10 Memorable Moments From Past Umphrey's McGee UMBowl's


On April 24th, 2010 JamBase favorites Umphrey's McGee debuted their innovative UMBowl concert in which fans helped direct the action of a marathon performance. The football-themed concert featured four "quarters," each with a different theme ranging from an acoustic set to one of their StewArt performances to an all-request quarter to a "choose your own adventure" quarter. UMBowl I, held at Lincoln Hall in the band's hometown of Chicago, was a complete success and was followed by UMBowl II in 2011 and last year's UMBowl III.

Tomorrow, the sextet brings UMBowl IV back to Chicago's Park West, where the last two UMBowls were held, and though the concert sold out quickly, you can watch from home via a Pay-Per View webcast. We've put together a list of 10 memorable moments from the first three UMBowls as a display of why Umphreaks are so excited for tomorrow night's show.

1) The Weight Around and Red Room Disco debuts (2010)

The inaugural UMBowl in 2010 was an exciting one, since a music event like it had never happened before. Quarter 1 (fan-voted acoustic) and Quarter 3 (fan-voted electric) both had options for tracks that had been released on an UM studio recording, but had previously never been performed in concert. The acoustic "The Weight Around" in Quarter 1 and "Red Room Disco" in Quarter 3 were both highlights of the entire night for the most rabid of UM fans.

2) The power going out (2010)

Walking in to the first UMBowl, you could just feel that the band was perhaps a little too big for their surroundings. Nothing summed this up better than the band losing a significant portion of onstage power just minutes into the acoustic Quarter 1. Always quick to adapt, Umphrey's kept playing and guitarist Brendan Bayliss improvised lyrics about the power going out.

3) Help On The Way > Slipknot! (2012)

UM fans who also possess an appreciation for the music of The Grateful Dead were intrigued by the inclusion of "Help On The Way" > "Slipknot!" as one of the options on the fan-voted ballot for UMBowl III. While a popular pair of covers for UM in the late 1990’s, they had not been played live since. That changed at UMBowl III and "Help > Slip" has even seen one more performance at last year’s Halloween show in Maryland.

4) Raw Stewage (2012)

Perhaps the quarter that was most geared towards hardcore Umphreaks was last year’s Raw Stewage set. The 4th Quarter at UMBowl III featured select previously-performed improvisations that were voted on by fans. Quite simply, attendees were able to vote on their favorite jams and hear all of them played together in one seamless set of music.

5) Muffburger Sandwich and Muff II (2010)

Not just one, but both songs in the "Muffburger" song suite, "Muffburger Sandwich" and "Muff II: The Revenge," were on the ballot for the 3rd quarter at the inaugural UMBowl - and both were played.

6) Going to California (2011)

UMBowl II's second set was the "Special Teams Quarter," with varying combinations of band members and instrumentation. While the quarter yielded many interesting pairings and song choices, the duo of Brendan Bayliss (mandolin) and Jake Cinninger (guitar) on Led Zeppelin’s "Going to California" was top-notch.

7) Much Obliged with the original Umphrey’s lineup (2011)

From the same special teams quarter, the original lineup of Umphrey’s McGee - a quartet of Brendan Bayliss (guitar), Ryan Stasik (bass), Joel Cummins (keyboards) and original drummer Mike Mirro - played the UM classic "Much Obliged."

8) Completing All In Time (2010 > 2011)

Nothing like connecting the years. In the “Choose Your Own Adventure Quarter" of 2011, one of the options was for the band to play the end of UM staple "All In Time," which had gone unfinished in the same quarter the previous year.

9) Mashups revisited (Another Brick In The Wall/Thriller in 2011 | Land of Wappy in 2010)

In the encore slots of both UMBowl I and II, Umphrey’s gave rare repeat performances of the group’s original mashups they play each year for special Halloween shows. 2010 saw the second-ever performance of “Land of Wappy” - a mashup of Genesis’s "Land of Confusion," Metallica’s “Search & Destroy” and UM original “Wappy Sprayberry." 2011 saw a rare performance of UM’s mashup of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller."

10) Forty Six & 2 (2012)

Bassist Ryan Stasik had been dying to cover Tool for a very long time. In 2012, he got his wish. The cover has since become a staple of UM’s massive repertoire.


[Published on: 4/25/13]

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