Umphrey’s McGee Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of First Collaboration

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On November 2, 1997 four members who went on form Umphrey’s McGee shared the stage together for the first time as part of keyboardist Joel Cummins’ recital at Notre Dame’s Snite Museum Of Art. Last night the band honored the occasion by performing the same song the four members played 20 years prior, the instrumental “Dear Lord.”

UM kicked off the show at the House Of Blues in Cleveland with a “Tango Mike”/”Domino Theory” pairing. The former made its return after a 40-show lay off. “Example 1” followed along with more golden oldies, “Much Obliged” and “White Man’s Moccasins.” The newer “Mad Love” and “Gone For Good” came next before the six-piece ended the frame with a “Syncopated Strangers” featuring “End Of The Road” in the middle.

Thursday’s second set began with a “Der Bluten Kat” that included a “Mind Left Body” jam as well as full version of “Final Word.” A rare cover of Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen” then led into the first “Smell The Mitten” in 40 shows. “Similar Skin” and “Miss Tinkle’s Overture” closed out the set.

The evening’s encore started with “Remind Me,” a song to be featured on the forthcoming studio album – it’s not me. In the middle of “Remind Me,” the sextet lit into “Dear Lord.” Cummins, Ryan Stasik, Brendan Bayliss and Mike Mirro had performed the gorgeous instrumental 20 years to the day prior at the aforementioned recital. “Dear Lord” was the biggest bust out of the night, having last been played 60 shows prior.

Earlier in the day Cummins revealed to me, “Dear Lord just began as a Ryan Stasik bass riff that we played over. The old I/IV major chord progression was a good start.” Bayliss, Mirro, Stasik and Cummins would take the stage for the first Umphrey’s McGee concert a few months later on January 21, 1998 at Bridget McGuire’s Filling Station in South Bend.

Setlist (via All Things Umphreys)

Set 1: Tango Mike > Domino Theory, Example 1, Much Obliged -> White Man’s Moccasins, Mad Love, Gone for Good, Syncopated Strangers > End of the Road > Syncopated Strangers

Set 2: Der Bluten Kat[1] > Final Word > Der Bluten Kat, Hey Nineteen > Smell the Mitten[2], Similar Skin, Miss Tinkle’s Overture[3]

Encore: Remind Me > Dear Lord > Remind Me

  • [1] with Mind Left Body (Kanter/Garcia) jam
  • [2] with The Jetsons theme (Curtin) tease
  • [3] with Somebody’s Watching Me (Rockwell) jam
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