Umphrey’s McGee @ Red Rocks (July 3) and Boulder Theater (July 4)
Words: Emily Alderman
Photos: Matthew Speck
While Many bands are blessed with the opportunity to perform at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, very few can fill the vast space with sound and compete with the natural beauty around them. On Sunday night, Umphrey’s McGee easily accomplished this challenge with Jefferson Waful manning the light rig as they returned to the gorgeous venue for the second year of Red Rocks and Blue.
[All photos by Matthew Speck]
Opening the first set with a melodic Jazz Odyssey that filled the amphitheater with sounds that tingled auditory senses and lights that sent chills up your spine, the thousands of fans in attendance got a taste of what they were in for. Umphrey’s started off set one with some classic “jammy” tunes, playing songs such as Bridgeless and Professor Wormbog early in the show, but as the evening progressed they showcased some of their new prog-heavy originals – Puppet Strings, No Comment and Deeper. Even though these newer songs definitely have a different feel to them they still continue to showcase the outstanding musical abilities of the members of Umphrey’s McGee, from the soulful belting vocals of Brendan Bayliss to the rock-god shredding of Jake Cinninger, each member had an opportunity to flaunt their talent in mini solo jams sprinkled throughout the set.
Just as everyone began to become restless from what seemed to be a never-ending set break, Umphrey’s returned for set two with one of their newest songs, Nipple Trix. A composition featuring a slow build up, Nipple Trix almost seemed to be a cue from the band to stand up and stretch out those rock fists to get ready for what they had prepared for us…and oh boy did they have a treat for our rock fists. With special guests Curtis Fowlkes and Jennifer Hill from Easy Star All-Stars on horns, Umphrey’s kept the second set moving with their cover of the Peter Gabriel classic Sledgehammer. As the horns echoed throughout the amphitheatre, the crowd shouted the well-known lyrics and pumped their rock fists.
READ ON for more on Umphrey’s Colorado run…