After an incredibly successful year of sold out shows and prime festival slots, Umphrey’s McGee bass player Ryan Stasik is delighted to tell his mother he’s coaching a summer school. He proudly announced this to the one hundred or so “students” attending Umphrey’s “sUMmer School” last night upon arrival. The “school,” which runs for five days at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, New York, allows fans an incredibly intimate and in-depth look at all aspects of the band, whether it be the playing or the business behind it all.
Fans of mixed ages convened at the resort this Monday afternoon and were quickly star-struck to see the members of Umphrey’s McGee roaming the gorgeous grounds. After students got a chance to chat and snap photos, a formal Q&A was held. The band happily answered questions about life on the road, improvising, and even how to cope with playing a flat show every once in a while.
Following the Q&A, all were eager to hear the sextet behind instruments—and the wait was not long. Umphrey’s took the stage for a soundcheck that consisted of “1348” and an older fan favorite, “2nd Self.” Though the music was taking place in a wedding tent, the room was lit by Jefferson Waful and sounded just like any typical music hall. The show itself was one set, which ran for an hour and a half and proved to be incredibly heavy on improvisation. After a jam on “Visions” segued into an 11-minute take on “Conduit,” keyboardist Joel Cummins explained that drummer Kris Myers made the transition into “Conduit” after deciding that the jam had flopped. The band then proceeded to play “Utopian Fir” for a fan that had wanted to hear the tune since 2003. Spirits were high as the band left the stage, with many students still in disbelief at the up-close experience of the “school.”
Late-night open jams were hosted in three main barns until 1AM, as band members walking around checking out the festivities. While relaxed Umphrey’s covers and intricate jams echoed through the resort’s grounds, it became evident that Umphrey’s have succeeded in creating a unique environment for fans and musicians alike.
Here’s a look at the setlist from last night.
Soundcheck: 1348, 2nd Self
One Set: Room To Breathe, Example 1, Visions -> J.O. -> Conduit, Utopian Fir, End of the Road -> August, Slacker
Download the performance now via UMLive.