Umphrey's McGee - Live From the Lake Coast

Up until a few weeks ago, I was not very familiar with Umphrey’s McGee. I knew they were an “up-and-coming” band who occasionally showcased twinges of rock, jazz improvisation, heavy metal, and rap (all of this without actually hearing a single one of their songs). After viewing their first live DVD release, “Live From the Lake Coast,” I realized that Umphrey’s McGee is the real deal. They are a powerful, poignant, and idiosyncratic group of musicians who aren’t afraid to groove.

The DVD features two full sets of Umphrey’s McGee, filmed July 26-27, 2002 at the Skyline Stage in Chicago, IL. For listening enjoyment, the DVD offers several different audio mixes, including Standard 2.0 Stereo, Stereo Binaural Mix, Dolby 5.1, and DTS. And if the stellar music wasn’t enough, the disc also features a photo gallery, extensive band bio’s, backstage footage, and several quirky skits showing a lighter side of the band.

From the opening notes of “All in Time,” it became very clear that Umphrey’s McGee has the rare ability to channel the virtuoso musicianship of each band member and the musical synchronicity they share into a cohesive wall of sound. The guitar interplay throughout the disc is impressive and the solid percussion adds to the flavor. In fact, Mike Mirro, the group’s original drummer, left the band shortly after “Live From the Lake Coast” was filmed to pursue other interests (since replaced by Kris Myers). I must admit that I initially had some difficulty telling when each song ended and the next began, but that spontaneity is truly part of what makes Umphrey’s McGee who they are.

“Live From the Lake Coast” is a stellar release, capturing the essence of the Umphrey’s McGee live experience: tight, spontaneous jams, stellar light show, and a sense of humor. Emty Bag Productions did a great job on this disc, their inaugural production effort. The disc is a must have for diehard fans and newer fans, like me, for it’s a great all-around depiction of Umphrey’s McGee

- By Peter Kolesari