Most Helpful First | Newest First
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100%,
This review is from: Live at the Murat (Audio CD)Hard to believe I'm the first to say that this is one of the finest live albums I've ever heard. 'Live at Leeds' comes to mind. The common ground between Umphrey's and the Who may be that both are (were) at their peak and are following a classic studio recording (in UM's case 'Safety in Numbers') with a BRILLIANT concert. Umphrey's McGee has honed their reputations on live improv, group improv, and they improvise on the level of the great jazz cats. Rare for rock. I've seen 'em 6 - 8 mind-numbing times, but this one may have surpassed all that I've seen. Obviously ('specially since most every show is downloadable) they couldn't NOT release this one. 5 *****
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro to Umphreys, but barely scratches the surface on,
This review is from: Live at the Murat (Audio CD)Quick artsy summary of Umphreys if you're new to them. Umphreys Mcgee are to music like David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest is to books. They're maximalist and progressive in how their large oeuvre layers time signatures, musical styles, key changes, references (and covers) of other songs, bands, or popular culture. On first listen some folks may dismiss their assault of "fast as possible" solos and song exploration as pointless 80s hair-rock-noodling, yet many would argue their approach to music is very contemporary, modern, and intelligent all while catchy and fun. That being said, there's going to be two schools of thought on this one.
For folks yet to hear what this improvisational behemoth actually does in it's marathon song explorations, it's an overwhelming intro, just as Infinite Jest would explode the brain of a casual reader. Umphreys is a live band for this reason, as their music is best measured by multiple concerts, and one live album barely scratches the surface of their catalog of hundreds of original songs. I'd actually send neophites to the stellar DVDs (Live at Lake Coast shows a growing band on the warpath, Wrapped Around Chicago shows a more polished and theatrical performance). Hearing these live concerts is still 5% of their live stimuli overload, and this is quite an atypical show to start with. Visually, you can see the band using their self-developed set of hand gestures to signal musical changes in the middle of a song, or how they use the light show and soundboard as band members. It's like hearing the soundtrack to Cirque Du Soleil without seeing the acrobats, maybe musically great, but missing the bigger picture.
For Umphreys fanatics who have already fallen for them, this is a fun but quirky live release. It's misleading to call this their "first live album", as the band makes every one of their concert recordings available for paid download online in quite good quality (and have hundreds of recordings free on [...]). What sets this apart is that the sound quality rises even further above the umlive releases, they handpicked some uncommon songs (or alternate arrangements), and they chose to release highlights from 2 concerts instead of one night. The boosted sound quality gives alot of depth to the stellar rhythm section (who are on fire on "Electric Improvisation", "Angular Momentum", and...well Meyers just is ALWAYS on fire!). The In the Kitchen stretch is a fun exploration of a normally simple catchy song. There's ALOT of crowd participation that is unique to these shows, including funny moments. I generally find the 2nd disc as the better of the two worth more repeated listens.
Overall, five stars for the stellar live album, but unlike the review by Hudson Valley Slim, I think Umphreys still has yet to release their definitive Live album like the Who's Live At Leeds [Deluxe Edition] (7 star), either to be released down the road or to be found in the umlive releases. In the meantime, get the dvds and see as many concerts as possible, and pick up cds like this as an artifact and milestone of their brilliant output.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get it Live!!!,
This review is from: Live at the Murat (Audio CD)If you're going to get one album, get this live one!
Crowd pleasers In the Kitchen, Higgins, Nothing to Fancy, Hajimemashite, and 40's Theme are all stellar. Also the few improv numbers are pleasantly flowing on this album. Improv is expected at any live concert, however my favorite moments are the extremely technical guitar pieces like Nothing too Fancy and Angular Momentum.
The reason I pick this album is because UM live is where the magic happens, and this recording is perfect at capturing the energy of the audience feeding the band to elevate their performance to incredible peaks. The sound quality is crisp, all instruments perfectly balanced, and most importantly all the bands members are singing and playing quite well.
They are an exceptional band live, but by no means am I saying that their studio albums are no good. Local Band Does Ok and Anchor Drops are solid studio efforts. I highly recommend these three albums but get the live one first.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Whole Is Better Than The Sum Of Its Parts - And Then Some!,
This review is from: Live at the Murat (Audio CD)Great live disc from a great band. Don't miss this one. The musicianship is outstanding. These guys can play! Umphrey's is finally beginning to get the recognition they deserve - check out the review of their new disc "Mantis" in Entertainment Weekly. Consumate musical alchemists.
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 5 album,
This review is from: Live at the Murat (Audio CD)This album quickly became one of my top five albums. It hasn't left my iPhone since I bought it. Great album.
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!,
This review is from: Live at the Murat (Audio CD)I am always looking for new music. I know that Umphrey's McGee has been around for awhile but I heard these guys on XM and The Triple Wide on disc 2 is simply a head nodder, foot tapper type of song. Buy it!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Great But Not Their Best,
This review is from: Live at the Murat (Audio CD)This is a great live album for a very talented band. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I don't think it's the best representative sample of their live act. It doesn't have any of their uniquely-interpreted covers and misses out on some of their funkier songs. You can download a fan-taped recording of any show in the past 5 years at archive.org, or purchase a board mix at umlive.net (well worth the upgrade in sound quality for well-loved shows). This stiff competition from other avenues makes it harder to justify paying for this particular show over others. For example, I downloaded their 1/20/13 fifteenth anniversary show and then ended up buying the board mix because I loved it so much and wanted a better quality recording; that was definitely a better show than this album.
That said, this is still a great live intro to UM. The recording quality is top notch, the songs are fun and diverse, and the musicianship is incredible as always with these guys.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what a live album should sound like,
This review is from: Live at the Murat (Audio CD)UM is a great band but live they are at there best the improvs and energy come through clearly
This band sadly will not be on the radio so this might be the only way to here these guys
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best bands out there!,
This review is from: Live at the Murat (Audio CD)They are easily one of the most innovative, hardest working bands in the whole music scene. I can't think of any other bands that could match their ability of playing all the different styles of music that they incorporate in their live shows, and recordings, everything from funk, blues, classic, to heavy prog-rock. The best thing about Umphrey's is that they haven't even come close to reaching their peak yet. They have plenty of time to evolve their already amazing shows and albums.
Most Helpful First | Newest First