Burial Ground” before lead singer and guitarist Brendan Bayliss slays with his customary solo in the next song, “2×2.”
Hide yo kids, hide yo wife: “Plunger” is next. This jam vehicle is extremely intimidating with its sharp teeth and fire breathing nostrils. We board the ride and the descending restraints secure us into the car before we jolt forward and upward. Taking us higher, and higher, Umphrey’s constructs a monster of a musical rollercoaster right before our eyes. Its tall peaks are perfectly crafted for us to take the plunge! We free fall— moments from a certain death only to be saved by the trap doors and crooked corners of this fantastic thrill ride. Screaming at the top of my lungs with my hands up in the air feels so good as we return to the station, sweatier than before. “Andy’s Last Beer” and “Ocean Billy” round out the JAM PACKED set at the St. Augustine Amp. Umph encores for the raucous crowd, dishing out “Kula” before finishing “In The Kitchen” from earlier in the night!
This has been such an amazing day with so much good music! Lettuce, Flamingosis, and Umphrey’s McGee brought their top notch performances to Fools’ Paradise ‘22! First time they have had this event in five years and it is off to an amazing rebirth! \mm/
Fool’s Paradise Live Review by Spencer Storch.
Fool’s Paradise Live Concert Photos by Patrick Hughes — HUGE Shoutout to Patrick for providing some awesome photos for this review! Check out his work and follow him at Face Of Fesivals.
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