Umphrey’s McGee Tears Up The Beacon Theater

Fans enjoying Umphrey's McGee at Beacon Theatre
Fans enjoying Umphrey’s McGee at Beacon Theatre
Umphrey’s McGee threw it down on the Upper West Side of Manhattan this past weekend with an epic three-turned-two night run at NYC’s iconic Beacon Theatre. Originally scheduled as the first triple header for Umphrey’s Mcgee at the Beacon, Saturday’s blizzard sorely cut the long weekend short. The highly anticipated third night finale, “an evening with” the Umph men, was canceled on the day of the event due to the inclement weather and travel bans imposed by the city. “We would love nothing more than to bring the heat and rock through the conditions,” the band shared on their website early that afternoon, “but we seriously have no choice.” Fans did receive a heavy helping of the sextet on both Thursday and Friday evenings though, accompanied by none other than NYC’s funked-out natives, Tauk.

As I entered the legendary Art Deco theater Thursday evening, I was greeted with spurts of the happy birthday song murmured among several different groups of friends in the lobby. My Umphrey’s McGee virgin of a date asked if this was some sort of ‘heady ritual’ he should know about. I mentally scanned my Umph trivia and recalled reading that the band was celebrating the 18th anniversary of their first-ever show that night, what a treat! In between the bouncy rock tunes of the first set, Bayliss gave a heartfelt shoutout to the fans in the front row holding up a “Happy Birthday Boys” banner.

While the first set spread across a variety of Umph’s signature jam-infused genres, the second set highlighted a new twist on familiar show-stoppers like “Booth Love” and “All in Time.” Commemoration and celebration prevailed as the driving forces of the overall show; an homage paid to Glenn Frey through the bands intertwining of lyrics from “You Belong To The City” and a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” closed out the night.

Umphrey’s McGee’s pure magical talent never fails to impress me. Their magnetic performance quality paired with a precise and tricked-out lightshow always leave me with a sense of wholeness and satisfaction. Needless to say, I walked out of Beacon Theatre that night with my \mm/ held high.