Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

PHOTOS + LIVE REVIEW: Umphrey’s McGee Florida Run — House of Blues Orlando, The Fillmore in Miami, and St. Augustine Amphitheatre! #NeverMissAFloridaRun \mm/ | August 16-18, 2018

by • August 23, 2018

Wednesday night, August 15, 2018, feels like Christmas Eve. On this warm night I laid my head down to rest and dreamt of the band I think is the absolute best. The band that excites me more than any other out there, the one that rids me of any worrisome care. The band I’m speaking of must be, the one, the only, Umphrey’s McGee! Waking up on Thursday morning, I think of what the next three nights hold, like Jake-side-rage side, and gold like Joel. Three nights in a row, from Orlando to Miami Beach to St. Augustine. Along with very special guest, Spafford on the scene, this run will be super supreme. So saddle up, first show’s about to start, a much needed fulfillment of my heart.

Umphreys McGee Live Review Orlando 2018

NIGHT 1 — THURSDAY (ORLANDO)

Umphrey’s McGee Orlando Live Review by Richie Williams, “The Sober Goat.”
Umphrey’s McGee Orlando Photos by Luke Armstrong.

Naturally, I’m fashionably late for a weekday show all the way out at House of Blues (in the Disney area of Orlando). I arrive to the show in time to hear the last 15-20 minutes of Spafford. The extended “Electric Taco Stand” to finish the set was enough to get me super pumped and wonder what the hell I missed already. “As the times go by, You broke my heart. As the the times go byyyyy!”

SPAFFORD SETLIST: 08.16.2018 HOUSE OF BLUES, LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL, USA
One Set: “Shake You Loose,” “Todd’s Tots,” “Lonely, Electric Taco Stand” > “Dis Go In 5?” > “Electric Taco Stand”

The first set of almost every Umphrey’s show starts with a 2 to 3 minute instrumental intro to psych everyone up. The Orlando show, and start of the Florida run, begins with “Jekyll & Hyde” … an intro track only been played live 17 times and first time in over a year (last time was July 2017) and tonight is my first time hearing this intro track! “Room to Breathe” of 2014’s Similar Skin is a perfect way to start the show and feel the room out with a deep breath. A 1998 classic “Much Obliged” follows and lifts all these ever-present smiles throughout the room as we show our undying gratitude. The slide into “Triangle Tear,” the first track off 2018’s new secretly released album, It’s You, providing some fresh material. This was great way to spice up the set, although some lyrics were flubbed … But this new song has only been played six times now, so let’s let give the boys a little break on this one.

Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

Then it was back to some classic material. Before starting the next song, lead singer/guitarist Brendan Bayliss calls out a fan that brought a stuffed snake to rage with while on the floor. I happen to know this fan is from the Tampa/St. Pete area. Bayliss addresses the snake dude —

The dude that brought the snake … you were here last time, right? Same snake? Same dude? Still don’t get it.”

Perhaps appropriately enough, the next song is “Prowler” which kind of has a slithery snakey sound if you think about. And snakes are amon the top masters when it comes to prowling. This segues nicely into “2nd Self” which is another oldie that couples well in a set with the earlier played “Much Obliged.” It’s worth mentioning that “2nd Self” follows “Prowler” on their second album, 2002’s Local Band Does OK … so hearing them this way live is how is it should always be done!

Umphrey’s brings out a very special guest and a good friend of yours and mine, Roosevelt Collier for “Syncopated Strangers” ! So, Rosie is normally known for his doctoring skills on the steel pedal guitar, which is on a stand that he is sitting down at. However, tonight he stands his ground and plays on just the steel guitar, still allowing him to play the slide like a boss. This song starts off with a fun weirdness but the jam becomes this sweet and slow sounds that kind of reminds me of Tedeschi Trucks Band. This song comes to a smooth end and Bayliss asks the crowd if we don’t mind Rosie sticking around for another song. We are much obliged.

And the one more song? It’s the Beatles’ cover “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” off Umphrey’s live studio album, The London Session, recorded at Abbey Road Studios. There are extended holds and lots of singing along, and this seduction song is the end of the first set (just after that soulful sexy jam in “Syncopated Strangers”)

This is a hometown show for me, and there are dozens of good friends in attendance. My close core of fellow Umphreaks are nestled down in the back right corner on the first level just above the perimeter of the floor. Joel side, gold side! I bounce around the venue during set break to enjoy more libations and familiar faces in other corners of the room.

Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

Second set begins with an instant dance party spurred by “Wappy Sprayberry.” This dancey love song sets the tone for the rest of the evening. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the lyrics in this song always hit me hard, reminding me not to take love for granted.

We’re all reminded in security, So I pray and hope to have you next to me. There’s nothing wrong as far as you can see, And who can deny that pull.”

The abrupt ending of Wappy instantly transforms into “Hey Nineteen,” a Steely Dan cover that is one of their simpler songs and easy to sing along to. This song choice gave way to lots of surprised eyes and accepting smiles from the crowd. Bayliss switches the lyrics up a bit by singing “Moved down to [Orlando], where the hell am I?” instead of “Moved down to Scarsdale …” The lyrics also include the lines “Hey nineteen, that’s ‘Retha Franklin, she don’t remember the Queen of Soul.” This is a creative and classy way way to give props to the queen herself who passed away earlier that day. It was at this point in the show we really start to think we might get an Aretha Franklin cover later in the show.

A build up to a solid rocking jam slowly burns out but never stops as it magically transforms into the intro sounds of “Rocker Part 2,” one of my personal favorites. It is such a favorite that toward the end of the song as one of the craziest jams for this track that I’ve ever heard begins to slow down and fade out and and transition into the next song, I feel it is my duty to let everyone around me know that they didn’t actually finish the song which has a defined ending. I eagerly await the ending of “Rocker Part 2” to show its filthy face somewhere later in the second set or encore, but my efforts would be futile as they never come back to finish it. Meh.

Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

Once “Rocker Part 2” fades away and the intro sounds of “Utopian Fir” began, we all knew the time for some Aretha had come. Fir always features a cover song tease, and every now and then a full cover song is played in its entirety within the middle. Right around the 2:30 mark of the song, the cover tease arrives, and low and behold, it is Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” which is teased for a minute and then we’re back into Fir. A few minutes later, we are exposed to another “Respect” tease which is extended out in solid fashion with guitarist Jake Cinninger joining Joel Cummins on the keys. The song jams into its usual weird self before returning back in reggae-dub style, which always gets me to high steppin’ and arm swingin’.

Next up is a new one, “Looks” which is the second track of 2018’s new not-so-secretly released It’s Not Us and also the earlier released album companion to It’s You. This song is played pretty much note for note how it is on the album. I can’t wait for this song to marinate and mature into something much more exploratory in future shows.

Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

The opening drops of “Wife Soup” begin over the between-song chatter that fills the room between songs. Time to get those hands up and give praise to the jam gods of this little circus we’re all so lovingly apart of. With both hands raised in worship fashion, sing along with me:

Ooohhh ooooohhhhh! Ooohhh ooooohhhhh! Ooohhh ooooohhhhh! You wouldn’t even believe your eyes, it’s all your circus now.”

Wow, what a doozy of a show! What encore song will be the cherry on this delicious night?! What are they cooking up in the kitchen backstage?? Well, they emerge back onstage with a yummytastic “In The Kitchen” which will do just fine, especially with a Yes “Roundabout” tease as the intro. A classic and personal fave, this song gives me the chills, appropriately enough as Baylis begins, “It was cold in the kitchen and the lights were low as winter slowly stumbled home.” A few lines later, Bayliss asks the crowd “I was short on opinions and I wanted to know, if we’re gonna see any of your faces tomorrow?” Indeed, he would see my face up close and personal in Miami Beach tomorrow night. The Sober Goat is going to be closer to the band than anyone in the room tomorrow night. 📸

What a way to start a 3-night run in my home state! I go to a quiet little after party for a few hours after the show then make my way home to RAGE, REST, REPEAT. One down, two to go. Shit’s gonna get real down in MIA. 

Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

SETLIST

08.16.2018 HOUSE OF BLUES, LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL, USA
Set 1: “Jekyll & Hyde” > “Room to Breathe, Much Obliged” > “Triangle Tear,” “Slacker,” “Syncopated Strangers”[1], “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”[1]

Set 2: “Wappy Sprayberry” > “Hey Nineteen” > “Rocker Part 2” > “Utopian Fir”[2], “Looks,” “Wife Soup”

Encore: “In The Kitchen”

[1] with Roosevelt Collier on steel guitar
[2] with “Respect” (Aretha Franklin) jam/quote; with Jake on keys
Support: Spafford
Purchase via UMLive: 08.16.2018, House of Blues, Orlando, FL

Umphrey's McGee House of Blues Orlando Florida Setlist 2018

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ORLANDO PHOTOS

 


NIGHT 2 — FRIDAY (MIAMI)

Umphrey’s McGee Miami Live Review by Spencer Storch.
Umphrey’s McGee Miami Photos + Video by Richie Williams “The Sober Goat.”

