Umphrey’s McGee announce a four night tour in Florida in January. The tour has the band in St. Pete, Orlando, Miami, and finally St. Augustine. This last leg in Florida brings an end to the band’s winter tour. After what is already an exciting month (Fool’s Paradise & Wanee), I am ready for the month’s grand finale and the first night of a four night Florida run is here! I cannot contain my excitement as we drive from Orlando to the West coast of Florida. Watch out Umphrey’s, a car full of progressive rock enthusiasts is barreling down the expressway towards you. No horn, no brakes! 😎
We arrive at Jannus Live, one of my favorite venues in Florida, and catch opener, Big Something from Burlington, North Carolina. This six piece sushi roll of a band incorporating rock, pop, funk, and improv. Just off the release of their most recent EP, Tumbleweed, Big Something has been touring to promote both their album and their upcoming September music festival: The Big What?! They are an awesome opener and get the party started right as the crowd rejoices in their jammy playfulness. Check out video of the last 17 minutes of the show, courtesy of The Sober Goat, which starts at the end of a monster cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla” followed by “Pinky’s Ride,” band introductions, and the set closer “Megalodon.”
Up next is the cream of the crop: Umphrey’s McGee. Hailing from South Bend, these progressive rock pioneers are blazing a trail across America with their non-stop touring and face melting jams. Jannus is a wonderful outdoor venue with patio balconies and bars on all sides. One of the cool quirks of the place is the band’s ability to enter the stage from above via a spiral staircase.
Even before the band could descend towards the eager crowd, they were urged downward with chanting and cheers. “Crucial Taunt” was the first song out of the gate. Only played once in 2016, the uplifting jam has been added to the rotation this year to the happiness of fans and crew. A mostly low-key first half (at least for these guys) featured reggae to rock song, “Higgins,” as well as the melancholy but hopeful “Morning Song,” and an uplifting “Resolution.” Not to be forgotten is the luminary excellence of one Jefferson Waful, who makes every note come to life with choice color pairings and unbelievable timing. “Space Funk Booty”… what a cosmic song and a perfect title, just check out the Instagram clip below. “13 Days” followed by a fairly standard version of “Attachments” rounds out the first set.
The second half starts with a bang! “Kula” and “Draconian” back to back are just what the doctor ordered. Shape shifting lights are the background to an awesome jam that Lead Guitarist, Jake Cinninger, repeatedly interrupts with a looping call that becomes the riff to the band’s next improv session. I can hardly keep my feet on the floor as Umph raises their level of play to full tilt.
Bassist, Ryan Stasik, encourages the fans with the patented Umphrey’s hand sign “\mm/” causing the crowd to cheer loudly back at him. Drummer, Kris Meyers, shows off his master’s degree in drumming with repeated fills and unfettered enthusiasm. Then all of a sudden we are transported back in time to 1982. Every band member channels their inner big, bad hair as they cover “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls. The smiles around the room are contagious.
We don’t stay pop for very long as these guitar heroes dive into a dark and creeping “Night Nurse.” Then the play fan fave “40’s Theme” and the original version of “Cut the Cable” lead us to the last cover of the night: “Baba O’Riley” by The Who. Oh man, we could not have asked for a better second set! The fellas returned to the stage to encore “Triple Wide.” A song that needs no help to get better, but the 80’s theme continues when they slip in a little of “Dr. Feel Good” by Motley Crue into the mix. The song ends with a teaser of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” which is common for the band to play at the end of a run’s first night. What a great show! Three more to go!
So after a few minutes at the local bar, Ringside, we hear the band, Joose, cover “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal. Saxophonist Christian Ryan and their vocalist dazzle during the cover as the crowd sings back at them arm in arm. But alas, we can’t stay too long, we must pile back into the car to make it back to Orlando. We all have work in the morning and have to get some sleep before we do it again!*
We planned to make it safely all the way home but our sleeping companion in the back seat of the car took our evening down a different path as he woke up just in time to start spilling his cookies all over the back seat. Luckily for the driver/owner of the car, our other friend saw it coming and whether his actions were to save himself or the car, he was successful in acquiring a proper receptacle just in the nick of time. Needless to say the rest of the trip was made with the windows down. Wow, what a night.
