Greg Gets In the Van: Winter Tour ‘24 Charlotte-Richmond

Hey homies! I had explained a bit in the main Winter Tour 24 thread how I did a little solo run for the first four shows of Kris’s return (is “he has krisen” a little too iffy?). I wanted to expand on it a little more, only because it really flipped me on my ear and kicked me in the crotch. Again, I know it’s cliché, but this really was life changing for me. I’ve only ever had 3-4 close friends that really understand the joys of UMs and the jam scene itself, so I’d really like to share my experience, and figure this site’s the best place.

A little background: As a teen I was a major Rush fan and was starting to dip into more prog rock and pot lol. My first concert was Rush for their Snakes and Arrows tour as a young 15-16yo. After that concert, two of my best friends at the time, both musicians, are like “You should check out Umphreys” Oh yeah okay, that sounds like a totally normal band name, fuckin weirdos. But I join em at UMs Taft theater show in Cincinnati 9/15/07 (my best friend’s 18th bday, will never forget it). Since then, I’ve been hooked.

From my teens through my midtwenties, a mix of tragedy and poverty kept me basically locked to only Umphreys shows within Cincinnati (maybe Cbus or Louisville if there were tickets when the tax refund check hit). Their music got me through those many down and rough times though. I could never quite put my finger on the exact reason I love em. The most joy I ever thought I’d find was to be absolutely faced at any UMs show. I thought it was a necessity to be psyched up or rollin for me to have fun.

Met the love of my life in 2016 and she treated me to my first trip to red rocks in 2017 (their first three night run there, mine too!) It was ethereal. So much so that I chased that high for the next few RRx 3x runs until Covid shut it all down.

In my 30s now, with annoying agoraphobia from both covid and my own bullshit, I was starting to fear growing older and lonelier, not being a parent makes making meaningful connections harder as you age. Unable to feel comfortable being myself anywhere, constantly wrapped up in my head. I was getting sick of it. Fast-forward to the news that Kris Myers is taking time off for surgery. Until I read the part “…he’ll back after recovery” my heart was sunkkkkkk. But once I got to the end of that post….DING. I start texting my wife and those few friends that care “HEY! Look at this! When that mfer returns, I’m buying allllll the tickets. I’m going on tour.”

At first it was kind of a joke, as I was really just trying to express how awesome it’s gonna be when he’s back and healed up.

Then UMs called my bluff. As soon as presale hits last October?(iirc), I locked down tickets to the first four NC/VA shows, every show between Cleveland and Cinci, the bellwether in LA, and the UMBowl in Boston. Immediately hopped over to my Hilton app and booked the nearest hotey to every venue. Woke up the next day and looked at my bank apps. “DAMN.”

A beautiful 8hr drive from Cinci to Charlotte. Never done something like this before. Wife caught jury duty so I’m driving alone, and booking her a flight to meet me half way through the run in Norfolk. Gorgeous drive through those blue ass mountains, get to the Hilton Charlotte Uptown. It’s a 20 min walk to the Fillmore there, through an historic cemetery. Seemed kinda sketch, so I figured I’ll just Uber there and back worst case scenario. The next day before the show, hella time to kill, I hopped on their streetcar for 10 mins to their museum district. Idk if it’s a defined district, but there’s like 6 of those beautiful time sluts within a couple blocks in their downtown area. Also tried that fancy ramen for the first time with the soft boiled egg and chicken and veggies. Fuckin A was that a good pre-show base.