Night two of a three-night Florida run and I’m ready another heater; this time in South Florida.  Umphrey’s McGee, originally from South Bend, IN, tours far and wide to reach their fans in every part of the country and we are lucky to get 3 shows (Orlando, Miami, St. Augustine) right here in our Sunshine State! I hop in the Cadillac with The Sober Goat and we make our way to the beautiful city of Miami where we arrive at the Fillmore for an evening with prog-rockers Umphrey’s McGee, supported by a pure jamband: Spafford.

First let me start by saying I love The Fillmore in Miami.  Security at the door is quick and organized.  The lobby has a live band as well as plenty of points of sale for their thirsty patrons.  Already I’m delighted by the space and feel of the venue.  Next, we ascend to the top floor where almost have the place to ourselves, we venture out onto the balcony for our seats, which felt very close to the stage.  There really isn’t a bad seat in the house.

The lights twinkle in the chandelier overhead as we dive headfirst into night two of Umphrey’s McGee!  “Remind Me” is first up and it is a two-headed-beast of a song.  Beginning as a slower more thought provoking song, it soon fades out into the “Sex Metal” portion which is heavy and fast!  Flashing red lights, thrashing arms, and shaking walls all synchronized to the sound of Jake Cinninger’s guitar.  The crowd calls back to the band, whistling and howling loudly as they beg for more. 

After “Xmas during Wartime” they perform “Conduit.”  Here guitarists Cinninger and Bayliss one-up each other with screaming guitar solos while keyboardist Joel “The Milk Man” Cummins goes against the grain and adds a woozy down tempo jazz layer that sends the jam to new heights!  Up next is “What We Could Get,” and both Cinninger and bassist Ryan Stassik are so moved by the song they can hardly keep their spot on their carpets.

Of course they play dance track “Miami Virtue” in SoFla, but the dancing comes instantly at the sounds of Jakes revving guitar.  The meat of the song is so juicy: lighting director Jefferson Waful turns down the vibe and uses the backdrop as a canvas while Stasik and drummer Kris Meyers turn up the dance party to eleven!  Just when I think it couldn’t get any hotter, they drop into “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent.  Like bacon hitting a hot pan, the room is sizzling and I’m standing here drooling.  Before I can wipe my face the rest of the band drops out to let Meyers and percussionist Andy Farag do their thing.  The set fills out with “White Man’s Moccasins,” “Ride On Pony,” and “Plunger.” 

After a quick break we are back at it again, this time on the floor!  “Making Flippy Floppy” by the Talking Heads pops off and its like the party never stopped.  Here we go — zero to sixty! 80’s funk rock turns into a pulsing rave with “Night Nurse,” and before I know it I’m in a “Booth Love” with a “Kashmir” center!  I need a break from dancing, sweat pouring from me, but I can’t resist!  This band has me hooked!  Lead singer Brendan Bayliss comes to the mic in between songs to let us know they’re going to play us a “love song.”  They do nothing of the sort, instead cause the room to tremble and shake with the thunder of “Wizard Burial Ground.”  We are allowed to catch our breaths for a moment with “Upward” but then float on to a rockin’ “Phils’ Farm” to end the set.  

Tired but resilient, we take one last climb to the chandeliers and the balcony for the encore.  From there we enjoy “Gulf Stream” into the finish of the self-reflective “Remind Me.”

The lights come up and people begin to exit the venue.  Drunks stumble trying to find their way, friends leave giggling, while fans woo back and forth over the crowd as if to vent the excitement that is inside of them.  There is still one more day of rock and roll tomorrow in St. Augustine and I can’t wait to do it all over again!

SETLIST

08.17.2018 THE FILLMORE MIAMI BEACH, MIAMI BEACH, FL, USA
Set 1: “Nipple Trix” > “Remind Me,” “Xmas at Wartime,” “Conduit,” “What We Could Get,” “Miami Virtue”[1] > “Drums” > “White Man’s Moccasins,” “Ride On Pony,” “Plunger”[2]

Set 2: “Making Flippy Floppy” > “Night Nurse” > “Booth Love”[3], “Wizard Burial Ground,” “Upward,” “Phil’s Farm”

Encore: “Gulf Stream” > “Remind Me”

[1] with “Stranglehold” (Ted Nugent) jam
[2] with “Zsa Zsa Gabor, Fifi” quote
[3] with “Kashmir” (Led Zeppelin) jam
Notes:
with “Xxplosive” (Dr. Dre) tease before “Upward”

Support: Spafford
Purchase via UMLive: 08.17.2018, The Fillmore, Miami Beach, FL

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MIAMI PHOTOS

 


NIGHT 3 — SATURDAY (ST. AUGUSTINE)

Umphrey’s McGee St. Augustine Live Review by Richie Williams “The Sober Goat.” 
Umphrey’s McGee St. Augustine Photos by Matthew Wright.

