Umphrey’s McGee Stone Pony Summer Stage, Asbury Park NJ June 30 2018 by Edward S Zuckerman

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I managed to see this show last night, but never before has so many annoyances and issues gotten in the way. Starting from purchasing the ticket thru Tickemaster! A few months ago, I see a special offer on these tickets. Billed as “$20 All In” promotion where dozens of shows were available. Be advised that “$20 All In” really meant $45 and change! Bastards! I bought a pair for my friend Dave and I and we were quite excited about going together. The day before the show, Dave bailed out due to a bad back. Going alone was enough to make me not want to go anymore. But with temps predicted to be into the high 90’s, I really, really didn’t want to go anymore!! I seriously considered eating the tix and not going. They were hard tickets, not emailable tickets, which would’ve made selling them online much harder.(Ticketbastards didn’t give me that option…forced me to pay extra for the privilege of getting hard tickets mailed to me).

As it turned out, another friend of mine was willing to buy Dave’s unused ticket at a discount, as long as I could meet him down in AP for the transfer. Honoring this ticket exchange was probably the only thing that forced me to make the trip. I had gone Mt biking earlier in the day, came home, grabbed a nap, and around 2pm, prepared to go to the show. It was 97 degrees out. I was feeling like shit (something I ate, I think). I reluctantly climbed in the car and drove south. At some point, the dashboard thermometer reported 101 degrees. The AC in my car couldn’t even keep up with it. None of this helped by heavy volume on Southbound GSP. I finally got down to Asbury Park around 4:30pm and parking is an absolute madhouse. Incoming concertgoers, and Incoming/Outgoing Beachgoers, and lots of gridlock. Took an hour to land a spot.

Next up was trying to pay for parking. All you have to do is remember your spot number, find a parking payment kiosk, pay for your spot. You don’t even have to put the ticket in the window anymore, it’s all tracked thru a network. While I thought that technological advancement was welcome, the entity responsible for design of the kiosk user interface should be shot. One of the most confusing things I ever saw, combining touch sensitive buttons on the screen and hard buttons on the box. Somehow, $11 later, I was issued a ticket good till Monday July 2nd, about 45 hours more than I needed!!???

So now I’m wandering around the area looking for something to eat. I went up to the boardwalk, but it was an absolute zoo. I walked past the Stone Pony to inquire to the Security team if they’d let me in to the show later with an empty hard plastic water bottle “Absolutely Not!!!”. With some time on my hands, I wandered south into the town of Asbury park, found a really nice little brick oven pizzeria and had a wonderful personal Sicilian pie. Sorry, I didn’t even notice the name of the place. I couldn’t help but notice how amazingly Asbury Park has recovered from the urban decay of years ago.

For many years, that place was a dead zone. It’s now clean, rebuilt, thriving, under construction, and is a total hotbed of activity. Took a while. Glad to see that.

The extra ticket handoff happened without major headaches and into the show I went. I’ve been going to one festival after another this summer, where security has been quite minimal. It was kind of a culture shock to walk into this place, with such a dramatic security presence. You know the types…paramilitary looking goons, all dressed in black…a whole lot of them. Probably necessary too, since I’m sure The Stone Pony has seen it’s share of Alcohol Fueled Macho Assholes causing issues. (But not last night…the crowd was well behaved). I don’t know if it sold out, but there were a ton of people there.

From the video channel of gr8fuljon

Once the music was underway, I was taken aback at how many talkers there were. I actually had to move several times to distance myself from the pockets of full-on loud conversations. I’m sure some small percentage of the attendee’s didn’t even know who they were seeing. They were just there because their BFs bought the tickets, or whatever.

Anyway, I just pushed a little closer to the stage, where the volume helped to overcome the chatter. I happened to find residence on a cable chase that was 3″ tall. It was kind of nice to be the tall guy at a GA show like this. I had a great view all night due to this. I’m not very familiar with UM, so I can’t produce a setlist. But I actually loved their show. (2 sets, starting at 7, one short setbreak, ending promptly at 10). This band is amazing. They have a lot of faces too. Sometimes prog rock influenced. Sometimes Jazz influenced. Sometimes Hard rock influenced. Heavy metal influenced. Kind of all over the place really, but very very good! I can see why they have such a dedicated fanbase, with many who’ve seen them 80+ times or more. Very worthy band.

When the show was over, I walked back to my car (quite a distance). I walked past Asbury Lanes, which had Railroad Earth playing their second show there. I actually walked up to the place, hoping I could slip in to see the last few songs of their show. (assuming they had an 8pm start). What I didn’t realize is they had just started their show, maybe half hour into it. I was told I could still purchase a ticket for $35. I seriously considered it but with a long drive ahead of me, I had enough and passed. Kind of regretting that now. I got home around Midnight and passed out hard. Anyway, with hindsight, I’m still glad I made the effort, but I think I’d rather see UM in an air conditioned theater somewhere instead. This one was a lot of work.

From the video channel of Zak Radick

Set 1: Nipple Trix (tweeted ‘Nipple Attic’) (>) Roctopus Pequod Andy’s Last Beer (>) Stew (> ‘Andy’s Last Beer’ reprise) Seasons It Doesn’t Matter You & You Alone Remind Me Set 2: Wizard Burial Ground Sludge & Death (>) Xmas at Wartime The Silent Type (with Stew) Jessica (The Allman Brothers Band cover) Cemetery Walk (>) Cemetery Walk II August (> Wizard Burial Ground’ reprise) Encore: Kula Walk (Pantera cover) (first since 2012)

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