Photos and review: Umphrey's McGee at the Fillmore in Denver - Reverb

Live review: Umphrey’s McGee @ the Fillmore Auditorium

The 2012 tour T-shirt says, “Rage, Rest, Repeat.” That’s exactly what Umphrey’s McGee did this past weekend. After two intimate performances for ambitious fans at the Belly Up in Aspen, the progressive jammers capped off their three-night Colorado run Friday night in front of a sold-out crowd at the Fillmore Auditorium.

Out to please a fan base that has come to expect the band to combine unmatched musicianship with an unpredictable live experience, Friday’s show was successful on both fronts. Opening with the new slow-building prog piece “Gurgle,” the band soon retreated to familiarity with a 22-minute “Ocean Billy.” The haunting jam ignited a first set that ended with the well-known “In the Kitchen” being transformed into a house dance party.

After the grungy “Domino Theory” (one of 4 songs the band played off its latest release “Death by Stereo”), saxophonist Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic) was welcomed to the stage for a soulful take of the crowd favorite “Booth Love.” The head bangers in attendance got their fix during the machine-gun metal of “Go To Hell” before the band transitioned into a grooving “Ringo.” The high-energy tune revived the dance floor, sparking the crowd to chant, “We want the funk, Gotta have that funk!” after hearing only a few teasing bars of the George Clinton classic.

The party continued with an encore of the uplifting “Hajimemashite” followed by yet another electronic dance jam that morphed into a pitch-perfect take of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean.”

After the Aspen shows saw the band uncharacteristically use the house’s LED and laser light setup, it was great to see lighting designer Jeff Waful back in full action on Friday. His enormous natural light setup brilliantly mimicked the emotion of the music: from sweeping white floods during pleasant peaks to hard-hitting bursts of color during the band’s complex odd-meter runs.

For those that missed the run, Umphrey’s Mcgee will be returning to Colorado on Sept. 14 for a headlining performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with Railroad Earth.

Set One

Gurgle > 40’s Theme, Ocean Billy, Miami Virtue, Morning Song, In The Kitchen > Glory > In The Kitchen

Set Two

Puppet String, Domino Theory, Booth Love^, August, The Linear > Go To Hell, Ringo* > Voyager > Ringo

Encore

Hajimemashite > The Triple Wide > Billie Jean

Follow our news and updates on Twitter, our whereabouts on Foursquare and our relationship status on Facebook. Or send us a telegram.

Nate Etter is a Boulder-based musician and a regular contributor to Reverb.

Todd Radunsky is a Boulder-based photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.