By Chad Ritchko
The jam band Umphrey’s McGee took the stage at the Broome County Forum on Wednesday, October 29. The GA show left the lower orchestra packed and an intimate environment for the dedicated fans that traveled and locals that indulged in the convenience. These fans know they’re always in for a new treat, with Umph constantly changing with the tide and adapting to the crowd.
Amidst it’s fall touring of the Midwest and East Coast promoting the new album Similar Skin, the rarely hosting Forum had it in their cards to land a class act. Guitarist/vocalist Brendan Bayliss, guitarist/vocalist Jake Cinninger, keyboardist/pianist/vocalist Joel Cummins, drummer/vocalist Kris Myers, bassist Ryan Stasik, and percussionist Andy Farag, together form a Voltron-like beast as formidable as any other jam creation. They made sure to suit up for the Forum, providing plenty of their classics, spreading they’re new album exposure across the tour.
Starting with “Jekyll & Hyde > Robot World”, Umph played a transforming “Walletsworth”, “Rocker Pt. 2”, “Anchor Drops”, a “Get in the Van” that explored thrashing to a paradise breeze and everywhere in-between, followed by a stanky legged “Smell the Mitten”, and clear fan favorite, a sixteen minute “Plunger” to wrap up the first set.
The second set opened with “Search For”, followed by a “Much Obliged” that featured a “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” (Paul Simon) jam. “Yoga Pants” then fooled me into thinking we we’re getting an “In the Kitchen”, instead it sounds like a song among the stars, where I’m sure we can agree “Yoga Pants” came from anyway. A nearly seventeen minute beastly “Hurt Bird Bath” would be a journey as the jam buildt and transitioned from one moment to the next. The next part of the journey was the win; it was Mario taking out Bowser back on NES, a “2×2 > Final Word > 2×2” that single-handedly stormed the castle, rescued the princess, earned her eternal love, and Hulk Hogan’ed off her chastity belt. In celebration, a Steely Dan cover of “Reelin in the Years” brought everyone on the same page of joy and nostalgia. An 11 minute “Conduit” would close out the second set.
“WE WANT THE UMPH, GOTTA HAVE THAT UMPH!” – the familiar chant wasn’t heard on this evening, but the interactive band would never let its loyals down. They came out with a soul food serving of Waylon Jennings “Good Ol’ Boys”, and a send off a moving “Wife Soup” for dessert.
Umphrey’s not only fails to disappoint, they’re still getting better. With a huge following across the country selling out theaters and headlining festivals, if you haven’t walked out of a venue with an “Umph Love” sticker lately, get off life support and get out there.
Setlist via All Things Umphrey’s:
Set 1: Jekyll & Hyde > Robot World > Walletsworth, Rocker Part 2, Anchor Drops > Get In The Van, Comma Later > Smell the Mitten, Plunger
Set 2: Search 4, Much Obliged > Yoga Pants > Hurt Bird Bath, 2×2 > Final Word > 2×2, Reelin’ in the Years, Conduit
Encore: Good Ol’ Boys, Wife Soup
 with 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (Paul Simon) jam
 with Domino Theory teases