Watch 10 Umphrey’s McGee New Year’s Eve Videos Featuring Horns
Dec 27, 2020
7:45 am PST
Umphrey’s McGee began three traditions 20 years ago this New Year’s Eve. On December 31, 2000, the band played their first ever NYE concert, a night on which they would return to the stage every year since. Additionally, UM’s show took place at The Cubby Bear in Chicago, a city that hosted each of the group’s December 31st performances through 2010. A third tradition of at least one horn player augmenting Umphrey’s McGee on New Year’s Eve was established at The Cubby Bear when saxophonist Rich Cohen sat-in with the band at various points of the night.
While various musicians played horns with the group at their final show of the year between 2000 and 2004, trumpeter Michael “Mad Dog” Mavridoglou made his Umphrey’s McGee New Year’s Eve debut on December 31, 2005. The following year, Mavridoglou was tapped to front the horn section which was officially dubbed Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns.
Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns have played an integral role in each Umphrey’s McGee New Year’s Eve concert since 2006. The horns appear at various points of each UM NYE show, usually for both covers and originals including the final song of the year and the traditional “Auld Lang Syne.”
The first Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns lineup consisted of Mavridoglou on trumpet, Jeff Coffin on saxophone, Chris Neal on saxophone and Brent Sanders on trombone. Umphrey’s McGee kicked off their second set on December 31, 2006 at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom with the horns aboard for “Wife Soup.” Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns made various appearances throughout the remainder of the night, including on the cover of Steely Dan’s “My Old School” that ended the second set. Umphrey’s McGee’s debut of “My Old School,” a song Steely Dan released on 1973’s Countdown To Ecstacy, remains the only version of the cover in the band’s history.
Umphrey’s McGee returned to the Aragon Ballroom to close out 2007 and start 2008. Once again, Mavridoglou was joined by Coffin, Neal and Sanders. However, this time around, trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick was added to the mix. Hartswick also had a chance to show off her incredible pipes by handling lead vocals on a cover of The Who’s “5:15.” Umphrey’s McGee’s debut of “5:15” came within the “Nothing Too Fancy” encore and the Quadrophenia classic has yet to be performed again by the band.
While Umphrey’s McGee moved their New Year’s Eve concert to The Auditorium Theatre in 2008, the sextet came back to the Aragon Ballroom for their year-ending festivites on December 31, 2009. UM was augmented by the classic Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns lineup of Mavridoglou, Coffin, Neal and Sanders for portions of all three sets as well as a cover of Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ In The Years” to close out the night. Additionally, former drummer Mike Mirro sat-in on the first “Headphones & Snowcones” since he departed the band in 2002. The video above features the end of the “Much Obliged” that kicked off the third set, followed by Brendan Bayliss counting down to the start of 2010 and an incredibly soulful, horn-driven rendition of the traditional “Auld Lang Syne.”
In 2011, Umphrey’s McGee held their first New Year’s Eve concert outside of Chicago. Although one tradition ended with the show held at The Pageant in St. Louis, another continued as Mavridoglou, Coffin, Neal and Sanders joined the group for most of the second and third sets as well as the full encore. Each set began with an instrumental intro on December 31, 2011. The third frame got underway with Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns helping out on “Nipple Trix” along with the “Booth Love” that followed.
The OG Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns lineup of Mavridoglou, Coffin, Neal and Sanders made their final New Year’s Eve appearance with Umphrey’s McGee at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium on December 31, 2013. Mad Dog and company first emerged at the end of the opening frame to augment the six-piece on the debut of “Bad Friday.” The horns returned for most of the second and third sets and were also on hand for the evening’s encore. In the video above, Umphrey’s is joined by Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns for a stellar rendition of “No Diablo,” an original the band debuted earlier in the year that was written by Bayliss for Jake Cinninger‘s son, Townes.
The Tabernacle hosted Umphrey’s McGee’s New Year’s Eve festivities on December 31, 2014. Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns went through a lineup change as Mavridoglou and Coffin were joined by Chris Ott on trombone and Josh Quinlan on saxophone. The four musicians have served as UM’s special guests each December 31st since under the Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret moniker. UM’s NYE show on December 31, 2014 came just a week after Joe Cocker died. The band and the horns paid tribute to Cocker with a debut cover of Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright” performed in the style of the legendary vocalist. “This one goes out to Joe Cocker, we miss you already,” Bayliss said ahead of one of just two versions of “Feelin’ Alright” played by Umphrey’s.
Umphrey’s McGee brought their New Year’s Run back to Denver in 2015. Cover debuts have long been a key part of UM’s year-end festivities and a bulk of song choices come from classic rock artists but not always. An example of a time the band went outside the box came on December 31, 2015 when Umphrey’s and Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns teamed up for a cover of R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).” Brendan Bayliss served as frontman in delivering the vocals and barely touched his guitar. “Ignition (Remix)” was performed towards the end of the evening’s third set and made two appearances in Umphrey’s setlists early the next year.
Another example of Umphrey’s thinking outside the box for a cover debut choice came at the Aragon Ballroom on December 31, 2016 during the only New Year’s Run since 2010 to be held in Chicago. The sextet and Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns ended the concert’s second set by unveiling a take on “Call To Arms” by Sturgill Simpson. It’s not that the song isn’t in UM’s wheelhouse, as the video above shows it most definitely was, but “Call To Arms” was less than a year old. Simpson released the tune on his 2016 studio album, A Sailor’s Guide To Earth. Jake Cinninger not only handled lead vocals, he also provided a pair of intense guitar solos. Unlike most UM NYE cover debuts, “Call To Arms” stuck around and was performed at least once by the band each year since its premiere.
Wappy Sprayberry & Auld Lang Syne | December 31, 2017
A classic Umphrey’s original has led into the countdown and “Auld Lang Syne” each year since 2010 with the exception of 2014, when the band ended the year with a song they debuted one year prior, “Bad Friday.” Among the fan-favorites to get the call to end the year have been “All In Time,” (2019) “The Triple Wide” (2012), “In The Kitchen” (2016) and “Hurt Bird Bath.” (2013) On December 31, 2017, Umphrey’s McGee chose “Wappy Sprayberry” for the plum assignment at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium. The horns emerged to augment the six-piece on a nicely-jammed “Wappy” that ended with a huge peak while Bayliss counted down to 2018. Balloons fell throughout the venue as UM and the horns began the year with “Auld Lang Syne.”
Atlanta’s The Tabernacle was where Umphrey’s McGee held their New Year’s Eve concert on December 31, 2018. Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns sat out the first set but were on stage for most of the second and third sets. Additionally, the horns engaged in a “Horns vs. Band Challenge” to begin the encore and sat-in on a cover of Kiss’ “Detroit Rock City” that ended the night. One of the many highlights from the show was a stellar rendition of Miles Davis’ “It’s About That Time,” which closed out the second set. The Miles cover really gave Mad Dog and company a chance to show off their skills.