Umphrey's McGee | 03.27.09 | St. Louis

By: Neil Salsich

Umphrey's McGee :: 03.27.09 :: The Pageant :: St. Louis, MO

Umphrey's McGee by Tobin Voggesser
Though Umphrey's McGee hail from Chicago (by way of South Bend, Indiana), St. Louis fans share some pride with their Midwestern heritage. The guys in Umphrey's certainly acknowledged this and graciously gave the crowd a show for the books at The Pageant in St. Louis' Delmar Loop. Though fans who have been floored by previous shows may find it hard to believe, Umphrey's just seems to be getting better and better, and the current Mantis tour is proof. Throughout the last few weeks they've taken on a ferocious run of shows, and it was clear last Friday night that the momentum is only building.

Besides their stunningly emotive and expressive light show, mastery of their respective instruments and (don't forget!) the band's eclectic catalog and impeccable execution of an ever-expanding canon of covers, arguably what keeps a UM show interesting are the constantly varying setlists. Though the traditional touring strategy of most bands is to promote the new album by concentrating the bulk of the show on new songs, Umphrey's confidently let the songs from Mantis fall where they may in their already large catalog. They treated the crowd to a mix of new material, old favorites and more than a few "Jimmy Stewarts" in between.

The band was firing on all pistons from the start, but the first set really got underway with "Walletsworth," which features a rumbling bassline that breaks forth into a melodic and mournful chorus. Though guitarist Jake Cinninger's jaw-dropping sweeps up and down the fretboard - jumping from hard rock riffing to twangy chimes to sassy, soulful fills - sometimes outshine Brendan Bayliss, he really strutted his stuff with his wah-wah work on a downright funky "Kabump." The rest of the first set featured two explosive "Jimmy Stewarts" and a "Plunger" finale. The expert work of drummer Kris Myers and percussionist Andy Farag kept the music busy and the songs moving, while bassist Ryan Stasik's fluid lines swam discreetly underneath. As much as Cinninger and Bayliss switch styles on a dime, so too does keyboardist Joel Cummins, hopping from pulsing synths to swirling organ lines to crystal clear piano work.

The set break flew by as the audience members chatted happily about what they'd just seen, trading stories of past concerts and eagerly awaiting the band's return. When the lights dimmed and the band took the stage again, the crowd roared and braced themselves for what proved to be a roller coaster of a set. When Stasik launched into the first notes of "Wappy Sprayberry" the band left earth and didn't return until their final notes at the end of the night.

Ryan Stasik - Umphrey's McGee by Voggesser
Despite the brilliant performance of Umphrey's own songs, frankly, the undisputed champion of the night was their cover of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond." After the epic "Sprayberry," the crowd slowly caught on to what the band was up to. Cummins began the eerie synth swells of the Pink Floyd classic as smoke swirled through the darkening magenta light. Guys and gals looked around in blissful disbelief, screamed their approval and high-fived all around. Cinninger emptied his soul into the memorable introduction, treating the music with respect and playing the introduction note-for-note. When it came time to sing the chorus, the lights instantly turned from rich purple hues to bright white beams, illuminating the entire venue and the smiles on every face. Hundreds of fists pumped in unison as the audience belted the words along with the band. It was truly an awesome experience.

The band didn't let up, launching into the behemoth "Mantis" next, beginning a massive run of songs that included "Hangover" and "Resolution." Perhaps the most interesting song off the new album, "Mantis" features - as many Umphrey's songs do - what seem to be multiple songs in one, carrying the listener from one time and place to the next. Though their music can take a while to get into because much of it is so technically advanced, there are some moments that make all the listening worthwhile - moments where the music is so beautiful and inspired that the listener gets goose bumps and has to ask, "Is this really happening?"

At the apex of "Resolution," the music, powered by Myers' precise, nimble yet monstrous drum work, came crashing down and unexpectedly returned to the "Mantis" finale. An encore of "FF" into "Cemetery Walk II" capped off the evening fittingly. Though some might criticize a review that lavishes praise left and right and finds no qualms, but the show left nothing to be desired - only a yearning to experience it all over again.

