Umphrey’s McGee, The Wilma Theatre, Missoula, MT- 3/5
Photo by Kevin Kenly
Rainbows once again poured out from Umphrey’s McGee’s lights, covering the packed house of smiling faces at the Wilma in Missoula, Montana. One of the first stops on their latest tour, UM did not disappoint as they played with the emotional strings of the audience like the tempo of their songs. The group gradually brought the audience up and then suddenly doubled and tripled their tempo as if trying to blend a punk or rock song into their jammed-out style. It made for a great effect.
Pumping up the crowd gently, the group started off the night with an ascent into “Catshot,” an instrumental that starts out with angelic notes from Joel Cummins on his keyboard. This set the stage nicely for the fan favorite “The Floor,” which has been featured in their sets for years. They followed this with “ 2×2” as Brendan Bayliss brought his soft spoken voice along with highs, lows, and aggressive solos by guitarist Cinninger.
From here UM continued rocking out with “Lyrical Stew,” “Sociable Jimmy,” and “Booth Love.” If Montana fans liked the group’s original songs, they loved it when they played covers, in particular “Come Closer,” a mash-up of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” and the Beatles “Come Together” that closed out the first set.
Coming back from their break, Umphrey’s McGee eased back into the show with “Conduit,” a great example of what the group has to offer. It shows off their gentle vocals and transitional jam style that flows from hard rock to classical guitar.
The rest of this set seemed to blend together into one long jam. UM introduced “Eat” right into the middle of “Nemo.” Also, “Liberty Echo” and “Uncommon” were fused together into one long song.
For an encore, they performed one last cover, “Hey Nineteen” by Steely Dan, blended with “Phil’s Farm.” Everybody in the audience seemed to sing along, and the pairing also emphasized the many styles and tastes that Umphrey’s offers in a given night.