Alrighty, I brought my party supplies. Edibles, thc vapes, adderall for the drives, ingredients for White Russians (my fave cocktail), mushroom chocolates, gellie tabs, some ket, and a couple Valium just in case. “Eh it’s the first night, let’s just do some edibles and have a drink, take the vapes, ease into this here. Don’t forget those ums branded ear plugs your wife got ya for Xmas.” Order the Uber since it was dark already, making the cemetery feel even more sketchy.
Get into the venue, pop in the ear buds for the first time and whoa. It’s like the weight and stimulation of the place dulled down to a manageable level I’ve never experienced before. Felt relaxed and controlled, instead of anxious and trying to focus on my buzz. Hit the merch booth for a tour shirt cuz duh, I’m hitting a lot of em.
Walk down to the floor Joel-side and post up next to this phish fan with a good ol’ boy look to him. Prolly baled hay as a teen. He was there solo too, so for my first interaction to be with someone in the same situation, that was dope. I’ve never been to a concert alone before, and honestly, if you never have, DO IT. The boys walk out maybe 5 after show time, crowd goes nuts for Myers. Ol boy and I are rockin together for a bit til I go to the bathroom and never seen him again.
At this point, I’m realizing this show seems less improv and more “here’s the songs folks”, which is fine, I’m sure Kris needs to warm up and everything. Plus I love this band so much, gimme a show with beat by beat studio renditions? Fuck it, I’ll be happy.
I return back to my OG spot on the floor, and finally find one of my favorite people at any Umphreys show (and especially what I wanna see here): A FIRST TIMER.
This guy who says he’s mostly into EDM type stuff bought this ticket on a whim. He seemed a little buzzed and saw me hit the weed vape, tried a hit himself, a minute or two later he’s yelling “DAMNNNN I DONT WANT THIS TO END”. I hit em with “ITS GOING TO!” He says “NOOOO!” I say “IT HAS TOO. THATS THE POINT MAN. WE SUFFER BECAUSE THINGS END, THATS WHY TO LIVE IS TO SUFFER” Blew this dudes whole mind lol. He leans over to this couple next to him and tells them what he just heard from me. We all high five n shit while UMs makes it right.
Show ends, I head out the exit, and I hear that ritualistic TSSSSSSSSS. Look to my right and see Charlotte PD hassling some tank boys, look to my left and see more tank boys, grab my traditional 3 for 20 and start waltzing away from the let-out. I hear “HEY” and turn around, it’s the couple from the show! They’re locals! I’m finally able to ask “hey, is it kosher to walk through this cemetery back to my hotel?” And they say “ohhh yeah you’re fine man, not even an issue.” As they say that too me and we’re nearing the crosswalk towards the cemetery, two little tripped out goose fans hear us and ask me “wait you’re not from here? Bro you really shouldn’t walk through there.” I look for traffic, look back at the trip heads, say “okay” and FUCKING BOOK IT ACROSS THAT 20MIN CEMETARY IN 10. If those trip heads are reading this, hey, I made it back lol. I take down my notes of the eve and crash around midnight/1am.


Wake up, brew coffee in hotel room, shower, hit the hotel breakfast, feeling way more fresh than I usually am after shows. Hmmm, I guess this is what it feels like when you don’t overindulge. Anyways, let’s hit the road. I pull in to the Hampton Inn I booked because it was “an 8 min walk to the venue”, and this mfer is behind what I can only describe as like an outdoor mall? Looking out the window at Ulta, Wegmans, and Costco. Both the hotel and The Ritz are on “Industrial Dr.” if the picture isn’t painted yet.
Grab some strip mall sushi and hot sake, head back to the hotel for a bit to get in the headspace. I pop my ear buds in and jam to some Primus while texting wife and friends, edibles, . Look out the window a bit before it’s time to go and we got ourselves a nonstop downpour fellas. Guess who fucking ubered a quarter mile for 40$?
I walk into the venue, feel my pockets. No ear plugs. Immediately to the merch booth to buy another pair. Will never not wear them mfs again. Boys walk out a few mins after show time, punctual as always. Tonight though, it seemed like they were definitely jamming wayyyy more than Charlotte (this realization I’d come to find out was because they were in the midst of that 30min DBK, which I’m currently using for the “UMs peaked in former year” crowd).
I noticed this old head and his wife were behind me at Kris-side, and he was leaning against a support beam. Figured he was just trying to be comfortable, gave him some space. About two tunes later and he collapses. Wife freaks and tries to get him to come to and I get my hands up at the bartenders next to us and call for medic, get this guy up and over to em, and get back to watching Kris soak his t shirt as he’s working his ass off on the kit.
Noticed this guy in front of me was texting someone named “kids mom”, split my fucking sides.
Met a couple behind me that were….FIRST TIMERS. Jim and Jill were these cool cats that were mostly into Phish back in the day, and UM had been recommended to em. Said his wife likes AFAF but it kinda put him off, so I told him to start earlier and work forward through their catalog, but nothing beats them live. Turns out these folks grew up and met in Ohio! How fucking small is this world?
It was a wonderful show and Joel’s bday as well. Head out of there and follow the other folks up Industrial Dr. I hear that ice cold TSSSSSS coming from the fucking Costco delivery truck bay. Grab my 3 for 20 but no 1.50 hot dog and soda. Everyone in the elevator from the show high fives and well wishes as we all depart for our floors. Passed out by midnight.