03.27.09 :: The Pageant :: St. Louis, MO
Set I: 1348, The Bottom Half > Walletsworth > "Jimmy Stewart" > The Bottom Half, Kabump > Cemetery Walk, Mail Package, Plunger > "Jimmy Stewart"* > Plunger
Set II: Wappy Sprayberry > Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Preamble > Mantis > Hurt Bird Bath > Hangover, Resolution** > Mantis
Encore: FF > Cemetery Walk II
* with lyrics
** with The Triple Wide teases

For more on the Umph, check our exclusive feature/interview here.

Umphrey's McGee is on tour now, dates available here.

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[Published on: 4/1/09]

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Comments

kandrokitis Wed 4/1/2009 05:16PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

kandrokitis

awesome setlist. 2 more days til Penn's Peak.

Kylep215 Wed 4/1/2009 05:57PM
Show -7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
kandrokitis Wed 4/1/2009 06:27PM
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kandrokitis

i can't believe anybody actually believed that.

jus100odon Wed 4/1/2009 06:37PM
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neither can i. Umph better come melt some faces at rothbury.

ZRipper starstarstarstarstar Wed 4/1/2009 06:38PM
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Haha, I laughed my ass off when I saw that email. Great April Fools joke.

Kylep215 Wed 4/1/2009 07:18PM
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thank god its a joke, you have to admit it sounded somewhat official, but I probably should have realized it was a joke when it said they would be playing at the leaning tower of pisa and the statue of liberty.... Can't wait to party with them 2 nights in nyc next weekend!

Ter Wed 4/1/2009 07:54PM
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Ter

come on now - we all would have paid to see Hannah & UMPH throw down for a full set. We can all just smile and imagine

WharfRat Wed 4/1/2009 09:45PM
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WharfRat

god damnit i was supposed to be there. what an awful decision i made to not leave my home. fuck.

moejoerisin Wed 4/1/2009 09:51PM
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moejoerisin

very nice review. these guys are tearing it up! can't wait to see them again at summercamp!

mgiaco Wed 4/1/2009 11:54PM
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mgiaco

jus100odon, they will be at high sierra not rothbury.

schofizzl Thu 4/2/2009 12:05AM
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schofizzl

i was there. it was tits. they always seem to throw down really hard at the pageant, i've seen 5 UM shows there and no disappointments yet, other than the rude hippie hatin' staff there. if anybody wants a little umphrey's 101, check out their show from the pageant on 11-18-06, still my favorite umph's show to listen to ever.

schofizzl Thu 4/2/2009 12:06AM
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schofizzl

oh and that shine on made two chicks in the pit pass out! it was really intense, even having already seen them do it twice before.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} Thu 4/2/2009 04:47AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

sure are alot of repeat songs going on this year.

mesaxi Thu 4/2/2009 05:48AM
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they're from south bend, not chicago

rhythmking starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/2/2009 05:52AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

rhythmking

MANTIS SANDWICH MMMMMMMMMMantis

phishspread-aholic starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/2/2009 06:37AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

phishspread-aholic

awesome setlist. i like the 2 jimmy stewarts in the first act. resolution is nasty..... i still think charlotte 2/22 was better though. look it up.

finkle Thu 4/2/2009 07:47AM
Show -8 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
jus100odon Thu 4/2/2009 08:25AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

mgaico, so is ani difranco, bisco and john butler. its not like there playing the entire festival.

moephishH2O starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/2/2009 08:32AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

moephishH2O

The April Fools prank they pulled a few years back informing fans Stasik was leaving the band and following his dream to become a priest was HILARIOUS.

Sinister Vinister starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/2/2009 08:39AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Sinister Vinister

^Laces out for finkle!...or he might get even more irate. You poor, sad, angry person.

Looks like it was a blast. I always have a great time at UM shows.

jonny.klaiber Thu 4/2/2009 10:25AM
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jonny.klaiber

hay Finkle: the reaason why umphrey's is not playing at rothbury is because theyre playing at High Sierra Music Fest that same weekend. so keep your negative comments to youself, and let the fans enjoy their music.

jonny.klaiber Thu 4/2/2009 10:25AM
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jonny.klaiber

hey Finkle: the reason why umphrey's is not playing at rothbury is because theyre playing at High Sierra Music Fest that same weekend. so keep your negative comments to youself, and let the fans enjoy their music.

iknowyourider76 Thu 4/2/2009 10:56AM
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Nice review! Anyone know what "NON-UM" means. They have a few shows on their website with "NON-UM" next to it and I don't what that means. They have a date at Winston's in San Diego on May 16th, Winston's is a very small venue and I can't imagine that they would be playing there....although it would be very cool. Next to the date it has NON-UM, just wondering if anyone knows that means?

