Umphreys Live Listening Guide - A Community Project

Hello everyone. This is a project I’ve had in my head for a while now and with 2020 on the horizon (and knowing that a great new bort was in works) I figured it was the right time to move forward. Now that the new bort is here I wanted to share what I’ve got. My hope is that we as a community can come together on a format that we like best for this concept. Once that’s done I can create a template for everyone to use (one that’s built for use with a single show). The imgur link below contains my initial drafts, ready to be refined (both in terms of accuracy and aesthetics).

Basically myself with the help of an excel superuser who would like to be credited as GuitarJazzer have created an excel spreadsheet that can relatively easily be used to map a live show. The listener has a number of different categories to choose from (Original, Vamp, Jam, Cover, etc) and with the granularity of 1sec is able to mark those points in a song, creating the visual as it goes. The spreadsheet runs entirely off conditional formatting. The data inputs required of the user are the following:
-Basics like Show Date, Venue Name, Location (City, ST)
-Specifics like Set Numbers, Track Names and Numbers
-Advanced specifics like exact second markers for the beginning of something

You’ll notice that my drafts incorporate a dual-line type thing where two different elements are on top of each other, and sort of blend into each other. This is because certain segments of a song are too split to classify as one specific category. The best examples of this are mid-jam covers, or the transitioning into and out of jams using elements of the original song. Speaking of categories, I feel those should be defined, and here’s how I’ve been proceeding:

Original: An Umphrey’s Song, played as per the studio recording (more or less), should a studio version exist.
Vamp: Improvisation over the backing song structure
Jam: Unique improvisation
Cover: Another artists song, as popularized by them (more or less)
Planned Jam: An element of an original song that is absent from the studio recording but is a frequent element in live renditions.
Banter/Noise: Crowd noise, band discussions/announcements, etc.

I welcome your feedback. I should also out myself and say that accuracy is a legitimate concern of mine as I haven’t been listening to live shows that long (long time fan but only got nugs in July, but since then I’ve listened to all 2018 and 19 shows), which is why I’d like to give this tool to the community, as I believe crowdsourcing this is the best way towards accuracy. I’d like to deploy the template by early 2020 for all to use so we can begin mapping shows going forward.

EDIT: To clarify “Planned Jam” further, think what is frequently the intros to In The Kitchen, Booth Love, and NtF. Also dub Mulche.

2019/12/30 - The Fillmore - Denver, CO
2020 Listening Guide Summaries
2019/12/30 - The Fillmore - Denver, CO - VIP set
2019/12/31 - The Fillmore - Denver, CO
2019/12/27 - The Fillmore - Denver, CO
2021/07/10 - The Caverns - Pelham, TN
2021/06/29 - Showtime at the Drive-In - Frederick, MD
2021/11/11 - The Truman - Kansas City, MO
2021/08/12 - Frederik Meijer Gardens - Grand Rapids, MI
2021/08/08 - Avondale Brewing Co - Birmingham, AL
2021/08/07 - Beech Mountain - North Carolina
2021/08/06 - Beech Mountain Resort Summer Series - Beech Mountain, NC
2021/08/05 - Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre - Wilmington, NC
2021/07/23 - Northland's - Swanzey, NH
2021/07/24 - Northland's - Swanzey, NH
2021/07/09 - The Caverns - Pelham, TN
2021/07/03 - Montage Mountain - Scranton, PA, USA
2021/06/30 - Showtime at the Drive-In - Frederick, MD
2021/06/27 - Levon Helm Studios - Woodstock, NY
2021/06/26 - Apple Valley Park - Lafayette, NY
2021/06/25 - Apple Valley Park - Lafayette, NY
2021/06/19 (afternoon set) - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO
2021/06/20 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO
2021/06/19 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO
2021/06/18 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO
2021/05/29 - Crofoot Festival Grounds - Pontiac, MI
2021/05/28 - Crofoot Festival Grounds - Pontiac, MI
2021/05/15 - SeatGeek Stadium - Chicago, Il
2021/05/14 - SeatGeek Stadium - Chicago, IL
2021/05/08 - Westville Music Bowl - New Haven, CT
2021/05/07 - Westville Music Bowl - New Haven, CT
2021/05/01 - Atlanta Motor Speedway - Hampton, GA
2021/04/30 - Atlanta Motor Speedway, Atlanta, GA
2021/04/10 - "Suwanee Rising" Spirit Of Swanee Music Park, Live Oak, FL
2021/02/06 - Wrapped Around Nashville - Nashville, TN
2021/02/05 - Wrapped Around Nashville - Nashville, TN
2021/02/04 - Wrapped Around Nashville - Nashville, TN
2020/10/10 - Drive In at the Speedway - Hampton, GA
2020/10/09 - Drive In at the Speedway - Hampton, GA
2019/12/28 - The Fillmore - Denver, CO
2021/12/07 - Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun - Puerto Morelos, Mexico
2021/12/06 - Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun — Puerto Morelos, Mexico
2021/12/05 - Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun — Puerto Morelos, Mexico
2021/11/20 - The NorVA - Norfolk VA
2021/11/19 - The National - Richmond, VA
2021/11/18 - The National - Richmond, VA
2021/11/14 - Morris Performing Arts Center - South Bend, IN
2021/11/13 - The Pageant - St. Louis, MO
2021/11/12 - The Pageant - St Louis, MO
2021/10/28 - "Suwannee Hulaween," Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park — Live Oak, FL
2020/10/9 - UMBOWL @ The Capitol Theater - Port Chester, NY
2021/10/08 - UMBOWL @ The Capitol Theatre - Port Chester, NY
2021/10/01 - Afterburner Music Festival - Huntington Beach, CA
2021/09/17 - Resonance Festival - Marvin's Mountaintop, WV
2021/09/18 - TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park - Indianapolis, IN
2021/09/16 - Resonance Festival - Marvin's Mountaintop, WV
2021/08/22 - Three Sisters Park - Chillicothe, IL
2021/08/21 - Three Sisters Park - Chillicothe, IL
2021/08/19 - Three Sisters Park - Chillicothe, IL
2021/08/20 - Three Sisters Park - Chillicothe, IL
2021/08/15 - Lauridsen Amphitheater - Des Moines, IA
2021/08/14 - First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN
2021/08/13 - The Riverside Theater - Milwaukee, WI