Wake up in Raleigh, as refreshed as yesterday (noticing a pattern here?). Hotel breakfast, grab some toiletries at Wegman’s and jet to Norfolk. Now, the new plan with the wife was to meet me there by plane. To give her a little surprise and make the task of entertaining my UMsession a bit more fun, I upgraded our rooms for Norfolk and Richmond. So for Norfolk, ended up with a bay view room on the top floor of the Hilton Downtown. Breathtaking view honestly. I had the tv on in the room but couldn’t stop just looking out the window. Unfortunately my wife’s flight gets delayed out of Cinci long enough to miss her connecting flight, so this leg of the tour has become totally solo. It was a real bummer, especially since I stressed out the credit cards a bit on the upgrades. Was still super nice and all, but the emotional profitability of the upgrades was gone. Oh well, the tour don’t stop. Had two drinks this time, and had taken an extra adderall as I feared getting tired before end of show (both bad decisions). Eat my edibles, check my pockets and head to the NorVa.
Ended up Kris-side again, and in my notes I wrote that this show seemed more metal than the jammier sounding night before, but now I’m thinking that’s because Remind Me went heavy and Jake was shredding a TON that night.
There was these two dudes next to me, one of em nonverbally tripping and hugging his poster, the other one being a little more social, never caught their names, but they asked if I was there alone and then offered to be “my friends” in case I needed the bar or restroom and wanted to get back to where I was. That was super fucking sweet of them.
Then at set break, the other couple next to me asks me if I’ve ever seen these guys before as it’s their first times!!! I give my spiel of “finally going on tour” and ask if they’re from Norfolk/the area, which he took as “born and raised here?” And answered with “nah we’re actually from Ohio, met in college in Cincinnati, moved for work when he got his PHD to Norfolk.” I was absolutely floored. Both originally phish people, in their 50s, they were trying to “get it”. Kept asking me about UMs, and I was like “It’s like Genesis and Metallica fucked, Jerry Garcia was midwifing, and also The Police are there”. Which gave em a good laugh. As second set starts up, I offer my weed vape, dude declines as he was driving, but wife decides to try, take a 2sec pull, and a few mins later is all “Thank you!! And I really think I get these guys!” Which warmed my heart immensely. They offered to get me another drink (which would break my one drink per set rule), and I accepted, offered to give em some cash as my double Titos and OJ go-to show drinks can run almost 30 after tip. Dude responds “nah man, I’m a doctor I don’t care”, we both laughed and got back into headbangin and raging. Unfortunately they had to leave early, but were super loving and gave me a hug and wished the best of luck on the rest of this leg and safe drive home. I’m so glad I got their email address (I hate asking for a number or instagram, I’m not trying to fuck nor know where you live, emails are nice and impersonal.)
UMs finishes out the show with a delicious Speak Up.
Leave the venue, grab the loons, start walking back. As I’m at a walk light I hear some new couple mumbling something or other, obviously from the show and enjoying their brains, waiting on public transit. I realize I’m too close to the hotel to finish all three balloons and offer one, they were so happy! It was awesome, got my light and off I went. Back at the hotel, I pour a bedtime drink and then blacked out. Waking the next day at 11:30am to my wife calling the hotel room saying she’s not sure if I have late check out but my phones going straight to voice mail.


