The Umph Love was strong in the McDonald Theatre on Friday night in Eugene, Oregon. Deadheads and Wooks alike crowded the box office at the last minute to witness Indiana rockers, Umphrey’s McGee, paint the walls rainbow with jams. Ghost Note, a nine-piece funk/hip hop group from Dallas, warmed up the stage for the masters of improv.
After the opening act, Umph played two separate sets, as per usual. The first set always surprises the audience with just how impressively the band expands on their music. Those who haven’t seen Umphrey’s before can be easily spotted with their jaws hanging to the venue floor. The band started with “It Doesn’t Matter,” churned out a particularly saucy “#5” into “Domino Theory” back into “#5,” and finished the first half with crowd favorite, “Mulche’s Oddysey.”
Umphrey’s returned moments later with another popular track, “Der Bluten Kat” into “Final Word” into “Der Bluten Kat” again. Their live shows go hand-in-hand with the beautiful work done by touring light designer, Jefferson Waful. With upwards of 30 multicolored LED stage lights all synchronizing at his will, Waful creates the most dazzling, intense combinations of shape and color, resulting in a light show as breathtaking as the band’s performances. Umphrey’s also has an inclination to cover famous songs in their own, hard rock style. In fact, they just released an album of mash-up covers, deliberately fusing genres and classic tunes, entitled Zonkey. The second set on Friday night included a rendition of “I Wanna Be Your Lover” by Prince. This was promptly followed by more jams such as “Syncopated Strangers” with an insert of “North Route” and “Hajimemashite” into “The Slient Type,” which ended the latter half of the show. The final song of the night was a lovely version of “Slacker” as an encore. Last time Umphrey’s played in Eugene was 2013, so hopefully it won’t be another six years before they visit again.