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Friday, October 28

Review and Photos: Umphrey's McGee - 10/21/2011 - House of Blues - Cleveland, OH

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The Cleveland House of Blues played host to Umphrey’s McGee last Friday, October 21, 2011. There was no supporting band and there need not be one!




It was a diverse crowd with many locals and just as many road-trippers. Half were trying to save the world and the other trying to conquer it, at least their own piece of it but both just as motivated. They came together in the common theme of a sick light show and a fast paced, high energy, technically intricate musical two set evening. The crowd was jam-packed into the room from front to back and bottom to top.


  

The night kicked off with Resolution then into 12 Days and All in Time with teases of Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’. Ryan Stasik on Bass connected with the hometown crowd by emphasizing the cross river rivalry between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. He wore his retro Pirates hat and may have egged on the crowd with a little trash talk! It was evident however, that night Umphrey’s was #1. Kris Myers on drums and Andy Farag on percussion were especially impressive. They were banging away with a purpose; a purpose to amaze. They beat them drums like they owed them money!
You never know what you are going to get at an Umphrey’s show although this night was a blast from the past! True UM lifers were brought back to memories of the first time they were swept away. UM has a knack for manufacturing excitement and they don’t stop with well enough. The intricate time and key changes and constant crescendo into deeper waters kept the crowd reaching higher and higher all night. The light show was everything and more that fans have come to expect. The different viewpoints throughout the venue enhanced the lights, however the same cannot be said about the sound which changed at every angel and unfortunately many of the video monitors had less than clear depiction. 




This is splitting hairs in an overall fantastic performance on stage.
The rest of the first set was included Hangover into Slacker then Baby You’re a Rich Man, ending with Slacker into 40’s Theme with Steve Miller’s Fly Like an Eagle teases. All in all the first set delivered. The talk around the set break crowd was that it was a solid first set but everyone expected a more funky second…and they were right on! Set Two started with Miami Virtue then DeeperDump City was next then 2x2 and RingoJimmy Stewart (with lyrics) andAll in Time closed out the second set.
No one moved an inch expecting a mammoth encore and Pay the Snucka frenzied the crowd! Cleveland was blessed with a show to remember.  Much like having to phone a friend immediately after a great experience many of the crowd hung around outside in one of the first really the cold nights of the year and relived their experience.
Umphrey’s McGee has made a name for themselves. Their tight-knit relationships with loyal fans will live long and prosper as long as they continue to show up like they did last Saturday night…this was one for the ages!

Words: Chris Matthews; MadMatts Promotions, Cleveland, Ohio

Photos: Michael Stein