As the sun was slowly setting behind the stage, Umphrey’s McGee began to emerge one by one taking the stage to a venue full of eager fans. The band wasted very little time greeting the crowd before diving into “You Got the Wrong Guy,” which quickly set the mood as they all but smacked their fans in the face with the pure energy of this tune. This transitioned seamlessly into a soaring version of fan favorite “40’s Theme” keeping the energy cranked to the max. The band seemed to be clicking perfectly throughout the evening, feeding off one another’s cues, moving around the stage effortlessly, interacting with each other creating a beautiful give and take of energy between themselves and the crowd. This was highlighted best with a beautifully crafted Bridgeless that saw the band travel through Hourglass, Nothing Too Fancy and one of my personal favorites, “Booth Love”, before offering their take on a Clash original, “Rock the Casbah.” As the song was coming to an end Jake put down his guitar and made his way over to Andy and Kris for a 5 minute percussion breakdown along with the help of band friend Ilya Stemkovsky. This gave the rest of the band a chance to sit back and enjoy the moment along with their fans before heading back into “Bridgeless” to close out the first set.
The second set began with the powerful combo of “JaJunk” followed by “Wappy Sprayberry” that combined, clocked in at almost 30 minutes. “Live And Let Die,” a Paul McCartney and Wings original followed this killer combo making it the bands second cover of the evening. This well played version led perfectly into my favorite of the evening, “Utopian Fir.” With the set well underway, the Supermoon now glowing brilliantly overhead seemed to work seamlessly alongside the bands 7th member, Jefferson Waful. Blending his vibrant palate of colors and symmetric patterns perfectly with the evening’s glow creating one of the most visually stunning light shows I have ever seen. Closing out the second set band transitioned back into first set tune “Nothing Too Fancy,” beautifully ending the tune and closing out an impressive 2 sets of music.
As the band made their way back on stage for their encore Joel led the crowd in a spirited version of Happy Birthday for Brendan whose birthday was the following day. After the candles were all blown out the band jumped into “Front Porch” to close it all out. This version included a “Waterfalls” jam along with the songs chorus which emerged out of nowhere to the excitement of the crowd, who sang along the entire time. Brendan dedicated the song to Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopez as the band went back into “Front Porch” to finish out the show. This is a band that truly seems to love not only what they do but their fans as well. Feeding off the energy of the crowd only to return tenfold in the form of pure musical bliss. This combined with a killer light show and their vast and ever growing catalog of covers and originals there is no reason this band shouldn’t be a must see if you haven’t yet experienced them live.
Words: Chason Heins
Photos: Mike Geller
08.10.2014 Stone Pony Summerstage, Asbury Park, NJ, USA
Set 1: You Got the Wrong Guy > 40's Theme, Walletsworth, Bridgeless > Hourglass, Nothing Too Fancy > Booth Love, Rock the Casbah > Drums,Bridgeless
Set 2: JaJunk, Wappy Sprayberry > Live and Let Die, Utopian Fir > Thin Air, The Floor > Nothing Too Fancy
Encore: Front Porch
 with A Go Go (John Scofield) teases
 with Xxplosive (Dr. Dre) teases
 with Ilya Stemkovsky on drums and Jake on percussion
 with Back In Black (AC/DC) tease
 with Waterfalls (TLC) jam, including the chorus sung nine times
Notes: Front Porch was preceded by Joel leading the crowd in singing Happy Birthday for Brendan.
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