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.