Embarking on its first New Year’s Eve run since 2019, Umphrey’s McGee took Atlanta by storm with two jam-packed nights at the Coca-Cola Roxy. Before the band celebrated the end of 2022, the dynamic duo of Brendan Bayliss and Jennifer Hartswick, otherwise known as “Hartliss”, would kick off the weekend with a show at Terminal West on Thursday, December 29th. The evening would be filled with an array of covers spanning multiple decades, lots of witty banter, silliness, and regaling of stories.

Brendan Bayliss & Jennifer Hartswick – “Gotta Serve Somebody” (Bob Dylan) – 12/29/22

[Video: vitaminrenergy]

Setlist: Brendan Bayliss & Jennifer Hartswick | Terminal West | Atlanta, GA | 12/29/22 

Set: Sittin on the Dock on the Bay (Otis Redding), Under African Skies (Paul Simon), Just the Two of Us (Bill Withers), 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (Paul Simon), Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob Dylan), Bell Bottom Blues (Derek & The Dominoes), You’re No Good (Linda Ronstadt), Angel from Montgomery (John Prine), Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith), Jolene (Dolly Parton), Bullhead City (Umphrey’s McGee), Come Together (The Beatles), Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper), Lifeboy (Phish), Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler), Creep (Radiohead)

Encore: What a Fool Believes (Doobie Brothers), Freedom ‘90 (George Michael)

The party officially started on December 30th when the band took the stage at Coca-Cola Roxy, the first time UM has raged this beautiful venue. Starting the night off with “Cut the Cable”,  the jam lifting the crowd off, letting everyone in the venue and watching at home—thanks to the nugs.net stream with Keith Griner and his Phierce Productions at the helm—know that the band was more than ready.  As soon as UM embarked on this first jam, fans knew it was going to be a special night.

Moving along to “1348” which would remain unfinished until the end of the evening, instead revealing the first of the Raw Stew songs from this year’s UMBowl IX to see another play, “Out of Focus” (Dive into more about this year’s two-day event on Dropped Among This Crowd Podcast). Rounding out the meaty, jam-filled five-song first set was “Intentions Clear” and a massive “JaJunk”, a big highlight for fans across the board.

Set two would reveal itself as a stuffed-to-the-brim “Mantis” sandwich, venturing off on many detours before coming to completion at the end of the set. First stop, “Small Strides” from the band’s new album Asking for a Friend, which the band members have shown over the 12 times it has been played so far just how much they enjoy performing this song live and allowing it to stretch its legs in fun and expansive ways.

The set marched on with “The Linear”, “Puppet String”, “Wappy Sprayberry”,  “Women, Wine & Song”, and the guaranteed dance party “Den”, which some fans thought was heading in the direction of “Orfeo”, before driving back home into the end of “Mantis”.  As always, a big MVP from the weekend, Lighting Director Ben Factor—who fantastically illuminated the six chandeliers hanging from the ceiling over the dance floor in the Roxy over both nights.

Wrapping up the first night in Hotlanta, Bayliss told the crowd they were going to play a brand-new song before heading into “Slacker”, a UM regular that the band has played over 400 times. Bayliss sarcasm at its finest before bringing back “1348” from earlier in the show to call it a night.

The final Umphrey’s McGee show of 2022 would start off with an absolutely ridiculous and straight-fire “Dump City”, showing the crowd that they better buckle up and get ready for what the rest of the night had in store. Another five-song first set would continue with a“40’s Theme” featuring Floyd-esque vibes as it began to wander, with Bayliss ripping a massive solo inside the jam.

A huge “Utopian Fir” would embark on multiple side quests along its journey beginning with a pit stop in a “Sad but True” by Metallica tease, and a nice jaunty jam before finding itself back into “Utopian”. Bringing the first set of the night to a close were two songs from Asking for a Friend and the first appearance of special guests, Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret. The quartet consisting of Michael “Mad Dog” Mavridoglou on trumpet, Jeff Coffin and Josh Kline on saxophone, and Spencer Merk on trombone gave “It’s Not Your Fault” and “Hiccup” some added flavor with the horns, marking these song’s first live performances with added brass flair. Multiple songs from the album would see this treatment throughout the night.

