Last Saturday night I had the tremendous pleasure of getting to see two of my favorite bands go back to back in one of the most awesome and beautiful amphitheaters in the southeast US, the Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre in Alpharetta, GA. STS9 and Umphrey’s McGee are currently on tour together, alternating opening and closing spots depending on what town they land in. As you might know, ATL is the hometown of the Jamtronica Jedi’s known as Sound Tribe Sector 9, or STS9. This ensured that they would close out the show with a bang, giving their Atlanta friends, family, and fans a 2+ hour set that they would rave about for weeks to come.
After a large lunch and some delicious Sweetwater brews, we packed into my car and headed straight up to the Amphitheatre to get this epic night started. Thankfully, one of the passengers in my car had a parking pass for Lot A, because that’s where the party’s at! Before heading into the venue we walked around the lot, exploring the many vendors set up and getting into the mood for what was about to come. Frisbees, Pins, Dogs, Bags of Wine, Hula Hoops… you name it, it was there. For one of my first “Lot” experiences, it did not fall short of my high expectations.
Not wanting to miss any of the show, I headed into the venue around 7 to get a good spot in the photo pit for Umphrey’s. They took the stage at 7:30 sharp and announced to the crowd they would be starting their set off with a “love song.” The crowd roared and Umph exploded into Miss Tinkle’s Overture, which is the complete opposite of any love song I’ve ever heard, but it made me laugh none the less.
As the sun was setting, the energy in the ampitheatre continued to grow throughout Umphrey’s powerful set. The highlight of their set for me was the Bob Marley/ Talking Heads mash-up that they have only played 6 times previously, the last time on 4/20/13. Starting off with “Exodus,” then jumping into “Life During Wartime,” it was a phenomenal showcase of their musicianship and creativity. Check-out a fan video of the mash-up here! Umphrey’s never cease to impress me, and my appreciation for that band grew even more that night.
Umphrey’s McGee Setlist- 8/24: Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Puppet String > No Comment > Ocean Billy, Andy’s Last Beer, All In Time, Utopian Fir > Life During Exodus, Women Wine and Song > The Linear > Puppet String
There was about a 30-minute set break for fans to relax, grab a beer, and get ready for round 2 with STS9. Around 10 pm, they hit the stage full throttle! Their high energy set was nothing short of amazing which satisfied the fans from the front rail to the back of the lawn.
At previous tour stops, the bands would collaborate and play a well-known cover song. I waited in anticipation for members of Umphrey’s to join STS9 and lead an epic sing-along, and I wondered what song I would soon be singing. Halfway through their set, David Murphy invited out Brendan Bayliss, Jake Cinninger, Ryan Stasik from Umphs to play a Blondie cover of epic proportions. Bayliss sang the high pitched hit “Heart of Glass,” and you could tell the rest of the band members on stage were really thrilled to debut this classic late ’70s disco jam. It was very lighthearted and it was extremely fun to watch all of the musicians on stage enjoying themselves.
STS9 continued to please the crowd with “Inspire Strikes Back” and “Breathe In,” to name a few. After they funked it up with “Rent” they left the stage, only to come back and provide us with a great encore to round out the night. They played “This, Us” and then sent the crowd home with “Golden Gate,” which I think was a great move and a great ending to the evening. STS9 said goodbye to Atlanta once again, and the house lights came on.
STS9 Setlist- 8/24:
Kabuki, Monkey Music, Simulator, Grow, Vibyl, Blu Mood, Bigs, Heart of Glass*, 20-12, Inspire Strikes Back, March, Breathe In, Vapors^ > Rent Enc: This, Us, Golden Gate Notes: (*) with Brendan Bayliss, Jake Cinninger, Ryan Stasik (^) with Kenny Barto of The J.U.S.T.I.C.E League
For a full photo album, click HERE! We hope that they continue this tradition for years to come. STS9 and Umphrey’s really compliment each other and present a jam packed night full of musical magic!
They are still on tour, and you can catch them at the following dates below. It’s a show you don’t want to miss! DubEra guaranteed!