Umphrey’s McGee returned to Colorado for a highly-anticipated three-night run at the Fillmore Auditorium. Wasting no time, the band took the stage to Beethoven’s "5th Symphony" which set an energetic, funk-focused groove for night one. Highlights in the first set include "Out of Order" into "Partyin' Peeps," along with Jake Cinninger's keyboard cameo with Joel Cummins on “Deeper.” Set two brought fans “The Bottom Half,” featuring a lyrical stew by Brendan Bayliss that was followed by a cover of the classic “Rock The Casbah.” The segue grew into a drum solo, which found both Cinninger and Andy Farag collaborating on the percussion rig. Later, look for Brendan Bayliss utilizing a bottle of wine as a guitar slide during “Mullet (Over).” Needless to say, the band was having fun as the night came to an end with a soulful performance of “Believe the Lie.”
On night two, the band kicked things off with the aptly titled “Flamethrower” before segueing into a “Mulche’s Odyssey,” dominated by Cinninger on the fire and brimstone. “Miami Virtue” cooled things off a bit as Ryan Stasik dropped a smooth bass line, which, synced with the keyboard handiwork of Cummins, got both the band and crowd into a steady head bob. On the heels of a hefty "Plunger" sandwich, “Dump City" set up a second set that won't soon be forgotten. The great saxophonist Joshua Redman joined the band for all of set two, making this one a rare gem in the UM catalog. Monster song after monster song interspersed with high energy improv made this one of the band's favorite sets of the year. This one delivers.
Set one of New Year's Eve proper features a range of Umphrey's tunes: look for massive improv vehicle “Ocean Billy,” prog-monster "Wizard Burial Ground," and the debut of dance-anthem "Bad Friday," which featured the return of Mad Dog's Filthy Little Secret and Jeff Coffin. The horns resurfaced and joined the band for much of set two, including a "40's Theme", "Booth Love," and the debut of the Phil Collins hit "Sussudio."
As the NYE run nears, the question always circles amongst fans, "What will the band play for the ball drop?" 2013's "Hurt Bird Bath" did not disappoint as the energy mounted to a pinnacle at midnight . Keeping with tradition, midnight brought a heartfelt but rocking rendition of "Auld Lang Syne," complete with confetti and fantastic balloon drop. Appropriately, “Hit It and Quit It” by Funakdelic was the first song played in 2014, all setting up for the grand finale encore, “Resolution." Another fantastic New Years Run is in the books!