I have been fortunate to see Umphrey’s McGee in 16 states across this great nation. Living on the west coast I have not had the opportunity to see many shows on the eastern shore of the United States. Luckily I have met a whole host of fellow Umphfreaks in my travels and was able to find some friends that where willing to not only pick me up from the airport in Raleigh but also drive me to the last four shows of Umphrey’s Summer Tour. Special thanks go out to Ben Wimpling, Devin Scabilloni and Rebekah Thomas for providing transportation and friendship during these five consecutive days. That being said, my soft west coast skin was not prepared for the brutal heat and humidity of the east coast summer. Needless to say I spent as much time in air conditioning as possible, most of which was in the car driving the hundreds of miles that separated each of these four shows.
Night one was in Norfolk, VA at The NorVA. Excitement was in the air since nearly all the fans on the rail knew that tonight was Brendan Bayliss’s birthday. Many of which had made signs wishing the lead singer a happy birthday. The cheers escalated as the band took to the stage and the crowd began to sing the birthday song. These cheers turned into a giant roar as they lunched into the set with The Fussy Dutchman. Highlights of the first set included a Phil’s Farm sandwich with Gulf Stream wedged in the middle and a massive Mulche’s that closed it out and left the crowd begging for more. The second set contained a 14 min 2x2 and an excellent 1348 with a Jimmy Stewart placed in the middle. The night ended with the popular 40’s Theme leaving us all excited for the next show.
The second show of my east coast run took place in Myrtle Beach, SC. It took us the better part of the day to make the drive through blaring sun, most of which I thankfully spent sleeping since I had gotten next to no rest the night before. One of my favorite aspects of touring with Umphrey’s is the fans. The same strangers that we danced with the night before where in the same exact place at the rail for the House of Blues. Whatever friendships we had formed last night only became more solidified as we all waited for the show to start. As expected, Umphrey’s did not disappoint us, performing an epic 21 min Der Bluten Kat and closing out the first set with the always fun Get In The Van, clearly pointing to dedicated fan base that follows them through so many states. After a short break the band retook the stage and started the dance party that is Wappy Sprayberry. Jake Cinninger put down his guitar and took over Kris Myers’ drum kit and exploded into Moby Dick. For an encore this night the band came out and played Push The Pig with hints of Layla before ending the show by actually playing the Clapton favorite.
Night three took place at the brand new Raleigh Amphitheatre. While a beautiful setting located in the heart of downtown Raleigh, this venue was outdoors and obviously did not have AC to help combat the oppressive heat. This did not stop the eager fans from dancing their hearts out even though sweat was dripping off the multitudes of moving bodies. The first set contained an awesome Miss Tinkles that had Ryan, Jake and Brendan battling it out on stage. As the sun went down behind the stage the second set began and I had to put my camera down as I started jumping for joy as they played The Triple Wide with sick Every Breath You Take / Peter Gunn Theme jams in the middle. Proving that they masters of music, Umphrey’s played the rockin’ JaJunk, split three ways with Voices Inside My Head and Hangover to help divide it up and leaving the crowd slack jawed with awe.
The final show of summer tour took place in Atlanta, GA, a mere 7 hour drive from Raleigh. If I had previously thought the heat was bad the night before, imagine my surprise upon arriving to the Masquerade Music Park. In comparison Raleigh felt like the north pole. I am not one to go topless at shows, but I had no choice this night as my shirt became fully saturated with sweat. Waiting for the band to come out on stage was almost unbearable as hordes of sweaty fans pushed their way past me to get as close as possible to the rail. Opening with the title song from their latest album Mantis the crowd started going crazy. A huge cheer erupted from the fans as Umphrey’s cleanly transitioned into Hurt Bird Bath. The always sexy Booth Love contained teases of Another One Bites The Dust and the first set ended with an non stop run of Making Flippy Floppy into Nothing Too Fancy into the end of Mantis. To close the night and summer tour the fans where treated to an epic Bright Lights, the end of Nothing too Fancy and an encore of All In Time that had a sick Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” jam.
As the band left the stage I couldn’t help but feel a little sad that it was over. I was lucky enough to see 10 out of the 31 shows from this years Summer Tour. While I know that there are plenty of fans out there that saw far more than I did, I think I did pretty good for living on the west coast. I am very much looking forward to fall tour as well as North Coast Festival over Labor Day weekend which Umphrey’s is co-headlining. Hope to see some of you out on the road sometime soon.
The NorVa 8-11-10 Set 1: The Fussy Dutchman, Anchor Drops, Phil’s Farm>Gulf Stream>Phil’s Farm, Morning Song, I’ve Got A feeling, Mulche’s Odyssey Set 2: Red Tape, 2x2, 1348>Jimmy Stewart> 1348, Tribute to the Spinal Shaft>Partyin’ Peeps, End of the Road, No More Tears Encore: 40’s Theme
House of Blues 8-12-10 Set 1: Snake Juice>Rocker (part II), Kat’s Tune, That’s All>Der Bluten Kat, Liquid, Get In The Van Set 2: Wappy Sprayberry>Example 1, Padgett’s Profile, Nemo, Higgins>Message in a Bottle>Higgins, Moby Dick, Slacker>Sweetness>Slacker Encore: Push The Pig, Layla
Raleigh Amphitheatre 8-13-10 Set 1: Water>Syncopated Strangers, Miss Tinkles Overture, Great American> Walletsworth>Great American>Ride on Pony, The Floor Set 2: Turn & Dub>The Triple Wide, Ringo, JaJunk>Voice Inside My Head>JaJunk>Hangover>JaJunk, Power to Love Encore: The Linear>I Ran
Masquerade Music Park Set 1: Preamble>Mantis>Hurt Bird Bath, Booth Love, Prowler>Passing, Conduit, Making Flippy Floppy>Nothing Too Fancy>Mantis Set 2: Plunger>Hajimemashite>Plunger, Front Porch>Cheap Sunglasses>Front Porch, Bright Lights, FF>Nothing Too Fancy Encore: All In Time