Worth a thousand words: Umphrey’s does the impossible with UMBowl III

Through hard work, grit and hundreds of thousands of miles on the road, not to mention unrelenting talent from every corner, UM have grown exponentially in regards all aspects of what they do — from ticket sales and fan base to publicists & production value in each and every aspect of their live show. In so doing, they have somehow managed to not lose touch with one of the things that brought them to their place of present stature… their engagement with fans. (or UMphreaks)

If there are two things that almost never go together in the music world, they are success and fan intimacy. That is unless one is referring to the Chicagoan sextet that is chock full of rock star tinges in sound and stage presence, but completely genuine in regard to their decision to factor  fan perception and integration into seemingly every decision that they make. It is this that has placed them into a category that one would be hard pressed to find a competitor. In other words, by managing to pull off simultaneous exponential growth and maintenance of a friendly fan experience, Umphrey’s McGee has seemingly accomplished the impossible.


On a late April night, Umphrey’s gave the perfect example of this when the progressive improvisational rock star sextet hosted their third annual UMBowl. The concept is as unique as the name: divide a show up into four quarters (or sets) that promote fan participation throughout the entire affair.



From UMlive.com…


Quarter 1: Comprised of attendees’ votes

Setlist: Flamethrower, Night Nurse, Voyager, Front Porch, Comma Later, Help On The Way / Slipknot!, 46 & 2


Quarter 2: A Stew Art Event, this one of kind Umphrey’s innovation, returns to the UMBowl yet again for the 2nd quarter. The band will play a full set of improvisation based exclusively on themes, ideas, scenes, and concepts presented by fans.

Setlist: Afternoon Nurse,  Funk Our Face Off, Middle Eastern Metal, Drum N Bass, Soaring Uplifting Jam Part 2, Afternoon Bus Ride in Jamaica, Increasing Tempo Jam, Yacht Rock Jam, Hip Hop Tribute, Take Us to the Disco Tech


Quarter 3: Third quarter was in “choose your own adventure” style, with attendees voting for the next “adventure” live.

Setlist: All In Time, Glory, The Linear, August, Bridgeless, Mantis, Making Flippy Floppy, Nothing Too Fancy


Quarter 4: Fourth quarter was Raw Stewage, comprised of attendees’ votes for past “Jimmy Stewarts”

Setlist: Liberty, Echo, White Pickle, Den, Theresa, 9:30, REW, Lift & Separate, Dream Team, In The Kitchen

Encore: Divisions


Download the official soundboard recording of this show HERE.


 Click the photo above to purchase a print


Sounds simple, right? Say that if you were the man behind the guitar, congos, drums, bass or even better, the mic.

Fortunately for those of us who were up to something much more awesome than witnessing some of the rawest and purest improvisation conceivable (keep kidding yourself), Chad Smith, the man behind the cover of of UM’s latest album and Honest Tune Senior Contributor, was on the scene at Park West to bring back images that even he admits don’t provide adequate representation to the majesty that unfolded on that night in Chi-Town. That is quite the mouthful when considering just how amazing these images are.


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from UMBowl III by Chad Smith