Umphrey’s Tour Diary: West Coast Pt. 4

Things got off to a slow but classy start, debuting what once was a “Jimmy Stewart” now turned Jake-crooned original named Gulf Stream. Having so many friends flown in for the event, and so many fans from the Midwest (thank you, guys!) in attendance these lyrics seemed very poignant. The cover of the night was the aggressive Rage Against The Machine penned Bomb Track with Ilya from Om Trio manning the mic. The band and front man nailed this one, working the crowd into a bobbing sea of mayhem. Many fists were pumped. Many drinks were had.

En Route to Hotel… in a limo with the South Benders (thanks Ralphie)

02/16/08 The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
OM Trio opened
Set I: Pay the Snucka> Rocker Part II, Got Your Milk (Right Here), Mail Package> Walletsworth> Mail Package, The Triple Wide1
Set II: Hurt Bird Bath, Layla2, Mulche’s Odyssey> Wappy Sprayberry> Mulche’s Odyssey, Hangover3 4, Higgins
Encore: Rhinoceros5> Pay the Snucka

1 David Murphy (Bass) Replaces Ryan for a portion
2 Mike Flynn (Additional Keyboards)
3 ‘So What’ Jam
4 Cecil “P-Nut” Daniels (Midi Saxophone)
5 First Time Played (The Smashing Pumpkins)

If LA was the best whole show of the tour, this show gets my vote for best second set, though the first set was no slouch either. Dave Murphy from STS9 added his emphasis on The Triple Wide and much like the Dump City from Vegas, the jam tweaked itself and built to rhythmic heights. Adam Budney shined on this track, creating a laser-like beam look with his fixtures and sending them in circles around the band and Murphy. Look here for Jeff Kravitz’s shot of the mirror ball sun descending on The Fillmore:

Photo by Jeff Kravitz

The first and only Hurt Bird Bath of the tour started the 2nd set off and running with its hard edge twist on techno and rock. Mike Flynn, songwriter for such pop heavyweights as The Fray, stepped in on an already crushing version of Layla to add some Hammond Organ to the mix and complemented Joel’s piano nicely. The crowd got maybe one minute to catch their breath as the band launched into Mulche’s Odyssey which brought the dance party back around to the reworked and house-driven Wappy Sprayberry. It was Dance Party USA in Nor Cal that night and the place was electric. P Nut and his magic midi sax made their way into the funky Hangover outro. (What? No West Coast Chant?) Higgins closed the set like it has been filling all its positions lately; in perfect form and with great improvs.

Why Rhinoceros? Cause the song is ridiculous. The band played an emotional and tight version which was ended by the ferocious return to Pay The Snucka pt III, with Jake in the limelight looking to fire some callous fingers down the fret board and put this show to bed.

En route to hotel…texting SGordo.

02/17/08 The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
Set I: JaJunk, Thin Air> FF> Slacker, Wizard Burial Ground
Set II: Intentions Clear1, The Bottom Half> Nothing Too Fancy2> Children’s Story3> The Bottom Half, 40’s Theme4, End of the Road5, Out of Order> Nothing Too Fancy
Encore: It’s Gonna Be A Long Night1 6

1 Mitch Marcus (Saxophone)
2 Steve Molitz (Additional Keyboards)
3 First Time Played (Slick Rick) ; Steve Molitz (Vocals)
4 Josh Clark (Guitar) replaces Brendan for a portion
5 Joel Plays ‘Last Train Home’ Intro
6 First Time Played (Ween)

As far as my experience with the whole “thre night run” thing, the band, no matter which band that is, seems to always lose steam or at the very least not be able to capture the energy of the previous nights. This was not so for our third night at The Fillmore, with the band playing its best first set of the tour, full of inspired and bright improvs. Set two was a guest-laden affair bringing out some of Cali’s brightest starts and UM’s oldest friends. First up was Mitch Marcus who has lent his talents to the band before on Intentions Clear. The second came in a two part form from Particle’s Chairman of the Boards Steve Molitz. The first part being a Moog Voyager solo. The second being a rendition of Slick Rick’s Children’s Story on Joel’s vocal mic. The crowd recognized the old school rap jam and sang along. 40’s Theme welcomed Josh Clark (Tea Leaf Green) to the stage for Brendan’s solo section. He handled the duties with style and reservation which was a perfect assist to Cinninger, who buried the latter section.

The last encore of the run came in the form of Boognish incarnate with Mitch Marcus coming back up to lend sax on Ween’s Motorhead-based romp Its Gonna Be A Long Night. The crowd exploded as many knew a Ween cover was never too far away. Unbeknownst to the crowd, Ween’s Lighting Designer Brooke sat in on the lighting duties for the song. Umphrey’s rose to the occasion of filling a legendary room with music worthy of reflecting off its historic walls. It was time to have one last drink with friends, pack the suitcases, and head back to the bitter winter of the Midwest.

Thanks so much to Wade and the entire Umphrey’s organization for all of their help with our first tour diary. Umphrey’s plays in Davenport tonight before moving on to the legendary First Avenue in Minneapolis for a three-night run.

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9 Responses

  1. Awesome read from start to finish Wade…this installment was my personal fav. I hope there’s more of this in the future

  2. Please don’t let this turn into another Ween fan bitch out fest, we all know who the best is

    Great week of stories


  3. Dale and I tried to get the west coast chant going but noone elese picked up on it, too many midwest peeps in the hishouse i guess. This was a midwest version of the Fillmore, security was shorthanded these three nights and cigarette smoking, which is usually shuned, seemed to have free range of the place, still plenty of sweet tree smoke tho!

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