Umphrey’s McGee announced early this year that they’d be returning to Morrison for their ninth annual three-night stint at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre this July. While the show is always known to have attendees getting down regardless of their supporting acts, the band leaked in late February that they’d be adding Lotus to their lineup for the first night of their three day Fourth of July weekend party.
Both of these bands could sell out a Red Rocks show EASILY on their own; this year, those of us lucky enough to attend the first night of Umph got to see it all back to back.
Before the show’s early evening start last Thursday, thunderstorms began to pour down, putting a slight fear in us all. But fret not, the storms rolled out as fast as they rolled in, making way for a beaming sun to shine down on the stage just as Lotus was set to take it. The crowd was about as rainbows and butterflies as those being painted in the sky as soon as the band started to jam. Not known for being lyric-centric, Lotus did us all in with their groovy jams right from the start. Crowdgoers were left speechless mere seconds into the set, smiles growing bigger with every song they gave us.
The sun set on the rocks as Lotus jammed to “The Age of Inexperience” to close out their set.
Anticipation crept upon us all as we waited for Umphrey’s to begin, and it continued to wash over us as they had us all at their mercy, opening with “There’s No Crying in Mexico.” To say Umph showed up is an outrageous understatement; they had the audience begging for more right off the bat, whispers of being parched by their performance creeping around the crowd within seconds.
Transitions are made without spoken words, or even signals visible to the common eye. Don’t let this fool you, though. The flawlessness that is the music that unfolds does so with such seamlessness, “like a unpredictable conversation with old friends.” Sheer beauty, let me tell you.
As if their own music wasn’t enough to do us all in, UM brought it with Pink Floyd’s “In the Flesh,” and “Another Brick in the Wall.” I mean…are you kidding me? The band took a short break and came back with a second set even dirtier than the first. Each set that weekend featured different mashups of some of the most legendary artists known to man, including the Beatles and Nine Inch Nails. Pure talent, if you ask me; something few others can remotely compete with.
If just one night of Lotus and Umphrey’s McGee at Red Rocks isn’t enough for you, (because, well, how could just ONE night be enough) check them both out, performing three nights in a row at Holidaze this December on the beaches of Mexico. Yeah, you read that right.
This year marked Umphrey’s ninth year headlining Red Rocks. At this point, we’re less celebrating America and more so UMerica. See you next year to celebrate a decade of Red Rocks Umph.