On Thursday night following 4th of July, Umphrey’s McGee headed to Morrison, Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre for the first of three nights at the iconic venue. With Lotus as support, the two acts laid out two stellar jam-heavy performances, marking a celebratory start to the run.
Lotus took the stage promptly around 6, with their opening set spanning an hour and a half until 7:30. While over the past few years, the band has headlined Red Rocks on their own (much like tonight’s support of Papadosio), Lotus rose to the occasion as support and played to the audience, offering a fiery performance composed of more classic tunes.
The band opened with “Inspector Norse”, a cover of Norwegian DJ Todd Terje that has increasingly appeared in setlists from the band over the past few years and was previously performed at Red Rocks in 2016. The groovy fan-favorite cover was used as a launching pad into “Expired Slang”, an old-school tune which closed out the band’s well-segued opening combo.
From there, Lotus offered up “Neon Tubes”, a worthy redemption of last year’s Red Rocks show when the group encountered some technical difficulties during the number—Luke Miller’s keyboard was malfunctioning and the band bailed on the song after just a few moments. Sans technical difficulties, the electronic-infused song energized the crowd ahead of the set’s climax—a standout non-stop run on “Suitcases” > “Spaghetti” > “Sunrain”.
Opening the jam-heavy segment with Nomad‘s “Suitcases”, the song featured a crisp solo from guitarist Mike Rempel. The group moved into a slinky rendition of “Spaghetti” by way of a bass-heavy, almost trancey transition led by Jesse Miller. With a somewhat grittier jam out of “Spaghetti”—it was clear that Lotus was aware of their position as support for the evening, offering more progressive and heavier jams given the night’s headliner of Umphrey’s McGee—the group eventually landed triumphantly in crowd-favorite “Sunrain”, which featured complex interplay across the band’s members, a galloping jam, and a frenetic peak.
The rhythm section led into “128”, a more propulsive number following the blissful “Sunrain”, rife with synth effects provided by Luke Miller. Cacophonous and intricate, the electro-funk jam built into a strong resolution ahead of a nostalgic and heartfelt rendition of “Behind Midwest Storefronts”, a tune off 2008’s Hammerstrike. After Luke wished the fans that had steadily filled the venue during their set a happy Independence Day weekend, Lotus closed out their set with “Age Of Inexperience”, a rocking and shred-heavy close to the performance.
Setlist: Lotus | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 7/5/2018
Set: Inspector Norse > Expired Slang, Neon Tubes, Suitcases > Spaghetti > Sunrain, 128, Behind Midwest Storefronts, Age Of Inexperience
Following Lotus’ inspired opening set, Umphrey’s McGee took the stage ready to rock the eager audience. By way of “There’s No Crying In Mexico”, the band landed in an elated take on “40’s Theme” featuring a wild solo from guitarist Jake Cinninger. Bayliss took the vocal lead for “Intentions Clear”, which housed a funky, bounding jam before kicking off a non-stop sequence through “North Route”, “Conduit”, and a bust out of “Proverbial”.
With a spacey transition into a solo for Joel Cummins, a darker jam led through relatively new tune “North Route” and reggae-infused “Conduit”. From there, the group busted out “Proverbial”, a song last played during the band’s 2014 New Year’s Eve run at Atlanta’s Tabernacle and marking a gap of 335 shows, before finishing off the “Conduit” sandwich.
Up next, a glitchy transition and slower melodic build led into “Nothing Too Fancy”, an energized but steady rendition that saw a standout solo from the percussion section of Andy Farag and Kris Myers. Eventually, the group made its way into new song “Dark Brush”—the final song on the band’s new album, it’s not us—marking the sixth live performance of the song ever to close out set one.
Returning for set two, Umphrey’s McGee opened with two covers from iconic rock act Pink Floyd. First offering up “In The Flesh?”, the band used the tune as a launching pad into another tune off 1979’s The Wall, “Another Brick In The Wall”. Umphrey’s take on the number mediated between dance-oriented and heavy, ending with an explosive jam that led into “Stinko’s Ascension” to close out the opening segment.
“In The Flesh?” > “Another Brick In The Wall”
During the brief pause between the next number, Bayliss took the mic and addressed the audience, offering an anecdote about being day drunk while flying on 4th of July, later adding that he realized now that he was flying to the party the entire time. From there, the band quickly launched into “Wife Soup”, which featured alternatingly thundering and delicate jams.
This juxtaposition eventually led its way into “Miss Tinkle’s Overture”, with locomotive percussion and psychedelic guitar. After building into this vibrant rendition, the group then moved to close out the set with two relatively rare numbers. The fourth-ever live rendition of “Triangle Tear”, off new album it’s you, came first before the group closed out the show with the ninth-ever rendition of “Rocktopus”, a song first debuted at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas in 2016. With an earlier curfew given the weeknight, Umphrey’s returned for a triumphant encore of “Divisions” to end the night in full.
Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 7/5/2018
Set 1: There’s No Crying In Mexico > 40’s Theme, Intentions Clear > North Route > Conduit > Proverbial > Conduit, Nothing Too Fancy > Dark Brush
Set 2: In the Flesh? > Another Brick in the Wall > Stinko’s Ascension, Wife Soup > Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Triangle Tear > Roctopus
Notes: with The Star-Spangled Banner tease before Wife Soup
Umphrey’s McGee returns to Red Rocks tonight for a performance with Papadosio ahead of Saturday night’s show at the iconic venue with The Record Company. You can check out photos from last night’s show with Lotus below, courtesy of Joshua Huver of Must Have Media.