Umphrey’s McGee Lets Crew Band Finger Tight Loose For Grateful Dead Cover In Petaluma
Watch the “West L.A. Fadeaway” performed during UM’s setbreak at The Mystic Theatre on Thursday.
By Scott Bernstein Feb 24, 2023 • 8:18 am PST
Once every decade or so Umphrey’s McGee turns over the stage to Finger Tight, an ensemble featuring members of the band’s touring crew. The latest Finger Tight performance came last night at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, California, where the collective offered a cover of the Grateful Dead classic “West L.A. Fadeaway” as setbreak entertainment.
Finger Tight currently consists of stage manager Robbie Williams and lighting director Ben Factor on guitars, tour manager Bobby Haight on drums, production manager/monitor engineer Bob Ston on bass, lighting crew chief Aaron “Louie” Meyette and backline tech Christopher Ericson on keyboards, FOH engineer Chris Mitchell and utility man Steve “Britches” Britz on percussion along with creative director Sam Sutton on … dancing? Williams handled lead vocals on the song penned by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter that the Dead recorded for their 1987 studio album, In The Dark, and played live nearly 150 times between 1982 and 1995.
The last known Finger Tight public performance came on April 18, 2012 at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, Arkansas — where the outfit played Pink Floyd’s “Fearless” during setbreak. Another crew jam took place on March 4, 2008 at The Bluebird Nightclub in Bloomington, Indiana. Umphrey’s McGee was replaced by members of its team early in the second set at the Jack Daniel’s private show for “G-Song.”
Umphrey’s McGee guitarist Brendan Bayliss introduced Finger Tight on Thursday. “It’s a whole lot different with people here,” Robbie Williams admitted before Finger Tight lit into “West L.A. Fadeaway.” Members of Umphrey’s handled lighting and sound duties with bassist Ryan Stasik replacing Factor behind the light board and keyboardist Joel Cummins making sure fans could hear Finger Tight.
View footage of Finger Tight in action at the Mystic below:
Umphrey’s McGee opened the evening with the 50th performance of “It Doesn’t Matter.” The sextet then showed “Mad Love” before looking to their latest studio album, Asking For A Friend, for “It’s Not Your Fault.” Next came “Conduit” along with “Gulf Stream” weaved into oldie “Front Porch” ahead of a set-closing “Hangover.”
The band returned to its usual positions to get last night’s second set underway with their first “Bright Lights, Big City” since Februrary 20, 2022 — a span of 75 shows. From there UM took on “13 Days” and jammed “Attachments” into “Mail Package.” A double dose of songs referencing percussionist Andy Farag followed in “Atmosfarag” and “Andy’s Last Beer” and were connected with a drum and bass jam. The beloved “Hajimemashite” concluded the second set.
Umphrey’s ended the night with a “Puppet String” encore. The show came as part of the band’s 25th Anniversary Tour. A series of June dates in the Northeast were recently added to the celebratory run. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster. Click below for a full list of dates.
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Setlist (via Umphrey’s McGee Twitter)
Set One: It Doesn’t Matter > Mad Love, It’s Not Your Fault, Conduit, Front Porch > Gulf Stream > Front Porch, Hangover
Set Break Entertainment: Finger Tight Performing West LA Fadeaway
Set Two: Bright Lights Big City, 13 Days, Attachments > Mail Package, Atmosfarag > Andy’s Last Beer, Hajimemashite
Encore: Puppet String
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