I had been craving some live Umphrey’s since their short but impressive set at this years All Good festival and last weekend I finally got my fix as they stopped downtown Cleveland at the House of Blues for two amazing sets.
I planned my arrival perfectly as I arrived just in time to catch a song or two by the openers Elmwood. They had a Dave Matthews Band sound with a much edgier, rougher style as they powered through a song showcasing each member’s abilities on saxaphone, drums, bass, and guitar before calling it a night.
Umphrey’s took the stage relatively soon after and after s0me minor tuning kicked things off with “In The Kitchen” that including an amazing jam which Bayliss clearly directed the band through before giving way to “Walletsworth”.
Next came a slowly building ambient jam that eventually broke into “Nothing Too Fancy” which really took the energy level up as everyone began moving.
As they continued on into “Red Tape” and the reggae influenced “FF” the House of Blues really filled up as it was harder and harder to move around. The crowd seemed to be mostly die hard fans as they sang along with every word and easily identified each song.
Umphrey’s seemed to hit full stride as they played a rockin’ version of “We’re Going To War” that was met with deafening cheers from the crowd as Cinninger made it seem effortless. After playing “Words” they returned to “Nothing Too Fancy” to wrap up the set before a short break.
They started off the second set with “Prowler” followed by a lengthy “Higgins” as people trickled back in from the bathrooms and outside. A personal favorite was next as they played “Wappy Sprayberry” which I hadn’t been able to enjoy live since Rothbury.
Next was probably the highpoint of the show as they played the fan favorite “1348” which had the entire pit jumping in unison to the badass opening riff. After jamming for a few minutes they played back into “In The Kitchen” as they finished the final verse before jamming out on “Sociable Jimmy” before finally returning to “1348” to close out the second set.
As they returned for an encore they played the first few notes of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” before Bayliss asked, “You want us to do it?” with a sly grin as the crowd responded with the loudest cheer of the night. I’m not ashamed to say I enjoyed it way more than how the Beatles would have played it.
Though not much can hold a candle to Rothbury or the shows I saw there this was definitely the next best Umphrey’s McGee show I’ve seen and can’t wait until they make it back to Cleveland again.