godinguy8 Thu 4/2/2009 11:00AM
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i wouldnt be surprised if Um opened up for the jonas brothers. they are opening up for DAVE...AGAIN

godinguy8 Thu 4/2/2009 11:04AM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
tampafaz Thu 4/2/2009 11:49AM
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Non-UM means it's a side project show...most of the guys are in at least one other band.

z man starstarstarstar Thu 4/2/2009 12:25PM
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Looks like a nice setlist. I haven't listened to these guys in while but their setlist looks a little less all over the place, is this show up on the archive?

schofizzl Thu 4/2/2009 12:34PM
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schofizzl

haha, finkle doesn't know how to dance in 7/4... what a turd.

MoeString starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/2/2009 01:13PM
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MoeString

SBC REPRESENT...

SEE YOU AT SCAMP.

MoeString Thu 4/2/2009 01:15PM
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MoeString

wish I wouldve made it. friends drove from indy missed a few tunes, Im still in cali and missed like 10 fucking umph shows. cincy,stl,indy,sbc, FUCK.. caught like 50 shows in one year two years ago now this.. at least im making summercamp.

jwelsh8 Thu 4/2/2009 02:53PM
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As was mentioned, "Non-UM" means it is not an official Umphrey's concert. It is either side-project show, or a sit-in, or an official after show. If you click to expand the date, all of the information for that show can be viewed.

gmoo Thu 4/2/2009 03:20PM
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gmoo

I love me a good mail package.

iknowyourider76 Thu 4/2/2009 03:36PM
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Cool everyone, thanks for the NON-UM help. I'll be checkin it out in San Diego on 5/16. Thanks again.

moonsafari starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/2/2009 05:14PM
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moonsafari

Cemetery walk II = best song on the cd

funkedup Fri 4/3/2009 12:06AM
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funkedup

good review and that second set looks UNREAL..definitely my kind of show...kinda pissed I will be missing their entire NE spring tour while I am in Australia.

Jekisa starstarstarstarstar Fri 4/3/2009 10:17AM
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Jekisa

actually finkle Umphrey's probably is at Rothbury.

They are already on a compilation CD for Rothbury 09 and a newspaper here in Michigan reported they are playing...yea they are at High Sierra too but that's why we have airplanes

URTH2URTH starstarstarstar Fri 4/3/2009 10:20AM
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URTH2URTH

i disagree, cemetery walk part I best song on CD, followed by 1348. CW part II is sweet too though, but more or less just a jam over 2 progressions. that 7/8 part in CW part I is unbelievable. still brings tears to my eyes sometimes when i hear it.

anybody know when the 3/27 show will be on archive? do all their shows get put up on archive?

MoeString Fri 4/3/2009 11:32AM
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MoeString

most are on archive, and CW is good, But that whole cd is amazing I like turn and run and spires. and 1348.. the whole cd really..

traffic starstarstarstarstar Sat 4/4/2009 12:23PM
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traffic

Great review, Saw the tulsa, lawrence, st,louis, memphis run and this was one of the highlights, The first time thev've split up Mantis ever and it was with an HBB! > into the Farag chime solo to end Mantis. Then Bayliss' white light of a voice threw down an always appreciated FF> into a cemetery II dance party encore. Had the room jumping Then we raged St. Louis the way Umphreaks do. The boys are on fire. They are incredible musicians with an incredible new album melting faces nightly. I had never been to the Pageant before but great venue. See my UM peeps for NOLA shows, summercamp, all good, and my first holidaze. I am so glad they are doing High Sierra again too. Showing some west coast love at one of the prettiest festivals anywhere. Could still always get put on Rothbury too as the are only playing 1 night at High Sierra. Either way, Umph is the place to be.

granola Sun 4/5/2009 02:36PM
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I just listened to that Mantis song at the top of this page and that shit is so choppy and just all over the place. I dont get how anyone could like that. That song is awful

rbubriski Sun 4/5/2009 10:36PM
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rbubriski

Nicceee, UM rocks, you can't dispute that. Its funny though, I saw them in Portland a couple of months ago and they played shine on you crazy diamond and it seems like they did it the exact same way this article describes. Nothing really wrong with that, you can't expect a band to be completely innovative every time.... or can you?