Saturday night marked a milestone for Umphrey’s McGee, when they played their 2000th show at the Orpheum Theatre in Madison, WI.
The sold out show brought in a crowd of around 1,700 fans to the ornate theatre. Umph Love was in the air, and anticipation for this groundbreaking achievement for the band resulted in an energetic crowd.
The Revivalists brought their rock/soul sound to the stage to pump up the crowd before Umphrey’s. The band has toured with the likes of With Red Wanting Blue, and will pick up where they left off with Umphrey’s in March 2015 for the winter tour.
Then the lights dimmed, and lighting designer Jeff Waful began his magic as Umphrey’s took the stage for the 2000th time. They started off with “All In Time”, which has been one of their most frequently played songs of the 2,000 shows.
Brendan surprised fans when he started to sing “Walk the Proud Land”, which hasn’t been performed since 2002. The crowd was blown away when they covered a Pixies classic, “Where Is My Mind?”, which was the first time Umphrey’s covered the song; their rendition was as good as, if not better than, The Pixies.
Of course, favorites such as “Hurt Bird Bath” and “40’s Theme” were played, along with a brilliant Eminem tease of “Lose Yourself” during “Front Porch.”
Kevin Sinclair jazzed up “1000 Places to See Before You Die” and again during an encore of “It’s About That Time”, nailing the jams on saxophone.
What’s so great about an Umphrey’s show is the balanced mix of bust-out songs and UM classics. And of course, no two shows are the same, considering all of the improv jam solos that blow most other bands out of the water.
Umphrey’s has a uniqueness that sets them apart from other progressive rock bands, like their tendency to start a song, intertwine another song or solo, and go back to the original song. They smoothly incorporated this aspect as they started the show with “All In Time,” and brought it back with with a bang during the encore.
They praised the crowd multiple times during the show, thanking loyal fans for letting this all happen and letting them do it over the years successfully. By the looks on the faces of the crowd and the nonstop jamming, this was a show for the ages.
Reaching 2,000 shows is a big deal for any band or artist, but Umphrey’s McGee has done it in a period of over fifteen years; from small venues to Red Rocks, live shows to couch tours. Umph fans can only hope for another 2,000 shows, which doesn’t seem too far-fetched, considering all the Umph Love that was in the air.