Umphrey’s McGee returned to Red Rocks to complete 19 total shows out of their 20 year career. Having missed Summer Camp this year I am really grateful to have at least made this trip, and check two things off of my bucket list; Umphrey’s on the Rocks, and to photograph Umphrey’s on the Rocks.
I could sit here and talk about the lack of sleep and where I hiked and drank but really lets cut the bullshit and talk about these Hall Of Fame status sets that went down this weekend. Starting with Joel Cummins who wrote the setlist for the first night.
It opened with one of my favorite openers, There’s No Crying in Mexico > 40’s to get the party vibe going. Couple songs later we get a Conduit > Proverbial > Conduit, and I’ll admit it, I turned around and said “Dude I’ve never heard this song before, what is it?” That was pretty much the entire crowd. Thank god for twitter. Anyways that led on into a Nothing Too Fancy that appeared to have some technical difficulties. Jake eventually just busted out his custom seven string and went ballistic during Dark Brush.
I also want to note that during this entire first set the Umphrey’s guys were playing more for their kids stage right than the fans out front, which was pretty funny to watch.
Once the little ones were off the stage, Bayliss continued to tell stories about being day drunk on the airplane (totally relatable), which buttered the crowd up after a Pink Floyd double cover In The Flesh > Another Brick in the Wall > – slap you in the face transition – Stinko’s Ascension. Seriously almost gave me a concussion. \mm/
The real highlight for this entire set came down to one song and it ended the second set – Roctopus. If you’re aware of the exchange of pleasantries that occur in the Fall06@aol.com group, which I’m pretty sure has changed it’s name to FalsettoBayliss@aol.com (and for good reason in reference to the night 2 Phil’s Farm stew, where Bayliss set the mood), then I am sure you saw the polls “Will Umphrey’s play Roctopus at Red Rocks?” They played it at the last show before the rocks at the Stone Pony, making it the 8th total time they played it since the debut in May 2016. The Red Rocks Roctopus was the 9th as well as the first back to back time they played it at shows. I am glad my whole crew knew I voted “hell no.” I won’t get to live that one down.
Night two seems to be the most popular among the Phreaks. You Got the Wrong Guy > Similar Skin (badass), opened the set. Hurt Bird Bath was legit but lets just fast forward to the Stew in Phil’s Farm. The FalsettoBayliss@aol.com says it all. There wasn’t a dry — well I won’t go that far, but it was a hot one for sure. Brendan Bayliss busted out this super suave lyrical stew that is going to be album material one day, minus the fact that this cut cold make it onto HOF 2018 on its own.
Then came in a badass Den, and then the classic mashup debut Come Closer, which was a mash up of Come Together by the Beatles and Closer by NIN. That one got filthy and Meyers stole the show on that one.
The second set from night two featured a Plunger sandwich as well as a Freedom! ’90 by George Michaels cover, making that my second Freedom! and I am pretty stoked about that. That was the most American I felt all weekend.
Night three — oh sweet lord night three — was hands down my favorite of the entire weekend. If Women Wine and Song from set one doesn’t make it onto HOF 2018 I’ve lost all faith in humanity. They took that one out for a ride! It’s such a good vibe song and I always say they never play it enough.
They ended the first set with an Ocean Billy, and I just want to say that it’s ok to like that song. Seriously, why don’t people like that song? Anyways the second set came in with a really nice Wappy > Ringo, some classic rockers, complimented by a Slacker. Nice touch guys. The cherry on top was of course an expected appearance by Jennifer Hartswick, singing the debut cover of Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler. I mean, if she wanted to do a short tour with Umphrey’s I would be okay with that. Also calling it now, the TBA slot in Madison is going to be Redmon and Hartswick. Spread rumors and email management because that’s how we got the Afroman logo back.
If you’ve made it this far I’m impressed because I only clicked on these things for the setlists. They ended it with a Hall of Fame level All in Time that was one for the record books. They teased a bunch of different songs, maintained command over the play calls in the talk backs, transitioned on the drop of a dime, and left the entire crowd spinning. If you don’t have Nugs by now, and you like Umphrey’s McGee, you’re doing it wrong. Get Nugs, listen to these sets, and I will see you scampers next year.
P.S. Record Company was lit.
 with Rapper’s Delight (The Sugar Hill Gang) jam
with The Star-Spangled Banner (Francis Scott Key) tease before Wife Soup
last Proverbial 12.30.2014 (335 shows)
 “Jimmy Stewart” with lyrics
 debut, original
Encore: All In Time
 with Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith) tease
 debut, Bonnie Tyler; with Jen Hartswick on vocals and trumpet
Support: The Record Company