Umphrey’s McGee at College St. Music Hall- New Haven, CT

Warning: the following contains spoilers for the 1986 movie Iron Eagle.


If your father’s plane was shot down over enemy territory and the only thing keeping your teenage self from retrieving him was stealing $60 million worth of government aviation and a montage set to Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take, you’d rescue him, right? That’s certainly what our hero Doug Masters does. He even has help from Chappy the family friend and occasional voice of reason/experience. Even with Chappy’s addition to the team, the missing man is still pervasive. Rescuing Col. Ted Masters comes at a cost which results in a father/son reunion overshadowed by the “missing man” flight pattern on the way home. This, of course, brings us to Umphrey’s Mcgee at the College Street Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut.
A terrible case of the flu has “shot down” guitarist Jake Cinninger and even with the addition of saxophonist Joshua Redman, we still feel incomplete.


The circuitous route to New Haven involved two trains to “lon gisland” and a 90 minute drive north. It was worth jumping through hoops to be with friends who really know the band, want to drive, and owe me $20. Hair tie was just that friend. As a bonus, he recruited Ignatius Riley and DJ (still all fake names) to come with.
Ignatius is a huge umph fan and was overjoyed to see his favorite band. So much so, we let him listen to them on the way up. He drove both ways too so that deserves some love. Conversation quickly turned to the missing man. Would he be replaced? Could someone even do that well? Would sax man Redman play guitar? Questions I couldn’t answer until they took the stage. Queue Twisted Sister.


We fly off course after Missing a highway exit; Judgement Night? No, we manage to survive the wilds of eastern Connecticut and outskirts of Yale University. Returning to town, we park and get our first glance of the College Street Music Hall. The venue is less than a year old and is gorgeous.   One section of exposed original ceiling hints at east Asian themes, the rest of the venue was modern, dark and easy to navigate. As clean as the place is, I long for the dingy, lived-in venues like Wetlands, CBGBs, Coney Island High that are all closed now. They’re like your favorite shoes or your spot on the couch. We’re going to have to break this place in.


Umphrey’s helped make that happen. They flew in missing man formation for the first few songs. Jake’s place on stage was filled by Joshua Redman and his sax after the first few songs. I’m not well versed in umph and was curious if the crew felt this temporary lineup was a noticeable departure. We’re there songs they couldn’t play at all? Ignatius Riley was too busy dancing to ask. Based on his gesticulations I suspected all was well in umphville. I managed to get his thoughts though. 


Here’s the full setlist:
Set One
 1. Nipple Trix >
 2. Slacker
 3. Wellwishers >
 4. Sociable Jimmy >
 5. Sweetness >
 6. Mad Love
 7. Speak Up* >
 8. Booth Love*
Set Two
 1. Der Bluten Kat* >
 2. Final Word* >
 3. Der Bluten Kat*
 4. Day Nurse* >
 5. Wife Soup*
 6. Dear Lord*
 7. Breathe (Dub Version)
 1. Jessica (just Joel)
 2. Uncommon >
 3. Down Under

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