With the annual Halloween run in Milwaukee fast approaching, it is time to prepare for the festivities to come. Before we can move forward, let’s begin by taking a look back at what transpired last year in Atlanta, GA at The Tabernacle. Now, you probably read our review shortly after the shows ended and the hangovers subsided, but now that we’ve had a year to digest the shows, it is interesting how perspectives can change.
Or maybe not.
The fact still remains that Atlanta 2011 was one of the best Halloween runs in the band’s history. Held in one of the best venues Umphrey’s plays on the circuit, with one of the most energetic fan bases, the stars aligned for two nights in the South. The stars aligned so perfectly, in fact, that the band decided to book FOUR nights at The Tabernacle to ring in 2013 at the end of December. But more on that later.
The energy in the room to start the first night of the run was nothing short of bone chilling. Few small venues make your body shake like The Tabernacle. You feel the energy and the musicians feed off of it on stage. The nearly 18-minute “Ocean Billy” that started the weekend was a sure sign that UM was feeling the love from the crowd early on.
The night would only get better from there. Standout versions of “Hurt Bird Bath,” “1348,” and “Pay the Snucka” would highlight a show that also included a cover of Guns ‘N Roses “Patience” featuring Joel on the Axl Rose, and AC/DC’s “Rock ‘N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” with Jake taking the challenging vocals on that performance. “We got vibrations coming up from the floor” felt like an appropriate line for the evening.
The night closed with the first mashup of the weekend, with a take on Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” mashed up with The Beatles “Let It Be,” sending the Atlanta crowd into the chilly October night satisfied, but wanting more.
The final night of the run oozed energy from the start, with a fiery “40′s Theme” opener followed by a spirited “Miami Virtue” that flowed seamlessly into “Push the Pig.” The first set of the second night may have been the best of the entire weekend, as a blistering “Mulche’s Odyssey” quickly turned into the first OG version of “The Haunt” in quite some time. A beautiful lyrical Jimmy Stewart that was shamefully left out of the Raw Stewage Quarter at UMBowl gave way to one of the only 2011 performances of “Padgett’s Profile.” If you were looking for a time to use the restroom or grab a beer, the band didn’t give you a reason to leave until setbreak, as “The Floor” and another mashup “Addicted to Kiss” closed out the set.
The only thing that seemed to go wrong in this nearly 80-minute set was some clown (literally) who decided to dispose of his beer on Ryan Stasik, but all was forgiven shortly after.
With only two mashups in the books thus far, and one set remaining, one had to wonder if the second set would be predominately mashup heavy. It was, sort of. Kicking off with quite possibly the best mashup the band has ever created (more on that next week), “Come As Your Kids” (Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” with MGMT’s “Kids”), the second set got off to a ridiculous start. To be honest, the line “and I swear that I don’t have a gun” still freaks me out, as it should everyone, but anyway.
After a quick jam, the band found it’s way into the ending of “Mulche’s Odyssey,” which remained unfinished since the first set. This unexpected twist is just what we’ve come to expect from the band, and needless to say, The Tabernacle came unglued.
The show just gets better from there, but I’m sure you’ve heard about it. Hall of Fame version of “All in Time,” ridiculous “Nothing Too Fancy” complete with a “Don’t Fear the Reaper” jam, and of course the “In the Puppet Kitchen” mashup featuring two UM originals and a monster jam.
The night seemed perfect, but you got the sense walking out that this chapter in Umphrey’s history wasn’t quite over. The UM and Atlanta love affair had to go on. But how?