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We were all really pumped to have an outdoor show with Umphrey’s McGee and The Werks Thursday night, but plans
were changed when the radar predicted major rain midway through the Umphrey’s show. The rain might have never
came. I was a initially bummed when I stepped inside that giant hot box, but that didn’t last long. I’m not sure why they
didn’t open the garage door... which reminds me of a great moment in music history. Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh had a
retractable roof that was opened very rarely. Anyways, years ago (late '70s) during a Crosby Stills Nash & Young show
the arena filled with smoke and heat from the attendees. Ventilation wasn’t really that great in that building so
organizers decided to open the hatch mid show. The roof retracted and a cloud of smoke and steam lifted like a cloud
out of the arena into the Pittsburgh skyline, all at once relieving the concert goers. Whenever I see the potential for that
kind of relief, I always hope they open the door.
Umphrey's McGee with The Werks
Express Live : Columbus, Ohio : September 8, 2016
Review & Photos By ZANE A. MILLER
The Werks have settled in with Umphrey’s whenever they are in the region and tend to travel around with them as the
supporting act. I have always enjoyed this aspect of the scene as Umphrey’s McGee generally tend to bring a local or
regional act to the stage with them on tour. I showed up a few minutes late to the set, but The Werks were already
rolling at full speed and crushing their way through the progressive rock and electronic sounds that make The Werks
who they are. It was also good to see that The Werks have stayed true to their sound over the head of the personnel
changes that have followed the passing of former pianist Norman Dimitrouleas. While Dan Shaw has been in the
lineup for a few years on keys, Jake “Baby Hands” Goldberg of SassafraZ has been holding the place of bass while
Dino Dimitrouleas takes a hiatus, which he started in January. At the peak of the set, Jake Cinninger of Umphrey’s
joined the stage for a blistering version of “Onslaught.” This song might have been made for two guitar sages as Chris
and Jake tossed blistering riffs back and forth climaxing with the two, delivering a huge shred sandwich. Following this
night’s show, the pair of bands would find there way to Pittsburgh for the following evening.
Sweat isn’t all that bad in the end when you have a great reason to make it. Just one week before, Umphrey’s
slammed through a rager of a set at LOCKN' Festival in Arrington, Virginia. We all sweated that one out too. There
were a lot of LOCKN shirts in the crowd and it was nice to see the desire to get another helping of UM one week later
in Columbus. This was a night for a lady in a 1989 Poison shirt, rockin' the rail with the band and catching some stage
papers. The first set opened with "Jekyll & Hyde" which started out as a piano instrumental and transitions into rock
power, a nice jolt to get the crowd going. “Speak Up,” a new song from 2015, was a notably funky version that conjure
thoughts of the band Lettuce. It has a really crunchy bassline and guitar riff and is lathered with Umphrey’s sound.  
Umphrey’s shows aren’t filled with much time to rest; they always throttle their audience with rampages of rock and
dance that move along like white water. Sometimes even the upbeat and dancy “No Diablo” serves as a shift of relief,
but those moments don’t last long in the sprint. The second half of the first set journeyed through “Nothing too Fancy,”
“Cemetery Walk,” "Water," and then back to “Nothing too Fancy” which climaxed powerfully to end the set.
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Umphrey’s chose to open the second set with there new track called “Roctopus,” derived from this year's Raw
Stewage quarter at UMBowl where fans live vote on the direction the band takes. This is an amazing example of the
creative power that exists between the band and their fans. Like I stated earlier, this was second set from the
perspective of the front rail; I was immediately sensitive to the connection Umphrey’s had with the audience.  
My girlfriend in the Poison shirt rocked the hell out of the night stage left, and the band noticed. From the other end of
the stage Jake Cinninger threw up some peace signs to the crowd and girlfriend threw them back only to have Jake
throw them right back at her. These moments just kept happening. Midway through the set, Brandon Bayliss stated,
“This next song goes out the lady in the front with the Poison shirt. It’s times like these when I ask what would Bret
do?” referring the lead singer Bret Michaels. “Prowler” was the next song. How awesome is that? Next show we are
going to try out her W.A.S.P. shirt and see what happens.  

The set raged on. As the band played though their set, they started to toss their balled up show notes and setlist into
the audience. Bayliss tried to toss one to Carmen, but it was snatched out of the air by the guy next to her with the
slightly longer reach. Umphrey’s also made a point to involve children of all ages as “No Diablo” from the first set was
dedicated to a 3 or 4-year-old who road the rail with her parents. It was very touching to see this sort of adorable
interaction. The set concluded with “Much Obliged” into “No Comment” into “Cemetery Walk II,” which brought the
show full circle with the first set.
The band encored with a rarely played beautiful version of “The Weight Around” followed by “Bad Friday” which
transitioned into the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” After the show ended, more papers were tossed in our
direction. I caught one and another was batted into the pit followed by my girlfriend diving over the rail after it.  
We found ourselves with a set list and the chord schematics to a “Jimmy Stewart” titled “Jakes Shoes.” They are
fascinating documents that provide insights into how Umphrey’s operates. Umphrey’s McGee shows are clearly for
the fans and by the fans.