So we have 1,089 shows on sale for 50% off at umlive.net, but who the hell knows where to start, right? The sale sparked some conversation amongst Team UM and we wanted to share some favorites from our side of the fence. What are yours? Tweet the date and use the hashtag #umGOLD so we can check’em out.
Ryan Stasik – First Base Player
11.06.14 Kalamazoo, MI: Yeah I wrote the setlist, but with a theme in mind. Heavy > Pretty-ish, pretty heavy man. I wanted to try and mindfuck people with playing some of our heaviest tunes right into something completely opposite like Pequod or Weight Around. Not only did it have bust outs but the energy of Kalamazoo was through the roof from the first note. I obviously love 46&2 and Joel’s request of the old school No More Tears but my favorite part of the night was playing The Weight Around. Mad love. \mm/
Joel Cummins – Keytarist, Statistician
02.01.14 Detroit, MI: Michigan shows are always a lot of fun because of the energy the crowd brings to the table. This show had both outstanding improvisation and some very emotional moments that came to a head with our 2nd ever performance of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” with the memory of Mike in mind.
03.13.14 Sacramento, CA: Ace of Spades took us back to our club days, and this show felt like a night where we could let loose. Lots of solid improv & an exuberant mid-week California crowd made this a special night.
05.03.14 UMBowl Port Chester, NY: Our fifth UMBowl felt like we really nailed it. Tons of improv, lots of unique performances and an amazing venue. A couple of the selections from Raw Stewage have reappeared in the rotation throughout the year including Mad Love, Proverbial & Gents.
08.08.14 Hampton Beach, NH: The crowd was absolutely nuts, the opening Ms. Tinkles segment felt like some of the strongest improv of the year. Show smokes from start to finish.
10.25.14 Grand Rapids, MI: Nemo, Linear, All In Time & Ringo all have fantastic segments throughout. The band’s final show at the Orbit Room definitely tore the roof off of the place.
11.08.14 Madison, WI: Our 2,000th show featured lots of rarities and fan favorites + some pretty strong improvisation. This was a family affair.
And for my classic show recommendation . . .
02.21.07 Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Considered by many to be the gold standard of improvisational UM, this show contains lots of improv & standout versions of songs. Worth a listen.
Kris Myers – Shirts & Skins
10.30.14 Wilkes-Barre, PA: Cohesiveness of the stews plus the musical diversity throughout both sets made me a believer in Wilkes-Barre. Who would have thought?
Jefferson Waful – Illuminator
11.07.14 Madison, WI: Show#1999 was a rare instance of the band being locked in nearly 100% of the time. Everything just clicked and the crowd was electric. It was effortless to light. Pure bliss.
Kevin Browning – Head Greenskeeper
01.31.11 Brooklyn, NY: A sentimental show with no equal for me. This was my last show as front of house engineer for the band before moving full time to management. The “Ride On Pony” + “Divisions” encore literally had my tears streaming down on the console. My full band request of “Susanah” also made its debut, a song of which I’ll never tire.
08.26.07 Chicago, IL: The poignancy of this show revolves around the events that unfolded as much as the music itself. The console I was mixing on at the time (Gamble DCX) had a catastrophic failure 15 minutes before UM’s first note was scheduled. Even if you don’t know much about audio production, you probably know that 15 minutes isn’t much time to switch sound boards and build a 48 channel show from scratch. But when you only have 1 option, you take it. Being forced to mix on the fly forced me to react entirely on instinct and provided a blank slate without tour upon tour of presets I’d previously relied upon. It turned out to be one of my most creative, inspired mixes of the year and reminded me just how much I love this band.
Jeremy Welsh – Web Lord
03.14.13 Seattle, WA: On paper, the 2013 Seattle show looks quite intriguing and worth a listen. It doesn’t take long, though, to become fully enthralled as right off the bat Umphrey’s offers up what some felt was the jam of the year in “The Linear.”