With crippling hangover anxiety, I ensure my wife I’m fine, throw the phone on the charger, brew coffee and hot shower until I’m somewhat back to normal. Turns out I had the late check out and could’ve left later at like 2pm, but by 12:30 my anxiety/hangover had me just saying fuck it and hit the road, missed the breakfast anyways. Unsure if I had early check-in at Richmond, I was a little nervous about having to sit and wait and feel miserable in a hotel lobby. I didn’t get the early check-in says the man at the front desk, as “they don’t do that there.” He sees my room was upgraded to the corner king bedroom suite with living room, kitchenette, 1.5bath. Shit was an apartment. He says “oh! You’re in my favorite room of the building! Snoop Dogg reserves it every time he comes through town!” Well that’s cool as fuck too. Then he hands me my room keys. So they don’t do early check-ins folks, but they will check you in early if your room is ready.
I get in there, slam some edibles and just lay in the dark for an hour. Trying to get my body and head to chill the fuck out. Notice they have an indoor jacuzzi. Hit that mf for 15 mins and listen to the Marc Maron podcast episode with Les Claypool (love Les and hadn’t heard it yet). Lemme tell ya guys, a jacuzzi really fucks a hangover up. Ready for some food and hydration before the final show of this leg of my journey.
Head out of the hotel and look at google maps for the walk to the venue. Says 3 mins. I look up. Fucking one block down, hell yeah let’s go.
Walk in, nervously grab a drink but it helps. The national has like this sloped wooden floor. Thought it was a recipe for disaster, but turned out alright. Throughout the first set, the exhaustion is catching up to me from the past 3 shows. Yawns abound. Was feeling a bit irritable and not wanting to socialize. Still dancing and singing (when there’s vox) to every song, but mentally I’m thinking “hotel’s close, can go crash at any time.” But I push forward, hit the weed vape which brought my irritability down, and make it to set break after a nice Small Strides. This guy rolling his jaw off comes up to me and asks “you really love these guys don’t you?” And i laugh and I’m like “haha yeah why?” Says he saw me singing every time he looked down the row. Little weirdo, said his favorite band is Phish, and he was at MSGamehendge (which, I’m not a phish fan by any means, but major props to both band and fans for a monumental show, I only read about it, but I imagine it’s life changing for long time phish phan). Also said he shovels horse shit for a living and loves it. Lmao alright buddy.
To the other side of me is this lady who’s slurringly drunk, but fun. When I mentioned that my wife’s favorite band is the Dead and mine’s UMs, and that last October we tried meeting in the middle at Phish Dayton (whole other story). She laughs about the meet in the middle part, and says she always tells people who ask “Well my husbands favorite band is The Dead and my favorite band is JGB” I was howling, such a great bit. Second set comes on with Maybe Someday which is fine, but then a fire as fuck Attachments (one of my all time favorite tunes of theirs) followed by a dank Haj and then Staircase that went hard as fuck (another fave tune). It was at this point that I was so glad I pushed through. “Never skip a Sunday show.”
Finish out the show, grab the traditional loons, say “fuck it, final night” and waltz through the hotel lobby loons in hand. Hop in the elevator with a couple coming from the show as well. Ask if it was their first show or…and they say he’s seen em but it’s her first time! Yes! I was so happy and told em “I’ve been 3 for 4, meeting first timers at the shows on tour so far. And y’all just completed the 4th!” We gave our well wishes as they left the elevator, and I was ready to crash.
But before I did, I decided to send that email to the Norfolk couple from Cinci giving em my email in turn and hoping they got home safe. Finally crash before midnight.

Wake up at 5:30, rested and ready to make the 8 hour drive back home from Richmond to Cincinnati. Have some coffee and watch the local weather. Talking about snow warnings for the day from Virginia to WV to Kentucky. I immediately scarf down breakfast, have the valet pull my car up and hit the road by 6:45-7, racing against the snow storm. As I get into WV, it’s basically a white out snow storm and stay that way the entirety of the state. All through the mountain roads and state highways. It was scary as shit, thought I could die on one of these mountains real easy. My brand new CRV, that I financed because my old jeep needed repairs before tour and the dealership was fucking me over on getting the parts, so I said fuck it and made my first big “I’m in major debt now haha” purchase. Anyways, the thing had AWD, which was a god send. It also has adaptive cruise control so you barely have to drive while you drive, but it only works if the front censor is clear, and it was completely frozen over with ice. I scrape it off and hop back on the highway. Covered again within 20 mins. It was wild.
I cross into the Ohio/WV border and the snow is gone, it’s just brutally cold. Grab some gas and Hardee’s and check my phone.
The Norfolk couple responded to my email in kind, hoped Richmond was a good show, says he wished they could’ve stayed the entire show in Norfolk, and wished me well on my trip home and to not be a stranger. As soon as I get in the car, and get back on the road home, I’m sobbing like a bitch.

