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Umphrey's McGee - 10/27/2009:
Umphrey's McGee - 10/27/2009:
Photos by:  Brian Spady  [View More]
Concert Review by Max Filter on 10/28/2009   

Monday was a well needed day of rest. After only 4 days of tour but an impressive 1500 miles on the road, the Brians and I were ready to relax a bit in good ol' San Francisco. We made use of the free evening to catch up on some sleep and make some progress on our developing “Terpes” (tour sickness caused from exhaustion, poor nutritional intake, and extended close proximity to others). In the morning, Brian Tobian decided to take a further night off to recover while myself and Brian Spady rallied as best we could and made tracks for Crystal Bay, NV which lies a few hundred feet over the state line on the north shore of Lake Tahoe.

The show took place at the Crystal Bay Club & Casino. It's a nice enough little casino with a fairly intimate ballroom, featuring smooth hardwood floors (without the same bounce as the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, but elegant all the same). The club had set up most of their Halloween decorations early from the look of things, and the look of things was good. Cobwebbed ceilings, hanging ghouls and specters, and animatronic witches stirring cauldrons. In addition, the casino has several absurdly large crystals and geodes on display throughout the bars and the gambling floor. Quite the setting for an Umphrey's McGee show. It seems like the band managed to get some rest as well, because when they took the stage they were fresh and eager to get some rocking done.

The show started off with Made To Measure, the first track off of Mantis and the first repeat of our stretch of the tour. No complaints from me however; this is my favorite track off the new album. M2M featured a Jazz Odyssey that jammed on into the heavy instrumental riffs of Get In The Van. I've only gotten this song once before but already I'm eager to hear it again. The same can be said for the next tune, Example 1. The band seemed pleased with the size and energy of the crowd, enough to jam the lounge inspired song out to 9 minutes. In The Kitchen was what followed the raucous round of applause, starting with a slow warm up and developing into a roaring Cinninger led “Jimmy Stewart.” The “stew” rocked on for a little while, then deviated into Dump City while leaving Kitchen unfinished.

Dump City was neat and tidy, not much jamming but not rushed either. We were treated to Cold Smoke next, the newest Umphrey's song which was debuted in Milwaukee at the beginning of the month. It sounds like it could be a b-side from the Mantis recordings, or at the very least something they created while experimenting with “stews” in the live Mantis tracks earlier this year. I'd have to say that I'm a fan. Continuing the delightful set list, the boys launched into Nemo which is a favorite of mine under any conditions. This Nemo wound off on a long and fantastic “stew” before coming back to its gentle and heavenly finale. The set finished up with the long overdue reggae jam Thin Air; and how appropriate, considering the 6500 mountain pass we had come through to get to the show. The whole thing came thundering to a close with one of the band's old tricks that never fails to put a smile on my face, the In The Hall of The Mountain King Outro. Thanks Umphrey's.

After a half hour setbreak in which there was enough time for everyone to try their hands at the card tables and slot machines (including Wade throwing down some cash at the roulette table), the band returned to the spookily decorated stage. As if feeling the casino-dazzled vibe of the crowd they bounced off into Bright Lights, Big City, the rock-star-anthem (“Mouse trap, on your body/Groupies, in the lobby/Cold Cash, In your pocket/Cool Vibes, in your socket”). A big untz Jazz Odyssey transgressed into something that sounded like a Peter Frampton tune before coming back to the theme. Crystal Bay was no Vegas, but Umphrey's made it clear that it didn't make much difference to them. The long awaited Mail Package was next on the list and did not disappoint. Another great solo from Cinninger and his amazing MoogTar. A pretty standard Out of Order took up about 7 minutes, not bad by any means but nothing noteworthy either. At least not compared to the half hour journey that followed.

FF was met with the typical clouds of smoke from the audience, seemingly in ignorance of Nevada's brutal possession laws. A rocking “Jimmy Stewart” with a surprisingly hot piano solo from Cummins cooked along for a few minutes before segueing into the hard-to-catch Last Man Swerving. They took the time to give this song its proper due and finished it off with a brief reprise into the end of In The Kitchen. If not for want of a cover it would have looked like the end of the second set. The Simon and Garfunkel tune 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover was the choice and, as usual, was performed with style and precision. Umphrey's left the stage for all of 30 seconds before returning for the encore, a glorious Hurt Bird Bath, my first of the tour. All in all I'd consider this a pretty solid show. Let's all cross our fingers and hope for two nights in Crystal Bay next year.

Set One
Made to Measure > Get in the Van, Example 1 > In the Kitchen > Dump City, Cold Smoke, Nemo, Thin Air
Set Two
Bright Lights, Mail Package, Out Of Order, FF > Last Man Swerving > In The Kitchen, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
Encore Hurt Bird Bath 

Photos by: Brian Spady  
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