Earlier this month, fans received the unfortunate news that Joe Russo‘s Almost Dead would no longer be performing at Suwannee Hulaween in Live Oak, FL when the festival takes place on October 28th–31st. Festival organizers made things right, however, announcing that Umphrey’s McGee would fill in for two sets on the event’s opening night, October 28th.
Umphrey’s McGee didn’t let anyone down when they performed a hard-rockin’, jam-filled show at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park & Campground on Thursday night. Midway through the band’s first set, Umphrey’s McGee tipped a cap to JRAD, debuting a cover of Grateful Dead‘s “Althea”.
Found in the middle of a “Utopian Fir” sandwich, UM made this version of “Althea” its own, while still paying homage to the jam legends that came before. After some distorted trills from guitarist Jake Cinninger, Brendan Bayliss lead the group into the iconic opening riff on the Go to Heaven classic.
Though it arrived heavier than the Dead might have played it, Umphrey’s played this one by the book. Bayliss provided crisp lyrics while Cinninger interjected lead lines over the rhythm section comprised of bassist Ryan Stasik, drummer Kris Myers, and percussionist Andy Farag. As the band worked through the “Althea” chorus, fans sang along as Joel Cummins‘ keys became prominent in the mix. Cinninger then finished the song off with a fiery solo, leading the band back to “Utopian Fir”, before closing the first set with “Looks”.
Check out a fan-shot video of Umphrey’s McGee covering “Althea” below and scroll down for a full setlist.
Umphrey’s McGee – “Althea” – 10/28/21
[Video: runaway jr]
Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee | Suwannee Hulaween | Live Oak, FL | 10/28/21
Set One: Similar Skin, Bad Friday, Believe the Lie, Utopian Fir > Althea > Utopian Fir > Looks
Set Two: Hurt Bird Bath, Conduit > The Triple Wide > Booth Love, 1348 > Slacker > 1348
Encore: The Floor
 debut, Grateful Dead
 with Halloween theme (Carpenter) jam