For the past five years, Umphrey’s McGee has performed a block of shows in Texas in mid-April. This year’s Texas run began in Dallas on April 16th. The New Orleans Brass ensemble, Soul Rebels, has been supporting Umphrey’s for this part of the Winter Tour. They opened the show in Dallas with a 45 minute funky taste of the Big Easy and got the crowd dancing and amped up for the main event.
Umphrey’s hit the stage without the normal walk-on intro, but it didn’t take more than a few seconds for the familiar drum intro to drop right into Similar Skin, the title track of the penultimate studio offering. Next up was the double-time Miss Tinkle’s Overture, taking the pace to an almost frenzied level. The first set continued with Example 1 followed by the anthemic Mantis, with a little Blue Echo interlude stuck in the middle. Set One ended with a seriously rocked out DBK > Wellwishers > DBK sandwich.
Set Two began with Miami Virtue into the soaring Glory. The transition was almost like the way the Grateful Dead used to move from Truckin’ into Morning Dew. Following, was the long-time live favorite, Rocker Part 2, which recently popped up in a studio version on the London Sessions album. Next came Intentions Clear, and then a cover of Pink Floyd’s Time. The percussion and guitar licks on this cover would have fooled even Roger Waters and David Gilmore into thinking they were listening to themselves. The closing triplet was Much Obliged > The Fuzz > The Bottom Half, complete with a spacey, lyrical Jimmy Stewart. The encore was a raucous cover of the Beatle’s I Am the Walrus into a Steely Dan inspired Day Nurse.
The remaining shows in the Texas run are Houston on April 17th and Stubbs in Austin on April 18th. Then it’s up to Minnesota for three shows and then the improvisational UM Bowl VI, this year being held at the Brooklyn Bowl’s Las Vegas location.
I: Similar Skin, Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Example 1, Mantis > Blue Echo > Mantis, Der Bluten Kat > Wellwishers > Der Bluten Kat
II: Miami Virtue > Glory, Rocker Part 2, Intentions Clear, Time, Much Obliged >The Fuzz > The Bottom Half