Fresh off of one of their fan directed Stew Art Series (S2) shows at Minglewood Hall in Memphis on Friday, Umphrey’s McGee hit Oklahoma City’s Diamond Ballroom with their full force last night. The Diamond Ballroom is a big dance hall with about 1200 capacity, which was perfect for the UM-phans to dance around. Unfortunately, some of the attendees thought they were at a WWF event, as several fights broke-out, which were quickly dealt with by security. The local authorities also seemed to find the event interesting. When we filed out after the show, there were five police cars and an ambulance waiting outside.
The guys in Umphrey’s have had a couple weeks break since playing at the North Coast Music Festival on September 4. They got back on the road Thursday in Knoxville, and the OK City show is the third on the Fall Tour, which has been informally dubbed the Mustache Ride Tour. Many of the guys have started cultivating a little upper lip growth. In addition to the facial hair additions, the band has also added their first child, a baby boy born to Jake Cinninger. Congrats, Jake!
The show opened up with JaJunk which segued into Phil’s Farm. This was followed by August and then one of my favorite Umphrey’s tunes, Partyin’ Peeps. Next up was End of the Road from the Safety in Numbers album. They ended the first set with a long, jam-packed version of 1348. A copy of the bands official setlist showed that Utopian Fir was also included, but I guess due to the long jams in the other six tunes, it had to be cut.
The set break was a welcome respite from the excitement. I took the opportunity to sit down in one of the few chairs there and take a breather. But it wasn’t a long rest. After about 20 minutes, the band returned, opening the second set with Wizard Burial Ground. Brendan explained that this tune was being played for a couple of special guests, two children that were standing in the front row. They next played Bright Lights, Big City from the Bottom Half CD. Next on tap was Nemo, which was followed by a first time played cover tune, And We Became Sunshine, which included a special guest on keys with Joel, Jonathan Martin from the group that originally recorded the song, The Uglysuit. Rounding out the second set was Mail Package into Kimble, Cemetery Walk II, and The Floor. Brendan Bayliss played keyboards alongside Joel in Cemetery Walk II. They came back with the Beatles song, I Am the Walrus as their first encore tune, and then did a reprise of JaJunk to finish off the show.
This was a great show, with lots of good, long jams. Jefferson Waful, as usual, did a fantastic job on the lights. Kevin Browning caressed the sound just right. The security team at the venue did a good job keeping the fights contained, and not allowing the normal UM-phans to get hurt. Umphrey’s doesn’t get to Oklahoma too often; the last time was about seven years ago, in Tulsa. Hopefully, they’ll find it in the heart and in their busy schedule to pass by again soon.