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Jam Central Station: Umphrey’s McGee Concert Review – 3.23.19 – Cleveland Masonic Auditorium

March 30, 2019 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski

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Umphrey’s McGee came to Cleveland’s Masonic Auditorium for the first time on March 23 and proceeded to deliver a front to back killer set that had no problem reaching the high bar the band sets for themselves. From the opening riff of “Padgett’s Profile” the band was on fire, segueing between songs, delivering extended jams, and showing off the tremendous talent and versatility that they’re known for. Mixing newer songs with some of their long-time standouts, Umphrey’s had a performance full of fire showing their well-deserved respect and loyalty from their fans.

After the opening “Padgett’s” the band went through a riff-heavy first set. Most songs found a great groove and had places where the riffs stood out. Of course, the jams soared out of those riffs. “Attachments” went for nearly 17 minutes, with Bayliss and Jake trading off on solos. The middle of the song fell into a guitar jam that Jake led through a few different movements with Joell playing a supporting role on his keys. “Attachments” led into “Water,” with it’s very syncopated guitar riffs. This one led directly into an excellent, albeit rather short, “Glory,” with one of the most recognizable Umphrey’s guitar riffs. The quiet start to the early part of the tune led into a solid take on the main riff of the song that fed into the jam and back into the riff. Jake is one the best guitar shredders around, and “Glory” was one of many opportunities for him to show that skill set. The set slowed down with the newer alt-country themed tune “You And You Alone” before going into a Cinninger-led “Little Gift” with a driving drum beat and a guitar riff that shows the band’s hard rock ability. The jam had some great guitar work as always, but also featured I think some of the best interplay between Kris Myers and Andy Farag on the drums and percussion. Stasik even got to step out a bit on the bass during a short drum-and-bass breakdown in the jam. The final segue of the first set brought the band into straightforward “Cut The Cable” to close things out.

The second set was full of some of Umphrey’s most intricate extended jams and orchestrated songs. “Hurt Bird Bath,” “Utopian Fir,” and, of course, “All In Time” turned into extended jam vehicles. “Hurt Bird Bath” moved through a half dozen movements just in the first half of the epic 17 minute song, continuing to move back into the main riff. A short appearance from newcomer “Half Delayed” led into the first half of “All In Time,” which sandwiched the rest of the set. This one had an extended interplay between Jake and Brendan and eventually gave way to a Farag solo, something I always like to see. Things eventually fell into a nice breakdown to lead into the opening of “Utopian Fir” that unexpectedly ended up going to “No Comment” after just over a minute. After the detour they went back to get into “Utopian Fir,” although it did end up being a short version that never strayed far from the basics.

The segues continued as the band got very funk with “Booth Love,” which not surprisingly had the funkiest jam of the night. Farag knows how to lay in just the right extras on percussion, and the guitars do a great job of not overplaying. I felt that Joel got a little lost in a song I’d like to see him stand out more in, but there was still a good flow. “Much Obliged” had a very avant garde style breakdown in the jam, with everyone seeming to move off in their own directions, only lightly held together by the rhythm. Of course, they brought it all back together as if it had all been planned from the beginning and dropped into the second half of an epic “All In Time.” Rather than just wrapping up the tune that was started early in the set they jumped into the slower section of the song with gusto and closed out the set with that signature riff one more time. The encore kicked off with a Kris Myers drum solo that kept moving back into a shuffle beat that eventually came out as the recognizable drum beat from “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.” This was the first version of that song in nearly 5 years, and a great bustout for the Cleveland crowd.

It’s hard to review an Umphrey’s show simply because Umphrey’s does what they do, and if you’re familiar with it you have a good idea what to expect. This one was a pretty stellar version of the Umphrey’s formula, however. The heavy first set with a few slower moments. The segue/sandwich second set. Solos and jams that went through multiple styles before moving seamlessly back to the main riff. This is what Umphrey’s McGee does and they do it so well. There aren’t any bands that I can think of that can bring a jam to a heavy crescendo, let it drop off, and build it back into the riff the way this band does. They always put on a solid show, and this one was better than most. A great night from a supremely talented band.

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Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!