On Thursday, January 21, Umphrey’s McGee took the stage for their first night of a three night run at Beacon Theatre. 18 years to the day of their first performance ever, they brought the heat immediately.
Opening with “Gooneville,” track that had it’s debut in March 2015, Umphrey’s quickly segued into a the mathematical serenade of fan favorite, “Plunger.” Although it was only the second song of the first set, it felt as is everyone in the theatre was firing on all cylinders, fans included. “Plunger” took an ambient turn and segued into “40’s Theme” which had guitarist/vocalist Jake Cinniger telling the crowd to pick up some “New York City 40s.” “In the Black” and “Roulette” allowed Umphrey’s to display their prowess in transitioning from regaling vocal harmonies with backing chords to heavy, precision playing across all instruments. The band followed up with “Kimble,” which was fitting for a theatre as the song feels like it’s pulled from the soundtrack of a play or musical. “Attachments” was up next showing guitarist/vocalist Brendan Bayliss’ vocal ability on full display. Closing out first set was an almost relentless rendition of “Rocker Pt. 2” which had fans going nuts and throwing up the Umphrey’s rock hands ( mm/) all over the theatre.
Second set opened with “All In Time” which traversed an almost ethereal musical landscape at points. A very special “Booth Love” featured teases and full on lyrics from the recently deceased Glen Frey’s “You Belong to the City.” Umphrey’s surgical musicianship was in full view mid-second set with “Bridgeless” into “Remind Me,” a few “Xxplosive” (Dr. Dre) teases during “Tribute to Spinal Shaft” and a full on auditory assault with a segue back into “Bridgeless” to close out the second set.
The highlight of the night was most definitely the encore. In homage to the late, great, David Bowie, Umphrey’s encored with excellent covers of “Space Oddity” and “Fame.” The band funked it up for their rendition of “Fame” which just seemed to fit them perfectly. Here’s to hoping we see more of it in the future!