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Published: 2013/11/02

Umphrey’s McGee Invites Kevin Sinclair in Milwaukee

Continuing their run at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theatre, Umphrey’s McGee delivered one of the best shows in recent memory following their sixth annual mashup show on the opening night of the run. Kicking things off with the classic staple “All in Time,” the band set the tone right off the bat, delivering tight, focused improv throughout.

The second song featured a familiar guest, saxophonist Kevin Sinclair, who sits in with the band frequently during their Midwest shows. Sinclair lent his sax to “Ringo” that once again featured extended improv. The rare full band “Kimble” dropped in the third slot, showcasing keyboardist Joel Cummins’ prowess. “Sociable Jimmy” included one of the jams of the night, taking on a dark, brooding tone thanks to the stellar bass work from Ryan Stasik (Stasik was the MVP throughout the evening). The rocking “1348” and “Hajimemashite” brought some familiar, upbeat grooves. The transition from “1348” to “Haji” took on a spacey, uplifting vibe as guitarist Brendan Bayliss allowed the build into “Haji” to last quite a while. “The Fussy Dutchman” and energetic “Partyin’ Peeps” closed the set.

After a quick setbreak, the band took the stage to deliver their most impressive block of music in quite some time, opening with the improv-giant “Der Bluten Kat.” Normally containing two improv sections, Umphrey’s took this opportunity to insert two distinct pieces within “DBK.” The first came in the form of “Final Word,” a selection from UM’s Raw Stewage quarter at UMBowl. The lyrical composition gave way to additional sections of “Der Bluten Kat” before Jake Cinninger led the band into an instrumental version of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” The band then weaved their way back into “Der Bluten Kat” in expert fashion, finishing up the monster song to the delight of the packed house in Milwaukee.

After twenty-plus minutes of heavy jamming, the band lightened the mood with a cover of the Yes tune “Roundabout.” While the crowd had a chance to exhale and sing along, that feeling wouldn’t last as Umphrey’s dropped a standout version of “Wappy Sprayberry.” Featuring three distinct, dark sections of improv, the band crafted another fifteen-plus minute jam to the tune of a beautiful landscape painted by LD Jefferson Waful. After an energetic build towards the end of “Wappy,” Umphrey’s finished the previously unfinished “1348” from the first set.

The next selection showed the band wasn’t quite done with their mashup theme, as Umphrey’s debuted a rock and roll mashup of “The Final Countdown” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that sent the Riverside Theatre crowd into a frenzy. With the place completely unglued, the band maneuvered through a solid version of “Phil’s Farm” to close the set.

During the encore, percussionist Andy Farag stepped to the mic in a rare appearance of “Cousin Eli” for Snoop Dogg’s “Ain’t No Fun.” Joining Cousin Eli on vocals was long time friend of the band, Adam Budney. A stellar, loose, jammed out version of the ultimate Umphrey’s live song “Divisions” closed the show in fine fashion that included bits of “Baba O’Riley.”

Umphrey’s McGee returns to the Riverside Theatre tonight to close out their run in Milwaukee. The show is available via webcast.

Here’s a look at the setlist from last night:

Umphrey’s McGee, November 1, 2013, Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee, WI

Set 1: You Got the Wrong Guy>All In Time, Ringo>Kimble, Sociable Jimmy>1348>Hajimemashite, The Fussy Dutchman, Partyin’ Peeps

Set 2: Der Bluten Kat>Final Word>Der Bluten Kat>I’m on Fire>Der Bluten Kat, Roundabout, Wappy Sprayberry>1348, The Final Teen Spirit, Phil’s Farm

Encore: Ain’t No Fun, Divisions

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