Well.....I guess I'll do this but, I think this thread will need a different perspective.
Overall, for this freak, the show was OK. It was my first time seeing Umph, and first time at the venue. My wife was playing injured, which impacted enjoyment of the affair. The venue was decent; it's very interestingly decorated. The audience was very festively dressed. setlist as follows:
Set One Divisions > Der Bluten Kat > A Half Sleep$ > Der Bluten Kat, Rocker part II*, Plunger > "Jimmy Stewart"** > Plunger > Divisions
Set Two Mulche's Odyssey^, Resolution^, FF > "Jimmy Stewart"&, Black Messiah$$^ -> Syncopated Strangers, Wizard Burial Ground^
Set Three Miss Tinkle's Overture^ > Auld Lang Syne^ > Miss Tinkle's Overture^, All In Time&&, #Much Obliged > Front Porch, Alex's House^ > Bright Lights^
Encore Nothing Too Fancy > 5:15^^ > Nothing Too Fancy
Notes $ first time played, ???; with Jeff Coffin
* first time played, original
** with lyrics; similar to 11.10.07 Blue Echo
^ with Mad Dog's Filthy Little Secret horns
& with Andy, Brendan, Jake, and Ryan on electronics at the soundboard; with Joel on venue's pipe organ
$$ first time played, The Kinks; with Jake on keys with Joel
&& with Top Gun theme tease
# with Liquid tease
^^ first time played, The Who; with horns and Jen Harswick on vocals
It also should be mentioned that they teased Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks"
The biggest setback was the sound sucked. There was a historical video about the band at 8 pm that went on for about 30 minutes (with worse sound)The band came on immediately after that. Another thing I really disliked was that it was a loud DJ rave all through the two setbreaks and before the show. Thank God the breaks were not very long. And I also didn't like the low-tech video screen, circa 1990, that they probably got out of a junkyard. The definition was so low that it seemed pointless.
I need to see Umph in a better atmosphere with a better frame of mind. They do play their hearts out, albeit sometimes without much thought about pacing a song better. Rebuttals are welcome.
You pretty much nailed it with the lacking a normal Umphrey's experience due to the NYE show. For some reason, I dislike seeing Umphrey's at these major Chicagoland shows. Chicago really gets no normal um shows. Just large blow-outs that are either festivals or NYE runs. I enjoyed seeing them much more when they were smaller and playing typical club venues, which they could easily be playing now days if they booked it. These big shows are full of step in's, are usually too crowded since other bands share to bill, and um fans come in from all over the US. I personally think um is more up tight at these big home town shows, and the music doesn't flow as freely, or at least in comparison to when they play some far off show, on a week day night.
That said, Puff and I caught the 29th. Good show, not fantastic, but things got pretty cool in the 2nd set.
You should def see them again out near your neck of the woods.
I flew to Chicago because I gave up on waiting for Utah appearance. I do think they could draw a profitable crowd here, though. There is a well hidden wook contingent that comes out of the woodwork for an act like this. I saw this race of people at the recent Widepread Panic and Moe appearances. The Cheese could always bring them out from hiding.
Not sure where in Utah you are, but they do hit hit Las Vegas regularly. Yeah, you are right though, Utah is def off the radar, which is gold IMO. That country is too beutiful to be owned by the masses. I'm headed to Park City in March.
I don't really get excited for um shows in Chicago anymore. They only play the NYE run and a summer festival show, which is usually a one set show in the park for the 4th of July, and a major street fest show with 20 other bands. I just want them to play a muti-night run at a regular venue. No opener, no hype, no hot ticket, just play.
Styles did you catch the Tortoise opening set or was that on the 30th?
No, that was the 30th. The Wailers openned in the 29th. I really wished I had though. Still haven't read any reviews.