What’s better than seeing Umphrey’s McGee at Summerfest? Seeing Umphrey’s McGee at Summerfest for free. Each day, Summerfest offers admission promotions, such as a canned food drive in exchange for a free ticket. On Tuesday, July 2nd, there was no promotion. Simply, admission was free for everybody from 12-3. So without thinking twice, I of course went down to the grounds shortly after 12 to get in for free, and left right away with a re-entry wristband that is good until 7 pm. Perfect.
UM was headling the Big Backyard stage, which is my personal favorite stage at Summerfest. The opening act, Grace Weber & EMEFE, is definitely worth mentioning. I had never heard of them before, but I definitely remember them now! I was confused during the show because Grace Weber, who just sang, was only on stage for about half of the show. Turns out, Grace Weber & EMEFE are 2 different bands that collaborated just for the show. To be honest, I’m not even 100% sure how to pronounce EMEFE, but they know how to make me dance. They had about a dozen members – a horn section, drums, guitar, bass, keys – the whole 9 yards. And it’s probably worth noting every one of them had a mustache. I classify them as a funky jazz jam band. I’ve researched they are a small band from New York, so hopefully they gain enough support to tour through the Midwest again soon!
So, anyways, this band Umphrey’s McGee, brought the heat. I knew we were in for a treat when Joel told me earlier in the day via the Twitter (after I asked) that it’d be 1 extended set and an encore. A lot of my favorite UM shows are 1 setters (example: 10K ’07). Le Blitz as an opener was the perfect anticipation builder to lead into a great show. After Wife Soup, Bayliss dedicated the next song to “all the ladies who chose to spend their time with us instead of New Kids on the Block.” NKOTB was headlining the Marcus Amphitheater at the same time. So expecting to hear a poppy cover song, instead we get a gold classic heavy metal Guns n Roses cover of It’s So Easy. Lol. Well played, Umphrey’s. A few songs later, Joel introduces Kevin Sinclair to come out to join on saxophone, as they crush a Pay the Snucka into Let’s Dance by David Bowie. The lyrics were switched in Pay the Snucka to “Stasik, go have a baby, a baby, will make you tired as hell.” Small things like lyric changes are reasons I love this band so much. You never know what to expect; it’s always different and improving. Speaking of not knowing what to expect, dear lord what an encore!!! Seriously, Dear Lord. I have been in love with that song ever since I heard it at The Rave back in ’09. They had already melted my face with a raging Deeper > Tinkles, which I thought would have segued right into the ending of Snucka, but instead they snuck a blissful Dear Lord that myself and the rest of the crowd loved.
Before the encore, Joel announced the band would be returning to The Riverside Theater in Milwaukee for 3 nights of Halloween this year. Mark your calendars, people: 10/31/13-11/2/13.
Setlist (source: allthings.umphreys.com) :
1: Le Blitz > Plunger, Turn & Dub > Mail Package > Wife Soup, It’s So Easy (Guns n Roses), Robot World > Out of Order, Pay the Snucka@ > Let’s Dance@ (David Bowie), Bright Lights, Big City > Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd), 2×2 > No Comment > 2×2
E: Deeper > Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Dear Lord > Pay the Snucka
@ Kevin Sinclair on saxophone