Umphrey’s Blurs the Lines in Milwaukee
Last night, Umphrey’s McGee played Milwaukee’s Riverside Theatre for Halloween. The band presented their sixth annual mashup show and delivered a memorable performance to begin their three night jaunt at the Riverside Theatre.
Opening with the newer cut “The Floor,” the band started the show off on a high note and didn’t let up. After moving through a heavy-improv segment of “Nothing Too Fancy,” “The Linear” and “Utopian Fir,” which also included the end of “Nothing Too Fancy,” Umphrey’s dove into their first mashup of the evening, “Don’t Fear the Doves, Snucka.” The mashup that included Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” the UM original, “Pay the Snucka” and Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” showcased the band’s creativity on this night. The mashup closed the set.
The final set of Umphrey’s McGee’s Halloween show included a string of heavy hitters that began with “Puppet String,” which included lengthy improv as well as a quick venture into “Glory” before steering back into “Puppet.” The second song of the set, “Hurt Bird Bath” adopted the Halloween theme as Joel Cummins teased the “Halloween” theme song as well as a quick foray into Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The experimental vibe of the second set continued as the classic “2×2” saw an extended improv during the middle section and “Get in the Van” also took on a looser feel than normal.
The highlight of the night came late in the second set when the band broke out their second mashup, “Papa Can Change a Blurred Stone.” Initially teased by keyboardist Joel Cummins (Uncle Jesse Pinkman) on Twitter, the mashup that featured songs from 1972, 73, 2010 and 2013 certainly didn’t disappoint. Incorporating The Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” Robin Thicke’s smash hit “Blurred Lines,” Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” and LCD Soundsystem’s “I Can Change,” the band showed off their musical prowess with a stellar mashup. The humor in this particular rendition comes with the fact that Marvin Gaye’s estate is currently suing Robin Thicke over copyright infringement, claiming Thicke ripped off Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” for his song, “Blurred Lines.” Needless to say, Umphrey’s showed that Gaye has a legitimate case, seemingly melding both tunes together. Bassist Ryan Stasik also dressed the part, donning a “Batman and Robin Thicke” mashup costume.
The encore featured the last mashup of the night, with UM starting with their original “Triple Wide” before guitarist Jake Cinninger (Silent Bob Seger) began the riff to AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” This riff served as the launching point for the final mashup of the night, which included bits of Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” along with a rocking chorus of “Highway to Hell.” Brendan Bayliss (“Breaking Bad” themed HeisenBurt Reynolds) took the vocals for “Electric Avenue” while Cinninger handled the vox for “Highway to Hell.”
Other mashup costumes for the band included Kris Myers as Dr. Phil Spector and percussionist Andy Farag as Paul Ryan Braun. Umphrey’s returns to the Riverside Theatre tonight for the second night of their three night run. Cosby Sweater, with Joel Cummins, will add support.
Here’s a look at the setlist from last night:
Umphrey’s McGee, October 31, 2013, Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee, WI
Set One: The Floor, Nothing Too Fancy -> The Linear > Utopian Fir > Nothing Too Fancy, Ocean Billy, Don’t Fear the Doves, Snucka1
Encore: Electric Avenue to Hell4
 debut; When Doves Cry (Prince) + Pay the Snucka + (Don’t Fear) The Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult) mash-up
 with Halloween theme (John Carpenter) jam, and Thriller (Michael Jackson) and Day Nurse teases
 debut; Papa Was a Rolling Stone (The Temptations) + Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke)+ Got to Give It Up (Marvin Gaye) + I Can Change (LCD Soundsystem) mash-up
 debut; The Triple Wide + Highway to Hell (AC/DC) + Electric Avenue (Eddy Grant) mash-up