Umphrey’s McGee shows are unique in song choice and song structure with every show as proven last night. They made that obvious as they repeated zero songs from their last gig in Louisville, an August 2013 gig at The Louisville Palace.
What is steadfast though is the dedication of their fans. The amphitheater looked about 70% full, but seats weren’t really an issue. The majority of fans gathered as close to the stage as possible dancing, flailing, headbanging, or just practically shaking to whatever sounds Umphrey’s McGee was throwing at them.
Dedication is an understatement for one fan last night who got a shout out from keyboardist Joel Cummins. It was the fan’s 250th Umphrey’s McGee show.
Along with the dedicated following, there was also the demographic of middle-aged to older men who likely got into Umphrey’s McGee as the band has many influences from the progressive rock 1970’s like Yes, Pink Floyd, and Frank Zappa.
Whether you are a fan of Umphrey’s McGee who has been to 250 shows or a rookie, what do you really want? Jams, of course. That’s exactly where the band started with a 22 minute “Gurgle-->Much Obliged-->Soup” jam. It was high rock’n’roll energy from the start. At least from last night show, the band is really honing in on their recent rock kick.
Another highlight of the first of two sets was “Rocker 2” which culminated in a ferocious riff when guitarist Jake Cinniger absolutely let loose with his musical ax.
But it turns out that the first set was simply a warm up because the second set was absolutely incredible. It started with a quick version of “Cut The Cable,” the single from their most recent album Similar Skin. A “Hurt Bird Bath” jam absolutely reached huge heights and in this writer’s eyes and ears was the pinnacle of the show.
If just by chance, anyone got lost during the second set, the band brought them back in with “Come Closer,” a jam that mashes up “Come Together” by The Beatles and “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails.
The set was ended by a wonderful duo of The Linear, another track off the new album, and Cemetery Walk II from 2009’s Mantis.
The jams were intricate and emphatic and the crowd was in tune. They were lit up with joy and wonder at what Umphrey’s McGee would do next. This review would normally give you some notes in anticipation about what St. Louis can expect at tonight’s show, but I can only guess. Every show is different. What we do know is they will deliver for their faithful.
Unfortunately, this writer had to work in the morning so he missed the fifteen minute encore of “Prowler” and “2nd Self.”