Umphrey’s McGee Setlist St. Pete 2017
04.26.2017 JANNUS LIVE, ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA
Set 1: You Got the Wrong Guy > Crucial Taunt, Higgins, Morning Song, Resolution > Space Funk Booty, Spires > 13 Days, Attachments
Set 2: Kula, Draconian, I Ran, Night Nurse > 40’s Theme, Cut the Cable > Baba O’Riley
Encore: The Triple Wide original version
Support: Big Something
Purchase via UMLive:04.26.2017, Jannus Live, Saint Petersburg, FL
Check out the FULL SET video, thanks to The Sober Goat!
Getting ready for night two of UMPH, tonight at House of Blues in Orlando at Disney Springs. I feel like I need to stretch or limber up for this one. Last night’s show was really good and I think limbering up would definitely help me to be ready for the dance, dance, revolution that is about to take place.
So we make the trek out to the venue and see Big Something bring their style of country infused jam music to the stage. They are so good and entertaining. They even have the crowd cutting up the rug with a solid cover of “Fame” by David Bowie. Casey Cranford was impressive during the solos on what looked like an electric sax. Here’s an Instagram clip of them jammin’ out!
After a short break, Umphrey’s McGee appears and the rockers take the stage for part two of their Florida run. Tonight’s show doesn’t start with the usual lead in track of music, instead the band simply walks on stage and starts playing the title track to their June 2014 album Similar Skin (one of The Sober Goat’s top fave tunes, he was happy). The guys quickly set the stage for an awesome night.
Jefferson Waful is immediately impressive with fun, colorful lights while Jake Cinninger on lead guitar rips into the crowd with the song’s solo. “Bridgeless,” a song notorious for its false endings is up next. (Sidenote: When I saw them play it at Red Rocks, 2014 I thought the song ended at least 4 times, only to be surprised by the familiar alarm-clock sounding riff waking me back up to reality.)
“Bridgeless” breaks into “Mad Love” and gives the crowd a reason to sing loud with the band. The ballad sounds kinda like what would be playing during a movie while the guy drives around thinking about whether or not he should give her a second chance. The setlist has been heavy and dramatic thus far and so the South Bend six switch it up with the quirky reggae song, “FF.” Jake spends half the song crouching to better fiddle with the knobs on his pedals. The crowd is dancing, and loving the strange sounds coming from guitarists, Cinninger and Bayliss, and Joel Cummins on keys.
The first set is filled out with a rude “Go to Hell,” a quick cover of The Beatles’ “Dig a Pony” (314 shows since last played), and “Alex’s House.” I thought the set was over, but the band dropped me down through a trap door and back in to the never ending “Bridgeless.” Whew, what a set. Already playing faster and with more intensity than the day before, my friends and I can’t wait for the second half!
Umphrey’s comes out of the gate with a strong fixture of their multi level, multi segmented jam songs. If “Bridgeless” was the theme of the first half, then “Mantis” is the theme for the second. Filled with tempo changes, a sing song chorus, and relentless shredding, this song is your favorite song of theirs that you can’t remember. With that said, there is never a good time to go to the bathroom during an Umphrey’s concert. No matter which song, you think might be boring or maybe a little too quirky for you, they are sure to impress the moment you turn your head. This was true for me as nature called during this song. I returned to catch only the tail end of guitarist Brendan Bayliss using a wine bottle to start the mid-“Mantis” song “Mullet (Over).”
“Deeper” into “The Linear” round out the three-meat musical sandwich, then right back into the free form jam section of “Mantis.” Quick moving background lights and a dark foreground make for a sinister feeling as the rapidly changing colors streak across the stage match the ending for what I would consider the best “Mantis” I’ve ever seen.
At this point, I get a chance to take a cute Umph first-timer into the pit for the rest of the set. She got her first “Tribute to the Spinal Shaft,” a heavy metal song. The band then journeyed into the softer cover of John Scofield’s “A Go Go.” Oh man, I don’t know if I can handle too much more goodness! And then they start playing “Speak Up” to which no one can resist dancing to. The back and forth riff keeps the people swaying with their friends. A stellar “Bad Friday” follows and the guys finish their night in Orlando on fire.
Encore starts with sexy, fast-paced progressive rock song “Prowler” and then shifts to a Van Halen cover. Drummer, Kris Meyers, swivels up to the mic to lead the guys in their 19th rendition of “Runnin’ with the Devil.” An excellent ending to a great night with friends. It’s always nice to be 40 friends deep at a show and the Ham Fam is out in full force! Ok, now its back home for sleep* and work… a trip to Miami tomorrow for round three is only a few hours away!