10.14.08, 10.15.08, 10.16.08 New York, NY: Easily overlooked with all of the great runs that Umphrey’s has played in New York City, these three shows from the Fall of 2008 should be given more recognition. Exploratory (six- and five-song first sets), interesting set lists, & risk taking. Culminating with a Señor Mouse for Mr. Di Meola, who was in the house.
Jon McLennand – Special Teams
9.21.11 Pittsburgh, PA: The first of an explosive 4 night run of shows. This one sticks out to me for its overall flow and vibe, the 13 minute Glory, face-melting Power of Soul and Jake’s nasty nasty nasty solo in Hangover.
10.16.13 Burlington, VT: Fall 2013 was instant classic status. They made their statement the first night with one of their best versions of Dump City that would return during the UMBowl V Raw Stewage set, and foretold of a new cover with a Don’t You (forget About Me) jam that capped off a raucous Phil’s Farm.
10.16.07 Richmond, VA: The day of the release of Live at the Murat and also the day the band found out it received a 4-star rating from Rolling Stone. Magic was in the air. Second set is absolutely relentless. Easily in the top 5 sets of UM I’ve witnessed.
11.02.06 Madison, WI: Difficult to choose just one show from November ’06, arguably the best month in UM history. I’ll start with the first show because it set the tone for an exploratory month. Not one, but two songs were born at this show. Red Tape coming out of the Tribute to the Spinal Shaft vocal stewart and Lift & Separate which emerged from Groove Holmes to blow the roof off the Barrymore.
02.27.08 Des Moines, IA: One more, and a bit of a hidden gem compared to the others. Wednesday night in Des Moines, IA? The type of show the band feels more loose at. The type of show they’re more likely to play songs you might not normally hear. The type of show you drive back afterwards so you can show up to work the next morning exhausted but satisfied. The Kitchen is a must hear and includes Prophecy Now teases almost a year before Mantis was released.
Adam Scheinberg – IT Magician
04.19.14 Austin, TX: Absolutely gorgeous Stew in August…..gets me every time.
04.11.14 Live Oak, FL: Another killer show, with a kick-ass Puppet, another strong August in April. Great Rocker II. This one was broadcast on Sirius, but really should be in everyone’s collection of 2014 shows.
08.30.2014 Lake Buena Vista, FL: I know that you might think this is hometown pride, but honestly, the show was really a stunner from the get go. Strong Domino, beautiful work in Jimmy and a bonus Upward smushed into AiT. Several high points in set 2 in Wappy, IC, and Puppet, with a nice Final Word breather in between the upbeat stretch from Phil’s on. Add in the rare “We’re Going to War” encore with the funny Stasik “can’t we get even one bra?” and . . .
Matt Heller – Generally A Nice Guy
02.21.14 Chicago, IL: Rippin’ show to warm up Chicago on the heels of one of our coldest winters. Taking the stage to “A Mild Sedative” which this show was anything but that. The Second set archery range treated us to a nice Glory>Haj>Glory sandwich, as well as an elusive Wang Chung cover. Encore alone is a testament to the saying “Umphrey’s is like a box of chocolates.”
04.11.13 Jacksonville, FL: This show was the first of three Florida shows on the 2013 spring tour. Florida had been itching for a proper run for quite some time, and boy-howdy they were ready. I would say the hidden gem in this show is “When the World Is Running Down You Make the Best of What’s Still Around”>”40’s Theme.” The Jam out of WTWIRDYMTBOWSA hints at whats to come, including what I take as Joel subtly layering with the likeness of the opening of “No Quarter.”
11.13.08 Urbana, IL: Two words; Crew. Jam. Ok, a few more words. “Dig A Pony” opener, need I say more?
04.21.07 Chicago, IL: Before my days of employment here at UMHQ, I was seeing shows for some time. Half way to this show with some buddies, the dreaded nightmare of all concert goers happened. My friend forgot her ticket. After using every swear word in the book, an urge to leave her behind, and breaking countless traffic laws, we made it to the show just in time for the first note. It had been almost four years since the boys last tore this theater up, and they were on course to do it again. With a book-ending JaJunk, a handful of guests and a 30ft Bayliss beer bong, this was sure to be a night nobody would soon forget, except for Bayliss.