JamBase List | UMBowl Debuts, Covers & Bust Outs

By Andy Kahn May 1, 2015 10:15 am PDT

Tonight Umphrey’s McGee kicks off UMBowl VI at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas. The sixth annual interactive and adventurous concert event making its Vegas debut will again have the sextet playing four quarters of music, each built around a different theme that forces the band to expand beyond their normal repertoire.

Though the themes have slightly altered over the years, each UMBowl has been consistently heavy on improvisation as well as debuts of covers and originals and bust outs of old-school songs. Setting aside the improvisation for a moment, the list below targets 10 stand out UMBowl debuts of new originals and covers, and bust outs of songs that had long been shelved.

1. “The Weight Around” April 24, 2010 UMBowl Lincoln Hall, Chicago
The all acoustic first quarter that began the first UMBowl provided the perfect opportunity for the band to debut the Safety In Numbers track, “The Weight Around.” Though Jake Cinninger was playing his electric guitar for the song, it seemed like a truly special treat and set the stage early for many more special UMBowl moments to come. Fans were given a chance to vote for what songs made this acoustic set, the fans chose well on this one.

2. “Interstate Love Song” April 24, 2010 UMBowl Lincoln Hall, Chicago
Immediately following “The Weight Around” UM got into the bust out business bringing out the Stone Temple Pilots cover for the first time since April 2002 and only the second time ever. It had been over 1,000 shows since “Interstate” made its debut and it’s only been played twice since.

3. “Going To California” April 2, 2011 UMBowl II Park West, Chicago
Cinninger and fellow guitarist Brendan Bayliss had previewed this Led Zeppelin song at their annual holiday acoustic shows. The UM debut came during the lone “Special Teams” themed UMBowl quarter thus far that saw the band performing with different configurations of band members on stage at one time. The duo reprised their acoustic show setup, with Bayliss playing mandolin and Cinninger on acoustic guitar.

4. “Big Bottom” April 2, 2011 UMBowl II Park West, Chicago
By bringing out this Spinal Tap cover UM proved just about anything is fair game at UMBowl. During the “Special Teams” quarter an army of bass guitars -including percussionist Andy Farag -invaded the stage for the first time since March 2007 complete with a Joel Cummins keytar solo.

5. “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot!” April 27, 2012 UMBowl III Park West, Chicago
The bustiest of bust outs, and the first of two Grateful Dead entries on this list, neither of these songs had been played by UM in over 1,500 shows. “Help” had not been covered since March 2000 while “Slip” had been absent since June 1999. The classic Dead combo played thanks to fan voting has only been performed once more since the UMBowl bust out.

6. “Forty Six & 2” April 27, 2012 UMBowl III Park West, Chicago
For many fans of Tool (including members of UM) it seemed like a matter of when, not if Umphrey’s would take a stab covering Tool. Coming straight out of the above Grateful Dead pairing, the three song cover suite proved to be one of the many highlights of the long night of music. “Forty Six & 2” has since become a regular, if a bit sporadic, part of the band’s song rotation.

7. “FDR” April 26, 2013 UMBowl IV Park West, Chicago
Titled in a nod to The New Deal, this dance-driven original hadn’t been played since the Oklahoma City show nearly a decade to the day earlier that was released as the live album Local Band Does OKlahoma. It kicked off the first “Raw Stewage” themed quarter which saw the band reinterpreting past “Jimmy Stewart” jams. Though it had been over 1,250 shows between plays, the song has been missing after its lone UMBowl appearance.

8. “Cantina Band” April 26, 2013 UMBowl IV Park West, Chicago
Another 1,500+ show gap between busting out old covers, UM only played the Star Wars band song once prior, on New Year’s Eve 2000 and they haven’t played it since. (Video is audio only).

9. Crazy Fingers May 3, 2014 UMBowl V Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York
Umphrey’s took UMBowl out of Chicago for the first time last year, landing at the Capitol Theatre. Once again fans voted for more Grateful Dead, resulting in the first proper full-band performance of the song which had also been played at a Jake & Brenden Holiday Show as well as by Jake and drummer Kris Myers at a prior UM show.

10. “Brain Damage” > “Eclipse” May 3, 2014 UMBowl V Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York
Fans also voted in this Pink Floyd bust out that closed out the “All Request” second quarter at last year’s UMBowl. The pair of Dark Side of the Moon tracks had been overlooked for over 900 shows having last been performed at Bonnaroo in June 2006. The second UM performance of these songs was also their last by the band.

UMBowl takes place tonight, at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas. TourGigs is offering a Pay-Per-View webcast if you won’t be in Sin City tonight. 

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