Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Umphrey’s McGee Family Reunion in Austin

Posted by teibs On September - 12 - 2009

um@ZackTeibloom After experiencing 25+ shows in six states,* seeing Umphrey’s McGee feels like meeting up with extended family. You catch up on the new things they’ve been working on, reminisce the good old times and marvel at how much bigger they’ve gotten since the last time you saw them.

You’ve got inside jokes with older cousins (Brendan, Jake and Ryan), You don’t pay much attention to the odd cousin who was adopted (Andy), you get kicks out of the goofy antics of the baby of the family (Kris) and roll your eyes at the annoying uncle who means well (Joel.) More than anything, it just feels comforting to be in their presence.

I caught the bottom half of Umphreys’ set Friday night** at La Zona Rosa in Austin and more than got my money’s worth.***  It was a setlist full of old stuff for seasoned Umph fans and chalk full of covers to win over the Texas crowd that rarely gets Umphrey’s visits. I was devastated to read on The Bort that I missed an “In the Kitchen” with “Roundabout” teases to close out the first set and would have loved to hear their interpretation of Marley’s “Trenchtown Rock.” Thankfully, the second set and encore were loaded.

La Zona Rosa is a small venue for Umphrey’s (Capacity 1200, probably 2/3 full) and feels like an old warehouse****. It would be like the venue you’d play in round two or three of Guitar Hero. Just enough room to get as close as you want and let their gorgeous light show shine.

It amazes me that no matter how many times I see Umphrey’s, I can still spend a 20-minute stretch thinking, “Wait, I have no idea what they’re playing. Have I ever heard this?” That was me during the Wappy Sprayberry, Mail Package, Mullet stretch, but everything was on point. The crowd was into the noodling, but the energy skyrocketed in the incredible Black Sabbath>War Pigs cover***** and never came back down.

New Festival Crashers rule: As much as almost no one can cover Hendrix and get away with it, pretty much anyone besides Ozzy can cover Black Sabbath and kill. Sad how that happens.

As the Umph noobs filtered out after the second set ended with the capping of the “Bridgeless” sandwich, I scooted up to 2nd row, middle for the “Resolution” with a sped-up, spun out “Norwegian Wood” which fed into a monster “1348.” I stuck around to see if I could catch my 2nd Umph set list as the boys crumpled them up and tossed them into the crowd, but to no avail. I left ecstatic to be back at my first concert****** since my torturous last show, where I wandered around during Tool looking for Andy’s camera during Saturday night of Lollapalooza.

It felt so damn good to see the family again, I wanted to hug them. The triplets with guitars (Jake, Brendan and Ryan) were hilarious and looking/sounding as good as ever, I couldn’t really see Andy much and Kris was off in his own world, but their presence was felt. It was even good to see uncle Joel. He means well.

  • *Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Florida, New Orleans, Texas.
  • **I was working until midnight on the other side of town.
  • ***Well, if I had paid to get in I would have gotten my moneys worth.
  • ****I thought this even before I knew it was called the “Warehouse District.”
  • *****None of the bort posts mention it, but Jake most definitely sang a full verse or two of the song “Black Sabbath” before going into “War Pigs”
  • ****** OK, first concert where I wasn’t banging the lead singer

Set One:
The Haunt, Andy’s Last Beer, Hangover, Utopian Fir > “Jimmy Stewart*” > Utopian Fir > Trenchtown Rock, In the Kitchen**

Set Two:
Bridgeless > Glory > Wappy Sprayberry, Mail Package, Mullet (Over), Black Sabbath>War Pigs > Bridgeless

Resolution#, 1348

  • * with lyrics
  • ** with Roundabout teases
  • # Norwegian Wood

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