News

Widespread Panic & Umphrey's McGee Rock The Tuscaloosa Amphitheater September 16, 2016 00:00

Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Photos by Craig Baird: Live & Listen

Thursday night in Tuscaloosa was one that won't be forgotten any time soon, as jam veterans Widespread Panic and Umphrey's McGee joined forces for one of the better rock shows one could ask for.  With Panic slated for two sets and Umphrey's getting a full 75-minute opening spot, the stage was set for a rowdy occasion at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre.  This would be the first of a two-night Umphrey's/Panic run, and the music couldn't start soon enough.

Umphrey's took the stage promptly at 6:30 PM, opening up with "Similar Skin," the title track from the band's 2014 studio release.  "Wappy Sprayberry" opened things up for some extensive jamming, before ultimately moving into a newer tune "Speak Up." Ryan Stasik then busted into the all-too-familiar opening notes of "Puppet String," one which always draws a strong reaction from the UM faithful.  It was then time for Jake Cinninger (guitar) to take the lead on "Glory," one of the most peaceful, beautiful songs in the band's extensive catalog.  "Educated Guess" provided another heavy-hitting rocker from Similar Skin, and "Women, Wine, and Song" made for one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the night.  
-
-
Umphrey's McGee at Avondale Brewery - July 7th 2016
-
Next up was "Bad Friday," which quickly turned this occasion into Alabama's biggest dance party.  Many of us felt like that might have been the end of the set, and thankfully, this was a false assumption.  This band tackles cover tunes as well as any band in history, and David Bowie's "Let's Dance" was no exception.  Cinninger handles Bowie's vocals with fine form, and you would be challenged to find a better rendition of this classic tune.  A seamless segue back into "Puppet String" would bring this scorching opening set to a close.
-
After about 30-minutes of turnover, the lights went down, and Widespread Panic took the stage, much to the delight of the lively Alabama crowd.  The Panic faithful was paying extra attention on this night, as the band had not repeated a song in its first six shows of the tour.  Would they continue this trend and make it seven shows?  It sure seemed that way as the set kicked off with Vic Chesnutt's "Le'ts Get Down To Business", "Travelin' Light," and "Little Kin."  The trend continued with Bloodkin's "Henry Parsons Died," which always seems to light a fire in the set.  Another nod to the late Chesnutt came with "Sleeping Man," before "Up All Night" brought about the first repeat of the tour.  
-
-
While this was an entertaining and impressive streak, so much more was now on the table, and no complaints were issued on this night.  The first taste of Street Dogs came in the form of "Cease Fire" > "Jamais Vu," a pairing that has become pretty consistent in the last few years.  The party shifted into high gear as Jimmy Herring hit the first licks of The Guess Who's "No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature."  Panic is known for their unique spin on countless covers, but this one is up there with the best of them.  John Bell thanked and assured the crowd that they'd be right back, and that was it for the first set.
-
Set two kicked off in explosive fashion with a cover of The Talking Heads' "Papa Legba."  Next up was "Happy," which JoJo Hermann ultimately took straight into "Greta," one of the bigger highlights of the night.  Is there a better sing-a-long in the Panic catalog?  I guess that's up to the individual, but "Greta" just never gets old.  The segues continued and this time it was into a scorching take on "Solid Rock," which was proceeded by "Tall Boy."  It's safe to say that JoJo brought his a-game to Tuscaloosa, and thankfully there was much more where that came from.
-
-
I'm not sure if there is a more quintessential Panic tune than "Surprise Valley," and the boys proved that yet again.  That song defines the sound of the band for me, and I'd honestly be fine with hearing it at every show.  A brief take on "Drums" came next, which moved swiftly back into "Surprise Valley."  The darker, bluesy "Me and The Devil Blues" and "Holden Oversoul" would follow, before "Porch Song" closed out the second set in epic fashion.  After a brief exit, the band returned to the stage and gave another nod to Bloodkin with "End of the Show."  Everyone knew this would lead into another rocker, and JoJo took the lead on this one with "Blackout Blues."  This one always seems appropriate at the end of a set or in the encore, and just like that, this massive occasion in Tuscaloosa had come to an end.
--
This was only my second opportunity to catch a show at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, and I can't say enough about this venue.  In my opinion, this is the premiere outdoor venue in the state of Alabama.  While Oak Mountain and The Wharf have plenty to offer, there truly is not a bad seat in the house in Tuscaloosa, and the overall design maintains an intimate element that can't be argued.  Being able to catch Umphrey's and Panic on the same night was really special, and the fact that we get to do it all over again tonight is extremely convenient.  One can only wonder what type of collaborations we can expect in Alpharetta tonight, and fortunately we only have to wait a matter of hours to find out.
-
-
-

