Umphrey’s McGee was back at the Beacon Theatre in New York City for their second performance in as many nights at the Manhattan theater on Saturday. The rock band’s ongoing New York City run charged into the snowy night with more tributes to late Rush drummer Neil Peart, along with some special guests who helped tear through a jazz classic.
Related: Umphrey’s McGee Pays Tribute To Neil Peart At Beacon Theatre Night One [Photos/Video]
Umphrey’s took the stage at the top of the nine o’clock hour to kick off Saturday’s show with the softer opening guitar lines of “End of the Road” from Jake Cinninger as the Americana-leaning instrumental eased the audience into a warm and dreamy start to night two at the Beacon. The music moved into another song rich in warm melodies with “1348” which featured some wonderful guitar play between Cinninger and Brendan Bayliss. The performance also featured some stellar lighting arrangements from the band’s new Lighting Director Ben Factor, who received another shoutout from the stage for the second night in a row.
The music kept flowing strong without stopping as “Crucial Taunt” came next, which treated fans in attendance to some very impressive drum fills from Kris Myers. The band then took the audience through a funky but dark rendition of “Syncopated Strangers” which included another sonically expansive jam to match some impressive virtuosic guitar work from Cinninger. The music swelled into “Nothing Too Fancy” as Umphrey’s continued the loose theme of the first set going with the dreamy and futuristic instrumental. The song’s energy quickly picked up steam and turned the packed theater into a dance party worthy of Saturday night in New York City. The jam was long and took fans on a ride with high-intensity solos with softer-yet-firmly progressive explorations woven in. The extended jam also gave drummers Myers and Andy Farag a chance to showcase their own chemistry.
The band returned to normal song structure with “Seasons” before closing the set with an exploratory and lovely take on Miles Davis‘ “It’s About That Time” which featured jazz-inspired sit-ins from Mike Stern and Leni Stern.
Watch the first set sit-in from Mike and Leni Stern on the Miles Davis song from Saturday below.
Umphrey’s McGee with Mike Stern & Leni Stern – “It’s About That Time” – 1/18/20
[Video: The Savage Shiba]
Umphrey’s wasted no time in bringing the audience back up to speed to start the second half of the show as the band continued their tributes to Neil Peart with an energizing Kris Myers-led cover of “Limelight”, which included an excellent guitar solo from Cinninger on the Rush classic. The entire audience could be heard singing along to the lyrics, “All the world’s indeed a stage/And we are merely players/Performers and portrayers.”
Watch the second set-opening cover of “Limelight” from Saturday below.
THAT is how you start a fucking set – Kris Myers leading a cover of “Limelight” in tribute to #NeilPeart 🥁⚡️ #umNYC #umphreys pic.twitter.com/RK8ViFOEg5
— Tom Kaiyote-Shackleford (@PranksterPhotos) January 19, 2020
The second set rocked on with a lengthy jam on “Der Bluten Kat” which had some fun solo play between bassist Ryan Stasik and Myers. A rainbow color scheme of light filled the theater as the band moved into “Higgins” before returning to the high energy of “Der Bluten Kat” to close the two-song, three-part segue. A groovy “Booth Love” came next, which saw Cinninger ditch his guitar to join Joel Cummins on keys while Bayliss spent some time having fun with the phones of fans in the front row.
Fan Favorite “All In Time” brought the second set to a close, but not before treating fans to a brief solo from Myers which quickly evolved into a rhythmic duet between himself and Farag. The band even hinted at more Rush with a “The Spirit of Radio” tease before the band brought the song and set to a close. The show came to an official end with an encore performance of “Last Train Home” which moved into the completion of “1348” to send fans home happy.
Check out the video below to see some of that impressive lighting work from Saturday’s show below.
.@umphreysmcgee’s new Lighting Director Ben Factor straight up has @BeaconTheatre under his control tonight. 🚨🤘#umphreys #umNYC pic.twitter.com/kSnFZzZdcp
— Live For Live Music (@L4LM) January 19, 2020
Umphrey’s New York City run comes to a close with a sold-out underplay at Brooklyn Bowl on Sunday.
Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee | Beacon Theatre | New York, NY | 1/18/20
Set One: End of the Road > 1348 > Crucial Taunt, Syncopated Strangers > Nothing Too Fancy*, Seasons, It’s About That Time^ (Miles Davis cover)
Set Two: Limelight$ (Rush cover), Der Bluten Kat > Higgins > Der Bluten Kat, Booth Love!, All In Time%
Encore: Last Train Home > 1348
* “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” by Van Halen tease from Jake
^ w/ Mike Stern and Leni Stern on guitars
$ Live debut, Dedicated to Neil Peart
! with Jake on keys
% “The Spirit of Radio” by Rush jam