Umphrey’s McGee Setlist Orlando
04.27.2017 HO– USE OF BLUES, ORLANDO, FL, USA
Set 1: Similar Skin, Bridgeless > Mad Love, FF, Go to Hell, Dig A Pony, Alex’s House > Bridgeless
Set 2: Mantis > Mullet (Over), Deeper > The Linear > Mantis, Tribute to the Spinal Shaft > A Go Go > Speak Up, Bad Friday
Encore: Prowler > Runnin’ With The Devil
last Dig a Pony 03.13.2014 (314 shows)
last A Go Go 08.08.2014 (262 shows)
last Runnin’ With The Devil 08.31.2014 (252 shows)
Support: Big Something
Purchase via UMLive: 04.27.2017, House Of Blues, Lake Buena Vista, FL
Check out the highlight video, thanks to The Sober Goat!
Friday is here and finally I’m off work. My bud Richie, AKA The Sober Goat, picks me up and we head down to SoFLA! The weather is beautiful and other than a few crazy drivers, a bunch of accidents and traffic that is beyond my understanding (they have so many highways, how is there still traffic?), we make it to our hotel.
A wardrobe change and shower later we are off to see Big Something and Umphrey’s McGee live again! This time in the Fillmore at Miami Beach’s Jackie Gleason Theater. I love this venue.
Right in the heart of things near Miami Beach, this venue features plenty of space both in the vendor areas and in the viewing areas. Multiple entrances to the music allow for smooth flow of traffic and easy access to all the best spots. We were lucky enough to run into a bunch of old friends at the show we weren’t expecting to see, as well as, made a bunch of new friends with people who were enjoying themselves near us.
Unfortunately, because of traffic and other circumstances we missed Big Something, who I’m sure impressed in their third appearance of this epic 4-night Florida run. Umphrey’s bassist, Ryan Stasik, called to me from the stage with his hard hitting notes as I shook free of the impulse to socialize on the patio. I entered the theater to find Umphrey’s playing “Mulches Odyssey” at full speed.
The Furious 7 (Waful included) slow down in the middle of the song to play a reggae riff and guitarist Jake Cinninger won’t have any of it. He constantly is prodding and poking the band to go faster, inserting conflicting rock riffs to make the session more complicated.
“Wife Soup” and “Intentions Clear” are the slow build up songs that could be compared to the accent of a roller coaster. You’re all strapped in, clicking higher towards the top, taking in the sights your new height lends, you forget just how high you’ve climbed and just as you look around for an escape, the bottom drops out and the band twists and turns down into a scary, fast “Miss Tinkle’s Overture.” A song that always makes me feel like I’m flying through an asteroid field in the 90’s Nintendo game Star Fox.
Pink Floyd cover “Comfortably Numb” slows down the tempo and has some members of the crowd with their heads back and arms extended to the sky during the chorus. Next, the band reminds us not to mess with Bayliss unless we wanna get smoked and pleads with Stasik to take a shower in the fan favorite “Pay the Sucka” which although is really funny is also an awesome song to dance to.
After a great first set I don’t think I was ready for what came next. The second set starts with a bang: “In the Black,” a song that reminds me of “Readymade” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Then the ever weird yet comforting “Wappy Sprayberry” is accompanied by plenty of purples and greens from Mr. Waful. The weirdness continues with “The Bottom Half” and singalong “No Diablo.”
A heavyset “1348” cannonballs into the metal treading crowd. As everyone gets drenched by the power rock song, the pace is switched up when they perform Eddie Money’s single, “Two Tickets to Paradise” which was a slight nod to the stranded fans of the Fyre Festival flop. The “Dump City” dance off was up next. I can’t tell you how much fun I had flipping between the light, fluffy and the dark, jagged sides of the song.
Bayliss asks us if we’re gonna feel like shit tomorrow during “In the Kitchen” (it’s a 50/50 response throughout the crowd). This tune rounds out the second set, and the encore features a choppy and rude “2×2” with an Andy Farag led cover of Warren G and Nate Dogg’s “Regulate” in the middle. Much like a Sourpatch Kid candy, Umphrey’s music can start out sour and punch you right in the mouth, but soon after can be sweet and beautiful. That right there is the part that keeps you coming back, because you never know which one you’ll get!
