The network of the music industry is one of the things that makes it an extra special community, and one of the magical occurrences within the family of music is when artists familiar or friendly with one another happen to play in the same city on the same night. If the opportunity is seized properly, unique tour events can unfold. One of those rare moments took place in Eugene, Oregon on February 27th.
Umphrey’s McGee, currently touring with Andy Frasco and the U.N., came to the McDonald Theatre last Thursday for their Hindsight 20/20 Tour. As if Frasco and Umph couldn’t bring enough raw performing talent to the table, Mike Dillon, punk rock percussion extraordinaire, also planned to play a show in Eugene later in the evening at Whirled Pies. Surely the timing was calculated, because Mike had enough of a window to jump in during both groups’ sets.
Frasco performed with spectacularly soulful and inspired gusto. Mike Dillon joined in for the last few tunes on standing drums. The final song was a cover of the Isley Brothers’ “You Make Me Wanna Shout,” started with a lovely vocal melody from the drummer, Andee Avila. Wrestling with Mike, mashing keys, and leaping about, Frasco reminded fans at the end to “live in the moment,” and then toasted to them.
Umphrey’s McGee followed with their unbridled progressive jamband chops. The visual majesty of the band’s show remained a spectacle as well, after the previous lighting designer, Jefferson Waful retired from the road to be replaced by Ben Factor. Before long, Dillon hopped aboard the Umph Boat and took the drum throne with percussionist Andy Farag. The laughter and smiles between bandmates and audience members alike didn’t stop after that.
Those with the gumption to keep the music going followed Mike, Frasco, and members of the U.N. down to Whirled Pies for more. Mike’s radical, vibraphone-driven punk rock matched the mood of the night’s evolution perfectly and continued to surprise attendees when U.N. guitarist Shawn Eckles and Andy Frasco himself joined Dillon’s performance at the venue. Clearly, the MVM (Most Valuable Musician) of the night was Mike Dillon, with endless endurance, an infinite desire to create, and his mallets in all the kettles. As the crazy Thursday finally came to a close, fans raised their last cheers and surely thanked their lucky stars for such a one-of-a-kind evening.