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Saturday, August 20
Umphrey's McGee in Memphis at Minglewood Hall on 8/18/2016: A Review and Setlist by Greg Heffelfinger
What else can you say about Umphrey's is that they put on a great show? Every time I've ever seen them they've rocked the house.
As I walked into the venue and picked up my ticket, I could hear the strains of "Ocean Billy" drifting out of the doorway. It was 8:36 and the show started six minutes previously, and they were already deep into the jam. I thought I would see more dancers but I heard a lot of people saying they had never seen them before. So UM needs to remedy that. The crowd was stunned. There wasn't much dancing but it was because they couldn't believe how amazing the band sounded and the lights had them hypnotized. The band weaved in and out of different tunes. By the time the band hit "Believe the Lie" most people had chilled out and I started to see dancing, happy faces instead of jaw-dropping looks of amazement. The band showed off it's jam face and it's love of metal and it's funk that the Memphis crowd was eating out of their hand. I stepped out to have a cigarette and their were people out there grooving too. Cigarettes and vapor smoke wafted out of the smoking section while people chatted about the how good Umphrey's was and they had no idea. I found that amusing.
When I went back in through another door on house right, as the "The Floor" was starting. After "Kimble", it happened. The first time my jaw dropped that night. They started a note perfect "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" by Radiohead. I can't say it was note for note because the band put their own stamp on it adding little flourishes that enhanced an already gorgeous song. They finished up the first set by going back into "Ocean Billy" Another great set of UM's in the books. Bookended by "Ocean Billy" and just what I needed.
courtesy of Aaron Bradley
The second set started with just a couple of notes. However, those notes belonged to the incredible "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" which the crowd lovingly sang every word with the band. They definitely dug the Pink Floyd cover that kicked off a set that included another round of the funk/metal/jam that is Umphrey's stock in trade. After the lovingly played tribute to Syd Barrett, the band swung into the "40's Theme" and played after "No Diablo" it was hot as hell, from the crowd and the band. Wailing it's way through "Resolution" the band dropped the Tom Petty classic"Free Fallin" instrumental jam interpolated into the middle of the song. After that showing, the band brought out local boy that made good with his brother in The North Mississippi All-Stars, Cody Dickinson. They started "Booth Love" with Cody on percussion but UM's percussion team is so strong that Cody couldn't really find a place to fit in and only played for a couple of minutes. He then took the microphone and exhorted the crowd into singalong chants and after some hugs with the band, he stepped off. It was nice of the band to invite him up but it didn't really work. It didn't work not because of Cody, it didn't work for the best reason. Umphrey's McGee is so strong as a unit that there wasn't room for another percussionist.
The band showed some fireworks in the second set. With the two guitarist playing with each other, Brendon playing on Jake's guitar while they both kept playing. Or maybe it was the other way around, it's a little hazy. Nevertheless, it was an amazing performance of musicianship. It was also just more proof of the virtuosity of this band. As the band played on during the crowd's blissful amazement, they swung into a smooth and beautiful "End of the Road" the band closed on a good vocal turn by Brendon Bayliss on "Bad Friday" and "Partyin' Peeps" ended another great show at Minglewood Hall in Memphis. Keep coming through town Umphrey's, there were many new fans made that night.
fan with a sign setlist from the band outside the venue. Score!
Umphrey's also offered something I had never seen from any band before ever. For a little extra, a fan would be provided with a set of headphones and an audio mix from the soundboard and a copy of the show in your preferred format. The band sounds amazing without it but for a little more to see the band with high quality headphones that work while you smoke outside and you hear what the sound engineer hears is an interesting idea and they are trying it out on this tour. This is a novel idea and a good idea for audiophile fans. So, the whole show was a winner from all perspectives, as far as i could tell. New fans were made and old fans were happy. That's how a good show should end.