The day after our nation’s birthday found the band close to home and feeling good. A Stanley Jordan sit-in, beautiful scenery, and an energetic crowd doesn’t hurt either. Check out this show from Peoria, IL on July 5th that comes in at #2 on our Best of Summer Tour 2012 Countdown. The top selection will be revealed soon. Umphrey’s takes the stage in New York City for the inaugural Catalpa Music Festival on Sunday.
Catshot > Domino Theory
Rob: The semi-hometown show gets off to a rousing start with this little combo. First of all, Catshot is my favorite opening JO and gets the energy pumping almost immediately. I love when Jake and Brendan come screaming in over the drums and bass. As for the Domino, there’s a nice little jam in here compared to recent versions that felt a bit shorter than normal. The band takes their time and dives into a little ambient jam before finding a nice riff to build back up. It almost sounds like the beginning of Smooth Criminal, but let’s save that for Halloween. Mashup, anyone?
Rob: Jake lays it on thick here. Bayliss too, for what it’s worth. A nice dropout jam in this nearly 11-minute version. Once again, patience is the name of the game as they roll through the improv section. Jake turns up the funk and the whole band responds, turning this into a really nasty jam that has a couple fun twists and turns throughout. If you can spot the Wellwishers teases early in the jam, you won’t be surprised what comes next.
Rob: Standard version of a nice, new-ish song. It sounded like they wanted to take this one out for a second, but kept it short and sweet before taking a break to acknowledge the crowd.
All Things Ninja
Rob: Only Umphrey’s McGee would use a song as a marketing tool, as the band mentioned their merch sale which includes an All Things Ninja t-shirt. Of course, they end up playing the tune itself. Kris Myers obliterates this version. Farag too. Just a really drum/perc driven song all the way through, and the jam gets really heavy thanks to Brendan and Mr. Stasik making it awfully weird in a hurry. Old Man Cummins takes the time to remind the people the name of the song they just heard and the subsequent merch sale to follow. Remember people, this guy used to be the band’s manager.
Liquid > 40′s Theme
Rob: Stanley Jordan and Jake Cinninger on the same stage- that’s really all that needs to be said. Listen to this entire segment, and then listen to it again. When the band drops out to let Stanley Jordan rip it up, make sure you’re sitting down, because he gets after it and then some. Enjoy the Eleanor Rigby teases, and really just the whole thing in general. The 40′s jam is quite interesting, as it gets a little dark and brooding before finding it’s way back into the euphoric ending. Stanley’s interaction and ability to blend seamlessly with Brendan, Jake, and Ryan is incredibly impressive. I’m going to treat this like The Dark Knight Rises and not spoil it for you.
JaJunk > The Bottom Half
Rob: This is an interesting segment to start the second set, because although both tunes total 20 minutes combined, it feels like they are extensions of each other. When Bottom Half starts, and the improv section hits, it feels like an extension of where JaJunk left off. Not sure if the band intended it to be that way or not, but there is some interesting similarities in the two jam sections. Umphrey’s McGee doesn’t get much better than the end of Bottom Half though. Pure, cohesive bliss.
Rob: The newest of the new got a run tonight, which is great to see. This song is slowly but surely developing into a really, really nice song. This song really fits into the double-time improv they like to run sometimes. See NYE Booth Love for a perfect example, and some recent second DBK jams.
The Fussy Dutchman
Rob: Beautiful. Brendan should pass out boxes of tissues before he takes his solo. Just a phenomenal piece of music before the rage commences. Well placed in the set.
Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’
Rob: At setbreak, I can imagine Jake saying something like: “No way, Stanley is getting off that easy.” And they brought him out for The Stones classic. He steps up to the challenge and takes Jake on head to head during this huge jam of epic proportions. If you’re a fan of ridiculously good guitar playing, you’ll like this one. Plain and simple.
Wappy Sprayberry > JaJunk
Rob: This set ending combo is just a perfect way to sort out all the chaos that had ensued previously, and is really what makes me put this as the second best show of the tour. This is the perfect punctuation to a great set, and a very complete set at that. The Wappy jam gets dark and deep in a hurry as the band dives in before coming out of it into the high energy ending of JaJunk.
Rob: More Stanley Jordan love. One of the best versions of the ultimate Umphrey’s McGee tune I’ve ever heard. Stanley, Jake and Brendan on the end jam with Kris pushing the pace is just fantastic. Another moment of pure, raw energy created by the seven guys on stage. Needless to say, a very necessary and poignant ending to a great Umphrey’s McGee show.