After three very different shows — a metal-heavy evening on Saturday, a fusion-filled jazz party on Sunday and an intimate affair with an open bar and fan-curated setlist at the 1UP-Colfax on Monday — Umphrey’s McGee returned to a sold out Fillmore Auditorium Tuesday night to ring in 2014. The celebratory show featured three full sets by the prog-rock powerhouse and appearances by saxophonist Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band) and Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret Horns.
See photos from Umphrey’s McGee’s Dec. 30 show at 1Up-Colfax below.
A diverse first set was dominated by the epic “Ocean Billy” that departed from the band’s schizophrenic tendencies in favor of a catchy saga that ended with guitarist Jake Cinninger taking center stage. Not to disappoint the metal heads in attendance, the set also included the biting thrash metal of “Wizard Burial Ground.”
Set two continued with surprises, like a tease of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” that dropped into “Pay the Snucka.” A reggae tinged “Utopian Fir” got the crowd amped for a cover of Phil Collins’ “Sussudio” that may have been the highlight of the night as drummer Kris Meyers belted the falsetto chorus.
A stellar third set started with the classic crowd favorite “Hurt Bird Bath” that killed the time before the clock struck twelve. At midnight, thousands of balloons fell from the chandeliers while the band broke into a horn-filled take of the NYE staple “Auld Lang Syne.” The party continued with an exceptionally synced light show to a funky “Wappy Sprayberry,” a shredding “Miss Tinkle’s Overture” and “Bridgeless.”
With 15 years of continuous touring, an exceptional lighting director in Jefferson Waful and a loyal Midwest fanbase that rivals any jam band, Umphrey’s McGee has solidified themselves as a top tier act that closed out a commemorative year in style.
Nate Etter is a Boulder-based musician and a regular contributor to Reverb. You can reach him at Nate@EcoVessel.com.