Umphrey's McGee Is Returning To Chicago For New Year's Eve September 05, 2016 13:00

Photos by Keith Griner: Phierce Photography

Progressive rock band Umphrey's McGee made a major announcement over the weekend; one which many of the band's oldest fans can rejoice about.  While specifics have not yet been announced, Umphrey's will return to their home city of Chicago for the 2016 NYE run.  The band's first-ever New Year's Eve show was on December 31st, 2000 at The Cubby Bear, and they proceeded to play the city every year through 2010.  They then hit St. Louis and have rotated between Denver and Atlanta for the past four years. The band made the announcement via Twitter on Saturday, and keyboardist Joel Cummins confirmed the news on stage at North Coast Music Festival this weekend.

On second thought. Chicago seems like a better option. Bringing it home for NYE.
— Umphrey's McGee (@umphreysmcgee) September 5, 2016
-

Past Umphrey’s McGee New Year’s Eve Shows

  • 2015 – Fillmore Auditorium – Denver, CO
  • 2014 – The Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA
  • 2013 – Fillmore Auditorium – Denver, CO
  • 2012 – The Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA
  • 2011 – The Pageant – St. Louis, MO
  • 2010 – The Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL
  • 2009 – Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL
  • 2008 – The Auditorium Theatre – Chicago, IL
  • 2005 – 2007 – Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL
  • 2004 – The Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL
  • 2001 – 2003 – The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
  • 2000 – The Cubby Bear – Chicago, IL

Watch Umphrey's McGee perform "Amazing Grace" > "Glory" with the Chicago Mass Choir on 12.31.08:


Flashback: Umphrey's McGee Jams with Huey Lewis on Jimmy Kimmel Live (2006) April 15, 2016 10:25

Friday is a day meant for excitement, celebration, and anticipation for the two days ahead of you.  We are here to do everything in our power to help you finish the week on a strong note and head full speed into the weekend.  On that note, we have decided to take a look back one of our favorite moments in Umphrey's McGee history.

While supporting the release of the band's fourth studio album, Safety in Numbers, Umphrey's made it's late night television debut on the ABC network's Jimmy Kimmel Live! for a performance of "Women, Wine, and Song" and "Nemo", both of which were featured on the new album.  Umphrey's called on their friend Huey Lewis for the special occasion, who had recently joined them in the recording studio.  Video footage from the live performance from ABC studios can be found below.  Umphrey's manager Vince Iwinski can be seen jamming on the front row at the 1:50 mark.

Safety In Numbers is Umphrey's McGee's fourth studio album, released on April 4, 2006. Huey Lewis and Joshua Redman both make appearances. Lewis makes appearances on both "Women, Wine, and Song" and "End of the Road", while Redman appears on "Intentions Clear". The album contains many slower, acoustic songs and a simpler, stripped down approach with little jamming or progressive rock elements. The artwork for the album was done by Storm Thorgerson.

Watch Umphrey's McGee perform "Women, Wine, and Song" w/ Huey Lewis here:

Watch's Umphrey's McGee perform "Nemo" during soundcheck at Jimmy Kimmel Live here: