Posted 2/18/2013 by cal
After 26 Umphrey’s McGee
shows, I feel like I should be much better than I am at recognizing songs by name. At The Orpheum
on Saturday they played plenty of heavy-hitters that I’ve seen live many times--in fact most
of the songs they played I recognized--but the only ones I could name with any certainty were the covers. True, the repertoire is absurdly huge, but I realize it’s at least subconsciously intentional on my part; I only have room in my brain for so much useless information, and the Bands Whose Entire Repertoires I Have Memorized section is pretty full. Once I start an obsession like that, it never really ends; to commit to a Phish-like devotion to learning to recognize a similarly vast array of tunes would be detrimental to my ability to get anything practical done for months. At this point I’m more likely to recognize a UM song I don’t
like than one I do, which is dumb. Also, I rarely listen to UM recordings; the pursuit strikes me as more academic than spiritual, not that I wouldn’t enjoy it but there are much higher priorities. There’s obviously something about Umphrey’s songs that limits how deeply I can connect with them. Which makes it all the more impressive on their part that I keep coming back.