Umphrey’s McGee • April 13+14, 2023 • Jannus Live — St. Petersburg, FL & House Of Blues — Orlando, FL • Photos by Randy Cook — instagram.com/horns_raised & Photos by Jacob Hayes — instagram.com/jhayes822
Check out our Reviews after the photos!
ST. PETE REVIEW
Umphrey’s McGee | Jannus Live, St. Petersburg, FL | April 13, 2023
As someone who had never seen Umphrey’s McGee live before, I was absolutely blown away by their show at Jannus Live, in St. Petersburg, FL on Thursday, April 13, 2023. My friend Joe had suggested that I give my first ever jam band experience a try and I have to say it was an extremely entertaining show and evening. Joe and I had arranged to meet up with a long-time friend who we had not seen in way too long and it was a great reunion between friends, and with both of them familiar with the band they shared what a musical adventure that I was in for. Thank you to the band for approving a late request for me to bring my camera and capture the show.
There was no opening band so we were treated to two full sets of tunes by these jam masters. In addition, in an unusual but much appreciated move, the photo approval was for the entire first set so I was up front in the photo pit for my longest ever endeavor behind the lens. The band hit the stage right at 8PM and the crowd roared their approval before the first notes ever hit our ears. Within the first couple of minutes of the show (and continually throughout the entire performance) it was easy and very evident to see that the band members were having the time of their lives up on stage. Their musicianship is amazing and the crowd showed their approval and appreciation for the music that was being delivered with such precision and passion.
I felt like this band took me on a journey around almost the entire musical tree. Here and there I heard crunchy riffs along with intricate guitar solos, wrapped around the bass and percussion rhythm section to where the music and songs just flow literally one into the other until over an hour went by and the band announced a short intermission between sets. My experience for so long in the photo pit had Star Wars items on stage catching my eye that maybe I would not have seen or had time to capture had I only had the three song limit (although as I learned, three songs with a jam band can last for quite some time!). It was an amazing experience and there was still a whole second set for me to roam around, find my friends, capture a few snaps from the crowd and just enjoy the show.
I found it interesting how the band would segue from one song into the next and then go back and finish the previously started song. More than once I had to ask myself, hey, this sounds like the song earlier and incredibly my ear picked up on that at the time and then the fact was solidified after I went back and read the set list. There was so little chit chat in between songs that for the uninitiated it would have been easy to think that either that was one really long song or a song that had an improvisational ‘jam’ in the middle of it.
The show this evening was not just about the music. I give props to the lighting crew as this band and their team take the crowd on a visual experience with breathtaking, vibrant colors and patterns dancing across the stage, instruments, band members and the crowd. As much as I wanted to try and capture some of these visuals from further back, no way I was giving up over an hour down in the photo pit. If I ever have the opportunity to see and photo this band again at this same venue, I have a plan of attack to ensure a fantastic elevated spot for the second set above the crowd which was unattainable this evening given how thick the crowd was. If the show was not sold out, it was very close to being so.
Overall it was a highly entertaining show and evening with great friends, great tunes, and a great laid back attitude of those in attendance. Once I put my camera away and just took in the music and faces of those around me it was evident just how passionate the fan base is for this band. Umphrey’s McGee certainly have me as a new fan with their whole laid-back, go with the flow and just feel the music vibe. I will certainly have an eye out for any of their future announced tours for a show near me. Fantastic band and certainly a candidate for show of the year for me!
All In Time
Meeting in the Aisle (Radiohead cover)
All In Time (continued)
Der Bluten Kat
Release (Pearl Jam cover)
Der Bluten Kat (continued)
The Triple Wide (Joel Cummins song)
Umphrey’s McGee St. Pete Review by Randy Cook.
It’s Friday night in Orlando and music fans are ready to rock! Gathering with friends, Umphrey’s faithful arrive to the Orlando House of Blues at Disney Springs in droves. The buzz is palpable as fans begin to swarm. Can you blame them? Who could resist the chance to see this one of a kind rock n roll band from South Bend, IN. Umphrey’s McGee is celebrating 25 years of melting faces and they are getting really good at it.
UM begins their third show of their April Florida run with my favorite song, “Conduit.” They don’t waste any time getting into a raucous jam and right away they have the crowd at a simmer. Shouts and whistles of approval sail past outstretched arms around me. “Fenced In” precedes the very new “Wide Open” and thunderous jam. Dark storm clouds begin to gather as Umphrey’s looms over the crowd, soaking them wave after wave of scary good music. It’s during “Draconian” that Lightning Lighting Director Ben Factor strikes. His scenes, timing and color choices take this song and the whole night to a Cat. 5. Bassist Ryan Stasik climbs up on his amp facing drummer Kris Myers during this monsoon of rock. Next, “Wappy Sprayberry” jam is fast and furious. Keyboardist Joel Cummins provides excellent support and background tones while Factor fills the room with a bouquet of beautiful colors. David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” is met with love from the crowd as everyone busts out their best dance moves for the last song of the set.
The second set starts with a “Mantis>I Don’t Know What I Want>Mantis” sandwich. Lead guitarist Jake Cinninger charges up the crowd before Myers impresses with his lengthy drum solo. Cummins is great in “It Doesn’t Matter,” a song that finishes with a tease of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe.” Next, Umphrey’s revs up the crowd with the rowdy and fun “Mail Package” Touching on ZZ Top’s “La Grange” this song can’t get any better. “Day Nurse” and percussionist Andy Farag’s favorite song, “Plunger,” round out the set.
Summoned back to the stage, the South Bend Six let loose a major league “Wife Soup!” Hot Joel Cummins helps the band to choke up on the bat and take a powerful swing to the finish the night. UM fans can go home happy: satisfied from a home run encore and another face melting performance by Umphrey’s McGee.
Umphrey’s McGee Orlando Review by Spencer Storch.
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