Umphrey’s Ends Fall Tour With Memorable Show
Umphrey’s McGee closed their 2013 Fall Tour with the third and final show of their three-night run at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theatre. Building off two stellar shows to begin the run, including the band’s sixth annual mashup show on Halloween, Umphrey’s closed the weekend in fine fashion, delivering another two-set show full of noteworthy improv, covers and bustouts.
Kicking the night off with a combination of old school Umphrey’s tunes, the band dug into “Plunger” and “Much Obliged,” the latter of which featured a solid extended jam, touching on some of the group’s funkier influences. Continuing its hot streak of high improv output, “Higgins” delivered yet again, with a dark, dance vibe that warmed up the crowd on a cold Milwaukee night. The beautiful contrast of “Sweetness” following the heavier “Higgins” showcased the band’s prowess on this night (and every night on the run).
After a pair of new cuts “Comma Later” (which featured a rare bit of improv) and “No Diablo” (dedicated to guitarist Jake Cinninger’s son), Umphrey’s closed the opening set with one of the finest “40’s Theme”‘s in a long time, working in a snippet of The Police’s “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” with Brendan Bayliss on vocals.
Throughout the weekend, Umphrey’s managed to expertly craft sets that contained great flow, variety and an opportunity for improv at every turn. For the final set of the run, all of those angles aligned perfectly, as the band ripped through one of their most intense sets to date. Starting it off with the epic, anthemic “Mantis,” the Chicago sextet moved through a rock opera of sorts as “Mulche’s Odyssey” fell in the middle of “Mantis” before the band soared into the ending of “Mantis,” reminiscent of a notable performance from UM’s 2010 Red Rocks show when the two rock anthems were last paired together.
The next two cuts saw Umphrey’s dig into a variety of improv, first with a particularly bouncy version of Death By Stereo’s “Miami Virtue” that featured stellar work from bassist Ryan Stasik, continuing his great playing all week despite sporting some athletic tape on his forearm. Stasik led a jam that featured Jake Cinninger jumping on keys with Joel Cummins for a dual keys jam. “JaJunk” followed, again nearing the fifteen-minute mark, and along with its usual dual-guitar theatrics featured some more full band funk grooves before ascending to its peak, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Umphrey’s wasn’t quite ready to put the mashup theme to bed, as the second all-UM original mashup debuted. In the same vein as “In the Puppet’s Kitchen,” “Push the Booth Deeper” made its first appearance. Featuring the Umphrey’s tunes “Push the Pig,” “Booth Love” and “Deeper,” the band mashed together some of its grooviest tunes, creating an impenetrable dance groove that pleased the already satisfied crowds. This mashup is noteworthy to those who enjoy when the band weaves in different vocal parts, as each member was seemingly singing a different part of a different song at once.
UM’s first “...And Justice For All” in 577 shows (10/17/2008) closed the set and is considered one of the biggest bustouts of the year. Having covered Metallica’s “Orion” at this year’s UMBowl, the band brought back one of its original Metallica pieces. A “Bridgeless,” that included UM Stage Manager Robbie Williams removing a fan from the front of the stage in a manner that would make the Chicago Bears linebacking core proud, closed the show with yet another display of fiery guitars from Bayliss and Cinninger. While UM doesn’t have another Milwaukee show scheduled for the foreseeable future, Brendan Bayliss did hint at the possibility of ringing in 2015 at the venue, commenting on how they’d like to come back for “3 or 4 nights.”
Speaking of Bayliss and Cinninger, the UM duo will play their annual Acoustic Holiday Show December 7 at Chicago’s Park West. The band will return to the stage December 16 at Mayan Holidaze as they move towards their run in Denver, CO for New Year’s Eve.
Here’s the setlist from last night as it appears in our Box Scores section:
Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, WI
Set I: Plunger > Much Obliged > Plunger, Higgins > Sweetness > Comma Later, No Diablo, 40’s Theme* > The Bed’s Too Big Without You^ > 40’s Theme
Set II: Preamble > Mantis > Mulche’s Odyssey > Mantis, Miami Virtue^^ > JaJunk, Push the Booth Deeper%, ...And Justice for All
Notes: *with One Nation Under a Groove (Funkadelic) tease
^debut, The Police; incomplete
^^with Jake on keys
%debut; Booth Love + Deeper + Push the Pig mash-up