I’ve always heard from older deadheads of tales of meeting people on shakedown or at the show, and trading phone numbers/mailing addresses, forgetting about em over time until that letter hits your mail box or message on the answering machine. Then all the memories of the fun and joy of that moment, when you connected with someone you’d never conventionally meet, at a place where you love to be. That’s the magic I was searching for the entire time.
For the first time in my life, I felt comfortable with who I was. The insecure poor wook getting fucked out of his gourd at the show in me has died, the secure Umphreys lover who loves pot and a drink or two at the show, who can execute a pretty major task of having my bills paid and being able to hop 4 cities in unfamiliar territory, and LOVESSSS all the other insecure wooks that haven’t blossomed yet.

Again, it’s cliche I know, but those 4 days changed my entire perspective on life and living. And I know now that if I ever feel lost or alone in life (which still happens when you’re married, sucks when the friend circle dwindles), I know that I can go to any UMs show, and all my friends are already there.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer!


Add again: If you’re attending any of these shows, I’d love to meet ya!
1/31 Cleveland
2/1 Pittsburgh
2/2 Cbus
2/3 Detroit
2/7 Bloomington
2/8 Knoxville
2/9 Cinci
3/23 LA
4/25-26 UMBowl Boston




Edited. My bad

Only skimmed for now, but I might have to read closer after:


happy Easter in Quarantine


Awesome, thanks for sharing

1 Like

@OSUmBeaverPhreak clearly got a fresh addy script


Hell yeah man, sounds like a great time. I love going to shows alone but I rarely interact with others. I typically need a social buffer to feel comfortable talking to people. I do like to people watch though.

I was also at the Taft on 9/15/07. Beautiful Great American. I’m sure we were at a lot of the same shows back then. I lived in Huntington, WV and went to all the Cbus, Cincy, and most KY shows from 2005-2012.


Oh man! I forgot to add! The ear plugs add that social bubble. When someone chomps at you, you can give them “pop the ear plug out, WHAT? YOU GOOD?” And then pop back in and back to jamming. But most people don’t know that you can actually hear what people are saying pretty easily lol. So ontop of saving your ears from eternal tinnitus, they give you an out if you’re just trying to jam.

And it warms my heart to know you and I shared some GRRRRREAT shows. When they busted out Long Train Home at Taft, I was jawdrop. Never knew most anybody that was down with Pat Metheny until that night, and they killed it.


Thanks for reading!


Next time you’re gonna hit shows, reach out here beforehand! Would’ve definitely met up in Norfolk and/or Richmond


Oh I will now! This trip was a big personal growth moment and it was great to just meet people without any set plans. Wouldn’t wanted to have met up with y’all before I knew who the fuck I was first


Glad you had a good time on tour dude. Definitely brought back some memories of my own while reading through your adventures. Welcome.


Thanks man! Glad to hear some other people understanding what I was trying to explain. Those magical memories


It’s a tough thing a lot of childless adults don’t talk about much, but it’s a hard truth of it.


I was the seventh wheel earlier this week among three families with children… I think the word “meaningful” is carrying a lot of weight in that sentence.

It means different things to different people. Unpacking it has been a lifelong struggle for me.


Exactly, the meaningful part. It was a struggle for me too homie, but it’s not impossible. I’ve just found, for me at least, if I need to find those meaningful connections, UMs tour page will tell me where I can find em.


this should be on their website. pants optional, of course


Thanks for posting. This makes me wish I still wanted to go on UM ter. Now my Bort friends just make fun of me for considering going to a show


I still want to see another show with you.