Umphrey’s McGee’s two-set performance at Central Park SummerStage on Friday evening was about as night-and-day opposite of an experience as the sold out crowd could have imagined. Fresh off their three-night residency at Red Rocks Amphitheatre last weekend, the popular prog-rock jam band were at Rumsey Playfield last night for what turned out to be a mostly warm and sunny start to the weekend for New Yorkers.
As fans began to gradually fill into the picturesque outdoor venue for an early 7 p.m. start time, the band was forced to deal with a few false starts due to Ryan Stasik’s bass having some technical issues. After a few attempts to open the set with “October Rain,” it was smooth sailing from there on out as their opening set included phenomenal guitar work from Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger during “Miss Tinkle’s Overture” and “Dump City.”
There’s always someone seeing this band for the first time, and one thing that an Umphrey’s novice will quickly notice are all the surprising amount of over-ear headphones worn at the their shows. For a band as talented and tight at these guys, many fans utilize their option to listen to the live, wireless audio feed coming from the soundboard into their headphones rather than through the PA system. Take note pop bands!
The second set opened up with the power of “Plunger,” but with darker clouds starting to creep over the top of the city’s tallest skyscrapers during the intermission, it was only a matter of time before the clouds opened up and released some much needed rain onto the sweaty crowd. Thankfully the weather didn’t offer more than just a heavy downpour, which almost seemed like part of the show as the lighting and decibel level coming from the stage added to the theatricality of the night’s wet surprise.
Miss Tinkle’s Overture
Driven to Tears (The Police cover)
The Triple Wide
Rocker Part 2