Photography by Steven Philips (StSteven.com), Story by Josh Philips (on Twitter: @hunydutchclutch)
After a Thursday night weekend opener in Boston, and a pit stop at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Umphrey’s McGee and Lettuce brought their talents to the beautiful River Stage at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. The two bands performed to a packed crowd gathered in the bowl shaped venue. In the background, the mighty Delaware river strewn with passing boats hosting bikini clad women set the scene for what was surely to be a feel good event. The bands did not disappoint.
Lettuce clearly fed off the energy of the crowd and brought an action packed set. Compared to the previous night, the band played more up tempo. Philly came out early to see some funk, making the opener, Lettuce, feel right at home.
When it was time for the main act, all expectations had to be exceeded. Coming off of a Friday night set full of heavy jams, Umphrey’s changed up style without changing the energy level Saturday. Leading out with “Bridgeless,” the band showed off its technical prowess and exploratory nature for nearly 20 minutes. Next came the reggae-esque tune “Higgins,” solidifying the feeling that it was going to be a fun night. Other highlights included “Red Tape” with the guitar solo from “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’” and “2X2,” which is a testament to the bands soulful songwriting ability. For a special treat, Eric Krasno, Lettuce’s lead guitar player sat in for “Bad Friday,” and then they busted out a collaborative version of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” during which guitarists Jake Cinninger (Umphrey’s) and Shmeans (Adam Smirnoff of Lettuce) took turns showering listeners with awe inspiring guitar solo’s all while the Lettuce Shady Horns (Ryan Zoidis on Saxophone and Eric “Benny” Bloom on Trumpet) and the other members of Umphrey’s laid it down. I cannot think of any other superlatives to describe the night, so just take my word for it and give the whole show a listen (available on the UmLive app).
Overall, the only other thing one could have asked for was more time. When 9:45 rolled around, it felt like we could have started all over and nobody would have been disappointed. But then again I can’t think of many shows that didn’t leave me wanting more.