Saturday morning, August 18, 2018. I awake in an apartment on the penthouse floor of a Miami condo tower … Holy Sh*t! I must of had a damn good time last night! 

I certainly did enjoy myself the night before. Umphrey’s McGee rocked my face off at The Fillmore in Miami Beach on night two of their 3-night run though Florida with special guest Spafford. Night one in Orlando on Thursday was fun, but last night’s Miami show easily surpassed Orlando with song selection and energy, at least in my humble opinion. 😎

I step out onto the balcony of the penthouse and overlook the City of Miami, taking it all in, feeling like I’m on top of the world. If only I could see Umphrey’s McGee again tonight … oh wait, I can! I think I’ll do that. Today is gonna be a good day … albeit a long day as my Umphreak partner in crime, Spencer, gather ourselves for the drive from Miami to Saint Augustine for the final night of the run. Will this Saint Augustine show top Miami?!

Let’s find out …

Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

Special note: It is lighting director Jefferson Waful’s bithday tongiht!!! Everyone pay special attention to the lights! As if we didn’t already do that. Happy birthday dude. Bayliss has everyone say “Happy Birthday” to Waful and says he’s turning the big 2-9, however there is a bit of skepticism floatin’ around the crowd about that alleged fact. Truth be told … he’s way older than 29. 😉

Remember in my review the Orlando show when I mentioned that the first set of almost every Umphrey’s show starts with a 2 to 3-minute instrumental intro track to psych everyone up? Well, they played “Jekyll & Hyde” in Orlando and “Nipple Trix” in Miami. However, tonight’s show in Saint Augustine withholds an intro track and bangs right out the gate with a 19-minute “Draconian” which is one of their darker tunes! Yes, I said a 19-minute rendition. Whew! I like it, a lot.

This abruptly ends in a beautiful segue into a song that on the opposite end of the feels spectrum, the ever so happy “Partyin’ Peeps.” This tune starts out as a light reggae tune about partying, but just as any good party goes, it evolves into an up-beat fist-pumping rock dance masterpiece.

Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

Then just like that, this set goes dark again with “Morning Song” which is actually near the top of my wish list for this weekend’s run. I sing every song with as much emotion as I have left in the tank. 

Here’s your morning song, Sometimes things go wrong, But that’s okay. But tomorrow’s new, Then I’ll think of you along the way. I feel incomplete, But I’m afraid to meet a stronger fate.”

The pace quickly changes again as they go into a club-worthy dance tune, “Bad Friday.” This is a great dance song which gets the crowd moving in a completely different motion. Double the pace, easily. This song is sometimes considered overplayed and a little on the unimpressive side, but I enjoy it live when properly placed, like when it was the lead up song to midnight on New Years Eave in Atlanta on 12/31/2014.

However, the next song choice completely baffled me — “No Diablo,” right after “Bad Friday,” made me give the band a stink face of slight disapproval. I honestly can’t believe they are play these two songs back to back. Yet, after all the history of these two songs being in the not-so-popular category of the hardcore faithfuls, I guess it was only a matter of time before I heard them back to back. I bounce my head and sing along when I feel like it, wondering what’s coming next.

Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

The song ends and Bayliss says “Man, you guys are rowdy tonight, we like that a lot.” AND THEN … the intro riffs of The Pixie’s “Where Is My Mind” creep into the air and smiles of disbelief surround the room. I was just thinking that … where the fuck is my mind? A very well placed and much needed cover at just the right time. I can’t help but think of the movie Fight Club

The last song of the first set is one that breaks be out of my shell. I don’t know what it is about “The Floor” that gets me bustin’ loose, maybe it’s the lyrics that say “I won’t waste mine, They can’t make me all right. I’m hollow, like a bent line, So keep me posted outside. My old frame of mind, It can’t get me there on time. If waiting is a crime, Surely we’ll be fine.” Or maybe it’s just the insane headbanging riff which follows, the beat is simply impossible to ignore. I sing with all the breath I have left as the show lights go dark, then the white house lights come on and Bayliss says those infamous words … “Thank ya’ll so very much. We’re taking a short break, we’ll see ya in a few minutes for another set.” I’m gonna need more than a few minutes. Commence set break wandering and shenanigans. 

Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

Ok, so as if a 19-minute “Draconian” to open up the show wasn’t dirty enough, the second set opens with a 20-minute “Ocean Billy” which I’ll admit was the most anticipated song of the night. I mean, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre is located within Anastasia State Park on St. Augustine Beach … we all knew we were getting a Billy tonight, we just didn’t know it was gonna be a 20-minute rager!

What follows just so happens to be one of my most wanted songs on this run … “Loose Ends.” There are so many loose ends that need to be tightened in my world, this song is the comforting release I needed. I hold my arms wide and sing as loud as I can: “What would it take? Don’t make me beg. I’m falling on my knees. Could you stick around to tighten loose ends for me? It’s not too difficult to tighten loose ends.” Slap me silly, I’m so satisfied!

Bayliss addresses the crowd again:

Hey birthday boy, you mind illuminating the room for us for a second so we can see Saint Augustine for all its glory? Yes! We love this town, we love this city, we love this room. Every time we come here, you guys are off the hook. We appreciate that, we really really do. Let’s keep it goin’. Saint Augustine, one more time, let me hear you. We gotta come here for two nights, we gotta come back again, huh?”

YES PLEASE!

Then they immediately start playing a recently critically acclaimed fan favorite, “Attachments” which is our photographer’s (Matthew Wright) most wanted song on this run, and he just so happens to be standing right next to me on the floor when it starts. I turn my head and our wide eyes lock in pure satisfaction ready to fuck shit up. And hot damn if this didn’t end up being another 20-minute rendition. WTF?!

After that Hall of Fame worthy “Attachments” Bayliss readdresses the crowd:

I gotta be completely honest with you guys, I woke up today and i felt like dog shit and I feel awesome right now ’cause you guys are giving it to us and making this very easy. We appreciate that.”

After that heater is a relatively short and tame “Nemo” the boys pick a wildcard in Mark Ronson’s “Daffodils.” This is the one song I need to get more familiar with. I enjoy Waful’s light show during this solid dance party which also gives me time to gaze around this fantastic venue and ponder what set closing song it was preceding. 

Bayliss, once again, talks to us:

God damn, Saint Augustine, you were doing it right tonight.” He then gives credit where credit is due: “Can we get one big round of applause for Spafford, everybody? This next one goes out to those guys.”

The next one is “The Silent Type”which is the first hit off the previously mentioned. A fresh new dance track with fun lyrics to experiment on and is given a prime opportunity to finish a second set strong. The new blood delivers. And now, well I can already taste the encore, and it’s delicious.

Hey Bayliss, talk to us again, pretty please?

“These are the nights we live for people, you guys, seriously. Thank you so much. Can you guys all come to the next one and do everything you did tonight tomorrow, ’cause it would make tomorrow sweet. Happy Birthday, Waful!”

I bet he says that to all the crowds … Just kidding, this crowd was LitAF!!!

The encore is everyone’s favorite, the anthem-esque “40’s Theme.” As much as a legend as this song is, I’ll admit that it feels a bit oddly placed as an encore to a 3-night regional run, as it undoubtedly falls into the early-in-the-run category. Yet alas, Umphrey’s knows no rules. And I rage this vintage jam as I would do any time I hear it, for all jams are created equal, especially if it is a Florida jam. “A little freaky on a Saturday night … Hit it!” Ffffffffffffff Forty’s! 

#NeverMissAFloridaRun

Hey, Bayliss, tell me goodnight …

“Thank ya’ll for for lettin’ us do what we do. Happy birthday, Jefferson Waful. One more time for Spafford, everybody. Be safe on your way home.”

Umphreys McGee Florida Run 2018

SETLIST

08.18.2018 ST. AUGUSTINE AMPHITHEATRE, ST. AUGUSTINE, FL, USA
Set 1: “Draconian,” “Partyin’ Peeps” > “Morning Song” > “Bad Friday” > “No Diablo,” “Where Is My Mind?” > “The Floor”

Set 2: “Ocean Billy,” “Loose Ends,” “Attachments,” “Nemo” > “Daffodils,” “The Silent Type”

Encore: “40’s Theme”

Support: Spafford
Purchase via UMLive: 08.18.2018, St Augustine Amphitheatre, St. Augustine, FL

Stream the show below and relive the magic on Mixcloud, thanks to Butch Almberg.

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