A Day In Of The Life
Well, a weekend actually. My Umphrey’s Red Rocks and Blue experience actually began on Friday July 1st when I picked up some of my Chicago peeps from the Denver Airport. It was great to have the Midwest peeps back with me again and the buzz of excitement that could be only an Umphrey’s show was already building. We went out Friday night and Saturday night and caught my good friends, the Fox Street Allstars as they brought their band of rock and funk to my favorite Denver bar, Herb’s Jazz and Blues. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Fox Street Allstars, please do so. They are good friends and tour around with the New Mastersounds. We all know those cats can throw down and let’s just say Fox Street holds their own.
Anyway, Sunday came and it was time for Red Rocks. By now the crew had increased to about a dozen. We had a van pick us up for the show, SAFETY FIRST, and headed out. We got to the lot just before doors, hopped in line and went into the venue. It was a slow to grow crowd and we were able to put some tarps down in the sweet spot, rows 24 and 25, just left of center. We got in touch with another crew of peeps and had our group of 30 or so rollin all together.
Up first were the New Mastersounds. They looked so funny packed in all tight on top of one another. Appearances, and Eddie Roberts’ new hair cut aside, those euro boys really held it down. I love seeing them play and I’m so happy they have become friends with the UM guys and that gives me more chances to see them. Up next was the Easy Star Allstars performing some of their originals as well as some of their dub covers. A really fun show, something must have gone wrong though with the timing because they were just about to start their bong rip influenced “money” from dub side of the moon when they got cut off. Regardless they hold it down and always put on an amazing show. Nevertheless it was time for UMPHREY’S.
I know I have mentioned before how Umphrey’s are my favorite, and this show at Red Rocks really reinforced that for me. First set began as the sun was really setting. Jefferson Waful would pretty much dominate everything that happened the whole night. When he gets to set up a rig like the one he had this night, with some 60 odd moving lights, well, he can really create some textures that are of unsurpassable beauty and I applaud him for his efforts. The music though, boy the music. This was a really special show for me for a lot of reasons. I was with some of my best friends in the world both from Denver and Chicago and I was actually privileged to be able to introduce 2 other friends of mine to UM…what a first show to see.
I’m not sure about everyone else but I am really stoked on the way these new tunes are coming together. We got Puppet String in the first set which is just an awesome song full of metaphors vocal harmonies and soaring guitar riffs. Dropping into a dirty Hurt Bird Bath was probably a really good idea, and the plunger ending was a great way to send us off to set break. 2nd set was amazing as well. Divisions and Haji were my personal highlights as those songs have the tendency to tug on my heart strings. Ok, I’ll say it, I was crying during both tunes…I can’t help it…between the scenery, my environment (inside my body), my people, the lights, the songs, it was all too much. Not tears of sadness , but almost of connection and shared experience. Leaving his lyrics open to interpretation, Brendan really allows people to connect with his music, simply amazing. Finally, the encore, Pearl Jam’s Release, with huge vocals, Brendan’s voice seemed to flow over the entire crowd and wrap them in a blanket of emotion connected to the song. This song is especially meaningful to one of my best friends, Ben Burstein, and for me to see him see this song was very special as it helps me understand what his world is about a little more.
With the show over we headed back to the van. Between our 14 and another limo of 18, we were about to continue the party at my place where an ice cold keg of PBR was waiting for us. Upon arrival, my roomie Kari was getting things ready and we were about to rage. The Fox Street boys, my roommate Jordan and his band Kinetix, and s couple other special guests who later got locked in our backyard for half an hour, were all getting down together. The tunes and the beers were flowing and we were all so happy to be home safe with each other just living the life. I think we all got to settling down around sunrise. Epic, epic night.
Waking up on the 4th we all could barely do anything considering the night before. But, in the true spirit of an Umphreak, we rallied and raged. We got up to Boulder about an hour before the show, grabbed a bite to eat on the Pearl Street mall and headed into the Boulder Theater. Crew and I headed straight up to the balcony and to our surprise, all the seats had been removed. I later found out they went out for cleaning, but it was great up there. Super roomy, awesome sound, unadulterated view. From everything I hear people talking about, they loved the Boulder Show more than the Red Rocks show and if you are into a dancey night of Umphrey’s I’d have to agree. With such a small room and everyone being such a big fan, there was a lot of energy flying around in the boulder theater. Between Booth Love, the Triple Wide, Wappy, and In the Kitchen, the dance force was out in full effect. For me, however, getting to see Murph come out and play Comfortably Numb was the highlight. Every single person singing along, it was phenomenal. Check out this video by my buddy Ben: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUkG5a2hXTM
With all that we had experienced I continue to realize how lucky we are to get to see a band like Umphrey’s. And just as every note they play can ring for only so long, seeing a live band is a fleeting endeavor. We never know how long they will play or what the future holds. So whatever your band is, go see them. Go see them as much as you can because tomorrow, you might not be able to.