On August 30th, Umphrey's McGee made their way back to New Orleans after having been away for a year and a half. Currently, they are making their way around the US on their "It's not us, it's You" tour, which they kicked off in Buffalo, NY. We were their third to last stop, so essentially they saved one of the best cities for last.
Starting out in 1997, Umphrey's McGee, was made up of college students off of the Notre Dame campus. They started out performing original songs and covers coming from the bands Phish and The Grateful Dead. These two bands including many others were a large influence on this new and upcoming 90s band. They started to make it big when they let their listeners record their tunes and share it around on tapes. Eventually, in the 2000s they started experimenting with jams. Then, their work made it to the stores. This made them reach an all time high at Bonaroo. Since then, they have been held to the same standard as Phish. Umphrey's McGee is a band that deserves this recognition.
Fast forward to August 30th 2018, The Nth Power begins to play at 7:30 and opens for the band. Potentially, they could rise to the same level as these modern day jam bands. Their songs have meaningful messages and use sax and trumpet to transcend their sound. Keep this band on your watch list.
It's now 8:45 and Umphrey's takes the stage. The light shines down on them which cover keeps their faces covered. The lights go up once the first chord of Goonville is struck. The band starts to play and the crowd can't contain themselves. I have people around me jumping and dancing to the fullest extent. The lights shine, and honestly, it was breath taking display of colors. Occasionally, we get some chills jams but for the most part they are intense.The concert continues on until 10pm. It was filled with a lot of improv and jams that honestly, inspired me to play more music. Right now we're in intermission.
It's 10:45 and the jams begin once again. I immediately start screaming when they play their second song of their second set. It's their own cover of Dear Prudence. This experience was one to remember for a few reasons. First, not many bands cover this song. Second, the entire venue was singing the lyrics so loudly that you could hear it echo around the room. Third, the jams that Umphrey's put into that song just seamlessly fit. It was as if they were supposed to be in the song. So I had already thought I was pumped, but Umphrey's brought the audience and I to a whole different level. Their guitar player, Jake Cinninger, threw in more bits and pieces of covers into jams such as riffs from Stairway to Heaven and Rhiannon. Brendan Bayliss even shared anecdotes about Whistle Kids. The night was closed with a cover from The Who. The jamming throughout the night was made up of pure talent. If you ever get the chance to see this band, do it.
Also, Cinninger threw me the setlist. I was starstruck.