Set two ripped open with a massive “Hurt Bird Bath”. The first time drummer Kris Myers played this live was exactly 20 years ago, 12/31/ 02 at The Vic Theatre in Chicago, at original drummer Mike Mirro’s last show. You can take a deep dive into the history of “Hurt Bird Bath” on the Umphreys “WOW” Show, a part of the DATC Media family. “The Floor” followed with a completely impromptu end chunk of “All in Time” nestled inside, causing everyone to be absolutely shocked by the direction this jam went.

Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret would return for “Half Delayed”, staying out for a debut cover, the first of three the band would reveal over the course of the evening, “B” Movie Boxcar Blues” by The Blues Brothers, found on their 1978 live album, Briefcase Full of Blues. The four-piece would take a rest during the proceeding “Wizard Burial Ground”, returning for the remainder of the set with “Uncommon” and “Red Tape”.

Beautifully winding down 2022 was a set three opening “Glory”, setting the stage to ring in the new year as horns once again joined the band for “Partyin’ Peeps”. Taking us out of 2022 and into “Auld Lang Syne”, the traditional ball-drop song ventured into a mystical “Escape Goat” as the first song of 2023. This new track co-written with a fan during the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly become a favorite and was a fantastic choice to bring in the new year.

“Attachments”, “Day Nurse”, and “Fenced In” would round out the third set. Only played five times, this would be the first time “Fenced In” would have horns added to the mix as well as the first time the band allowed it to stretch with slight expansion beyond the proper tune. Fans are very excited about what 2023 holds for all the songs on Asking for a Friend, including the two songs that have yet to be played as a full band live (“How About Now?” and “Work Sauce”). The final set of the run ended with another cover debut, “Baby Come Back” by Player, a guaranteed earworm for everyone following the show.

“In the Kitchen” would embark on a dark and sinister jam that transported us into the final debut cover, “Africano” by Earth, Wind & Fire from their landmark 1975 album, That’s the Way of the World, a perfect finisher for an incredible weekend of rawk. As Umphrey’s McGee prepares to embark on its 25th-anniversary tour in a few weeks, these two nights in Atlanta showed that the band is only getting better with age. 2023 is going to be a hell of a year: hope the fans are ready!

A full in-depth recap of the weekend will be on episode 215 of Dropped Among This Crowd Podcast coming January 10th. Stream the Umphrey’s McGee concerts from December 30th and 31st on nugs through January 8th.

Umphrey’s McGee – “Cut The Cable” – 12/30/22

[Video: aershko]

Umphrey’s McGee, Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret – “B” Movie Box Car Blues” (The Blues Brothers) – 12/31/22

[Video: Tim G]

Umphrey’s McGee – “Glory” – 12/31/22

[Video: Tim G]

Umphrey’s McGee – “Partyin’ Peeps” > “Auld Lang Syne” (Robert Burns) [Pro-Shot] – 12/31/22

Umphrey’s McGee – “Fenced In” [Pro-Shot] – 12/31/22

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Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee | Coca-Coal Roxy | Atlanta, GA | 12/30/22

Set One: Cut the Cable, 1348 > Out of Focus, Intentions Clear > JaJunk

Set Two: Mantis > Small Strides, The Linear > Puppet String, Wappy Sprayberry > Women, Wine & Song > Den > Mantis

Encore: Slacker > 1348

Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee | Coca-Coal Roxy | Atlanta, GA | 12/31/22

Set One: Dump City, 40’s Theme, Utopian Fir[1] > It’s Not Your Fault[2], Hiccup[2]

Set Two: Hurt Bird Bath, The Floor, Half Delayed[2], B” Movie Box Car Blues[3], Wizard Burial Ground, Uncommon[2], Red Tape[2]

Set Three: Glory, Partyin’ Peeps> Auld Lang Syne[2] > Escape Goat[2], Attachments > Day Nurse, Fenced In[2], Baby Come Back[4]

Encore: In The Kitchen > Africano[5]

[1] with Sad but True (Metallica) quote
[2] with Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns
[3] debut, The Blues Brothers; with Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns
[4] debut, Player; with Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns
[5] debut, Earth, Wind & Fire; with Mad Dog and his Filthy Little Secret horns