Labor Day Umphrey’s McGee Skyline Stage Review #1

The two night run featuring Umphrey’s McGee at Skyline Stage seems to be a new, summer rite of passage for many Chicago music fans. The first of two nights of some seriously predictable mayhem in the form of the typical Umphrey’s McGee two-night explosion–I was in for a treat.

I’m not sure that sentence makes a whole lot of sense. I guess you had to be there…

The play-by-play might not be the most concise, but here’s the abstract–this show was extremely well played and it featured UM at their finest. The show featured a lot less in the theatric sense that seems to play well with some and much less with others. It was strictly the music on Saturday night, and it’s going to be a beauty of a recording.

Set One:
The Crooked One — It was clear that the boys were definitely focused on the soundcheck aspect of the first song out of the gate. I’m not saying that it didn’t sound good.

Wife Soup — Great, and I remember it being greater than standard.

Atmosfarag — I remember a jam at the end that didn’t seem to go anywhere, but this song is usually amazing and didn’t disappoint.

2nd Self > stew > Mullet (over) — Usually a “jimmy Stewart” tends to confuse me; this one is a blur. I need to download the show.

Mail Package — One of my favorite Jake songs. Good stuff.

Moby Dick > Ocean Billy — i’m in line for a beer when I hear the Moby Dick notes. I caught most of the very, long drum solo (with only Kris on the stage) and a great OB follows.

Definitely a solid set. We didn’t bring our camera the first night. It’s reallly impossible to tell if you’ll be able to sneak your camera in, so I would never risk it on the first night. Venue rules change overnight and easily dependent upon the crowd in which they expect. Keep that in mind.

Set Two:
Bridgeless — Standard version, again, almost feeling soundcheck worthy.

Much Obliged > stew > Burning Down the House > Roulette — This was just incredible and featured some really powerful moments. They just launched straight into BDtH. I couldn’t tell it was coming.
Roulette was great. The whole segment was just totally solid. Really. Believe me.

Last Man Swerving > Hajimemas***e > Kimble — This segment was equally sweet.

Bright Lights — This song had some definite variation to close out the set. This song can sound many different ways, and they nailed this song and kept it at a good speed.

Encore: Slacker — In dedication to one of the crew member’s brother’s birthday, Slacker gets played. I love it.

Here’s the setlist from…

09.03.05 – Skyline Stage – Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois
Set One: The Crooked One, Wife Soup, Atmosfarag, 2nd Self > “Jimmy Stewart” > Mullet (Over), Mail Package, Moby Dick > Ocean Billy
Set Two: Bridgeless, Much Obliged > “Jimmy Stewart” > Burning Down the House > Roulette, Last Man Swerving > Hajimemas***e > Kimble, Bright Lights
Encore: Slacker

Honestly, maybe I’m just lazy but I swear that’s about the best I can do explain this concert. I was in awe, as most many other times I am when I see UM. The show featured a really mature-sounding Umphrey’s, one that you can tell has been on the road for a while. A nice Labor Day weekend near home was probably just what the band was looking for. I know I enjoyed mine.

Judging by the way they played on Saturday night (plus Sunday night in hindsight), they had a great weekend in Chicago and we can only hope that the tradition continues…