Hauntlanta: Umphrey’s Delivers at Marathon Mash-up Fest

Four hours after kicking off the second of two Halloween-themed performances at The Tabernacle in Atlanta with one of their signature Jazz Odyssey jams, improg rockers Umphrey’s McGee left the stage having just completed two momentous sets and encores to a booming roar from an appreciative crowd that was so loud it was even noticeable through the webcast. Granted the 72 hour rule is still in effect, but last night’s show should rank among the best of the year (and possibly of their career) thanks to a relentless setlist, flawless execution and the best batch of mash-ups the Chicago-based sextet has come up with since starting the tradition in 2008.

[via @UmphreysMcGee]

The first set saw the band offer treats from nearly every period of their career, with a focus on material Jake brought to Umphrey’s from Ali Baba’s Tahini (40’s Theme, Mulche’s Odyssey and Padgett’s Profile). An extended version of one of their newest songs, the Death By Stereo opener Miami Virtue was the improvisational highlight of the set until Umphrey’s delivered a beautiful, soaring jam out of The Haunt. And about that Haunt, UM finally gave the fans what they wanted by playing the “OG” version of the tune instead of the “rock” version they’ve been performing for the past four years. Addicted to Kiss, a spot-on mash-up of Kiss by Prince, Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love and Genesis’s I Can’t Dance closed the set, complete with the band’s wives, girlfriends and friends dancing on stage dressed up as the ladies from Palmer’s iconic music videos.

In keeping with tradition, Umphrey’s not only debuts mash-ups at their annual Halloween celebrations, they also wear mash-up costumes. This year guitarist Brendan Bayliss was Keith Richard Simmons, drummer Kris Myers was Pamela Anderson Cooper, guitarist Jake Cinninger was Dimebag Daryl Hall, keyboardist Joel Cummins dressed as Vince Neil Armstrong, percussionist Andy Farag was Raggedy Andy Rooney and bassist Ryan Stasik was Karate Kid Rock. Bayliss hilariously didn’t break character throughout the whole show and the funniest segment of the night took place when Myers’ Pamela Anderson Cooper shared a few thoughts, and high-pitched laughs, with the crowd.

The second set featured three mash-ups along side some of the most potent songs in Umphrey’s repertoire. “Come As Your Kids” mixed MGMT’s hit Kids with Nirvana’s timeless Come As You Are and the ’80s classic You Spin Me Right ‘Round by Dead or Alive. Myers, who impressively bashed away behind the kit for the entire evening and didn’t seem to lose one bit of steam by the end, led a quick jam out of the mash-up into the end of the Mulche’s UM started in set one. Our next mash-up of the evening was the least “mashed,” as Umphrey’s worked a section that alternated between Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train and The Fish by Yes into the All In Time jam.

Umphrey’s McGee – Addicted To Kiss

Following a memorable Day Nurse, Resolution > 2×2 sequence that continued to build the energy in the room into a frenzy, came the most out of left field mash-up as the group mixed elements of their own Wellwishers with a dash of Terrence Trent D’Arby’s Wishing Well and a heaping helping of  Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five by Paul McCartney. This McCartney deep cut from 1973’s Band On The Run finished with the coda from the album’s title track, bringing the set to a close.

You couldn’t have blamed the band for dropping a quick encore on The Tab after setting fire to the place for two sets, but Umphrey’s had other plans. The emotional Hajimemashite gave the group and fans another chance get their ya-ya’s out and was followed by a creative mash-up of two originals – In The Kitchen and Puppet Strings. With the crowd roaring their approval there was still one more blast of energy left, a lengthy Nothing Too Fancy second encore, complete with elements of Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear The Reaper worked in.

Umphrey’s McGee – Come As Kids

There are some performances that take time to appreciate like a fine wine and others which are so otherworldly that you immediately recognize something special has happened. Last night’s Umphrey’s Hauntlanta finale falls into the latter category and will be remembered fondly by those who were in attendance or watched from home for years to come.

Set One: Jazz Odyssey > 40’s Theme, Miami Virtue -> Push the Pig, Mulche’s Odyssey > The Haunt > “Jimmy Stewart”* > Padgett’s Profile, The Floor, Addicted to Kiss**

Set Two: Come As Your Kids$ > Mulche’s Odyssey, All In Crazy Train Fish Time$$, Day Nurse, Resolution > 2×2, 1985 Wellwishing%

Encore: Hajimemashite, In The Puppet Kitchen%%

Encore2: Nothing Too Fancy&

* with lyrics
** Kiss (Prince) + Addicted to Love (Robert Palmer) + I Can’t Dance (Genesis) mash-up
$ Kids (MGMT) + Come As You Are (Nirvana) + You Spin Me Right Round (Dead or Alive) mash-up
$$ Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne) + The Fish (Yes) + All In Time
% Nineteen Hundred and Eight Five (Wings) + Wishing Well (Terrence Trent D’Arby) + Wellwishers mash-up, with Band On the Run ending
%% Puppet Strings / In The Kitchen
& with Don’t Fear the Reaper jam

[via The Bort]

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4 Responses

  1. You couldn’t even hear yourself SCREAM in the Tabernacle after the 1st encore. The 2nd encore was a dream come true.

  2. Amazing review- this was def. show anyone not in attendance should be very sad to have missed. The first night was a little slow and Saturday night they ripped into it like I’ve never seen- guitar heroics at an all time high. And the synchronicity of their mash-ups were just freakin’ flawless! Thank you for the beautiful review. You nailed it. What a glorious night! I hope there is a DVD soon to come so I can re-live it over and over!!!

  3. This was my first every “Umph-ortunity” and holy hell it was mind melting. The energy of the crowd and the band was so incredible I know I will never forget those two nights. Beautiful review! I can’t wait for the video releases!! I’m looking forward to many more of their shows now, without a DOUBT.

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