B List: 10 Best Moments of Umphrey’s Best Buy Run

This past week Umphrey’s McGee returned to New York City for two sold out performances at the Best Buy Theater. Over the course of the weekend Umphrey’s showed why fans have been raving about recent shows. These HT faves are on an upswing and if they keep it up the sky’s the limit.

In lieu of a standard review, I wanted to point out my ten favorite moments from Friday and Saturday’s show, accompanied by the outstanding work of photographer Jeremy Smith. If you’re a fan, these are 10 moments you need to hear and if you’re not a fan, perhaps after listening to the moments of which I speak (1/20 & 1/21 are available through UMLive.net), you will be.

10. First NYC All Night Long Since 1999

In the middle of the Der Bluten Kat on Friday night, which guitarist Brendan Bayliss introduced as one of the group’s first songs, Jake Cinninger put down his guitar and headed over to Andy Farag’s percussion rig. Longtime fans recognized that Jake primarily plays percussion on the band’s version of All Night Long by Lionel Richie, so they weren’t surprised when minutes later UM lit into their first All Night Long in the Big Apple since an October 20, 1999 performance at Wetlands.

9. Giant Inflatable Crayon Solo

During Jake Cinninger’s solo in Pay The Snucka the guitarist made use of an inflatable crayon thrown on stage with great success. Did you have that friend in high school who could make a pipe out of an object you gave them? Jake’s the same way when it comes to making music.

8. Jefferson Waful’s Lights During Miami Virtue

Now that Umphrey’s LD Jefferson Waful has over three full years of experience lighting the band under his belt he can clearly sense exactly what his employers will do next and that came through in his outrageous work during a 17+ minute take on the Death By Stereo track Miami Virtue.

7. Lyrical Stewart Out of Bridgeless

When Bayliss is particularly feeling one of UM’s “Jimmy Stewart” excursions he’s prone to throwing some lyrics into the mix. Towards the beginning of the relentless second set from Saturday night Brendan started spouting rhymes about “standing on a corner stop” that ended with a line “comin’ round on a Saturday night” that drew big cheers from the crowd.

6. Umphrey’s Debuts Voyager by Daft Punk

Umphrey’s continued a trend of debuting electronic-tinged covers at the Best Buy on Saturday night when they unveiled their version of Voyager by Daft Punk out of Intentions Clear. The group absolutely nailed the tune, providing a 10-minute dance party early in the show.

5. 14-Minute Rocker Part II

Rocker Part II continues to showcase Umphrey’s improvisational wizardry and Friday’s take on the composition was no exception. The interplay between the guitarists was outstanding.

4. Jake Makes Pony Cry w/ His Glory Solo

After decades of watching Cinninger in action, Jake’s immense talent can still stir emotions in bassist Ryan Stasik. Jake’s approach to the instrumental Glory was above and beyond on Saturday night. After the song was over Stasik stepped to the mic and admitted Jake’s solo made him tear up.

3. Arabian Slide Jam in Der Bluten Kat

For the second jam in Friday’s Der Bluten Kat, Cinninger lead the way on slide for a Middle Eastern-infused exploration that left jaws on the floor.

2. Umphrey’s and Jennifer Hartswick Pay Tribute to Etta James

To start the two-song encore on Saturday night, Umphrey’s welcomed longtime collaborator Jennifer Hartswick to sing At Last in tribute to Etta James, who passed away on Friday. Umphrey’s take a lot of heat for their A.D.D. tendencies, but for six minutes the band laid back and let Hartswick’s voice take center stage.

1. Buttery Ringo Jam

Personally, my favorite jam of the weekend took place during the 16-minute Ringo that ended the first set on Friday night. The sextet started off the exploration with a few dark minutes of jamming that evolved into a mesmerizing major-key “butter jam,” which was right in my wheelhouse.

Here’s a full gallery of Jeremy Smith’s photos…

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2 Responses

  1. This was possibly the best 2 concert run I will ever see. All the hype is correct. Umphrey’s is amazing!

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