Umphrey’s McGee Setlist Miami
04.28.2017 THE FILLMORE MIAMI BEACH, MIAMI BEACH, FL, USA
Set 1: Bathing Digits > Mulche’s Odyssey, Wife Soup, Intentions Clear > Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Comfortably Numb, Comma Later > Pay the Snucka
Set 2: In The Black, Wappy Sprayberry > The Bottom Half, No Diablo > 1348, Two Tickets to Paradise > Dump City, In The Kitchen
Encore: 2×2 > Regulate > 2×2
Notes: last Two Tickets to Paradise 01.24.2013 (435 shows)
Support: Big SomethingPurchase via UMLive: 04.28.2017, Fillmore Miami Beach At Jackie Gleason Theater, Miami Beach, FL
When we pull up to the venue and the lot scene is already in full effect. We hop out of the car, weary from the drive, but excited to see Umphrey’s McGee and Big Something for a final time this month. We were able to share a ticket of a friend of ours to people in the lot and they were nice enough to hook us up with a few pre-show beers and cookies! You gotta love the culture at shows like these, people are so nice, and willing to go out of their way to lend a hand.
So we get inside to catch the end of Big Something, a band that has been more than impressive in the short bursts I’ve seen them. Up next on the stage is Kris Meyers and the Never-Ending Fills, a self-given pseudo-name for Umphrey’s McGee. “Make it Right” is the first song followed by a sweet “Loose Ends” into a reggae style “Turn & Dub.”
They slide into a cover of the Police’s “Driven to Tears” that has the fastest mid-song jam I’ve seen them put in that song recently. Jake Cinninger shreds the solo and so begins the theme of the evening: Jake is a beast. “White Man’s Moccasins” and “Professor Wormbog” are both traditionally slower songs but don’t tell Jake, he’s speed picking at a feverish pace and causing the rest of the band to break a sweat in order to keep up. “2nd Self” and “Rocker Part 2” (another one of The Sober Goat’s top fave tunes) round out the first set.
A rock ‘n’ roll finish to a somewhat slower set. Also, I can’t move on without telling you how great Waful is on lights. Even with the show being early and outdoors, he still finds new and creative ways to light the band. It seems no matter the direction the band travels, he has a lightscape ready and waiting.
A short set break later and we’re back at it with a dramatic “Ocean’s Billy.” I’m instantly reminded of last night in Miami: the boys are in full-tilt rock mode with no sign of letting up. Lead singer and guitarist Brendan Bayliss gets his solo time in the next jam, “The Fussy Dutchman.” Waful dazzles with the lights while the guys on stage get jazzy in the songs slow paced improv section.
A sexy intro for “Booth Love” has the crowd clapping along. Waful turns off the front lights as Joel Cummins and the Frequent Flyers descend into a long-winded session that featured a piercing note for note battle between Bayliss and Cinninger. At this point there isn’t a still person in the building. I look around and take it all in.
I love seeing my favorite band with some of my favorite people on a beautiful night no less! SPLASH! A beer falls to the ground near me. These guys are going so hard and fast that the fans can’t even keep a grip on their beers! Whew! “Hurt Bird Bath”…. more like hurt beer bath. The pace was even quick enough for Bayliss to note “Kris Meyers on the triple bass drum.”
The end of the set shined a spotlight on percussionist Andy Farag. He had an extended conga solo during “Thin Air,” that was the longest for him that I have ever seen. The second set cover was a delicious rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” followed by a Cummins led “Den.” We ditch the pit after this and climb to the top of the seats so as to have the best view while streaming and taking pictures & video for the encore. “Jajunk” is the selection and a mighty fine one at that.
Umphrey’s McGee Setlist St. Augustine
04.29.2017 ST. AUGUSTINE AMPHITHEATRE, ST. AUGUSTINE, FL, USA
Set 1: Catshot > Make It Right, Loose Ends > Turn & Dub > Driven to Tears > White Man’s Moccasins, Professor Wormbog, 2nd Self, Rocker Part 2
Set 2: Ocean Billy, The Fussy Dutchman > Booth Love, Hurt Bird Bath, Thin Air, Kashmir, Den
Support: Big Something
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