Wow dude, very very cool and nice work! Will be stoked to mess around with this and see how things progress for future shows! Thanks for sharing.

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This is so freakin’ rad. Thanks for putting the time into this. I have always wanted to see a tool like this get created.

Bump’d like it’s on a key

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This is a fantastic idea. Will be super cool to help determine particularly jam-heavy (or vice versa) shows. Really cool visual tool.

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Welp, that is pretty neat.

Really sweet! Thank you for working on this. I’d love to program in certain shows and see the visual aspect laid out here compared to a “standard” show- thinking 2/21/07 or 11/2/11 etc

This is definitely one of the reasons I wanted to start this. I think it will be really interesting to compare shows to each other, especially the jam-heavy ones, or shows with similar set lists but a decade apart. Another thing I’m already sort of doing as I go along is compare songs to each other. There’s a number of songs that play out almost exactly the same every time in terms of overall layout (ie 45 sec of vamp starting at ~2:33, or the jam starts at mark 4:10 almost every time and lasts for 5-6 min, etc).

I’m definitely going to keep creating listening guides through 2020 and it’ll be interesting to see the various comparisons we can do with all that data.

I’m still working on the New Years run (done with 12/27, 12/28, and 12/30 VIP, as well as the 12/30 Ringo set) and I’ll upload all of those at once to their respective threads. Similarly I’m still working on the individual template for all to use. That hour-long single song required some fixes in my sheet as it was only capable of going up to ~30min before.

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@cshore you still have the list of shows with the most improv somewhere?

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Awesome idea can’t wait to see how this tool grows.


I bet we can guess a bunch of them. I know that 1/28/11 Boston and 2/21/07 Ft. Lauderdale were on there. I wonder if the hour long Ringo catapults that show onto the list.

All of the shows with improv sets would probably be in the top 5.

I think 1/28/16 is ~77mins of improv, 1/27/17 has ~83m, and 12/30/19 has ~85m. 12/30/19 is quite possibly the most improv in a UM show, ever.

Was it on the previous iteration @cshore

Yes. I recall seeing 2/11/10 Asheville being one because that was/is a top show for me. I want to say it was clocked in the 60s.

For some reason I don’t think we were including improv sets in this list.

Hello everyone, I’ve been hard at work on the community template and I’ve got the first iteration for everyone to use, comment on, and build on (if you don’t have excel you can try to import it into google sheets and maybe it’ll still work).

Give me your feedback. I’ve also uploaded my transcriptions of the New Years run to their respective setlist threads.

I’m considering redefining the “Cover” slot to be “Cover/UM Reprise” so that it can be used to notate sections where UM plays a different song of theirs than the song in the track title. This would also be the designation for “repeat stews”. I think this the best solution as it doesn’t require additional categories/colors and “UM Reprise” is loosely defined enough to include instances where they play an original note-for-note, or callback a popular jam.

I’m open to other solutions, but I’ve already debated the idea of an “Original 2” category as well as a “Repeated Jam” category and found those to be unnecessary additions and the terminology not all-encompassing enough.

Let me know what you think.

I actually think that just calling any teases or jams on other UM songs as “original” or marking them half jam, half original is fine. Cover should def be its own thing, because then you def know if they are teasing something in a jam its a cover, not a tease of some other UM tune.

I also don’t think you want to add more colors to your chart, what you have got now is great because it is not too much to keep track of.

These are cool, everyone is going to interpret things slightly differently but overall I think these are mostly spot on.

A couple of th oughts -

End of AIT, Mozart section of DBK, and In the Hall of Mountain King at the end of Thin Air…half original, half cover? Full cover?

Since there’s a lot going on and I have some more to throw in the mix I’m going to organize our thoughts a bit:

Answers for you:
Redefining “Cover” - Ok yes I agree that cover should just be its own thing so there’s never any confusion. As for marking other things like repeat stews and UM originals in separate songs I think that additional steps need to be taken so that these elements stand out in the guide (more below), however what I have in mind shouldn’t overly complicate things…because…

We’re in agreement that there shouldn’t be more categories/colors. That can be put to rest.

Classical Sections: I’m really glad you brought this up because I too debated how to handle these sections. First off I’ve already transcribed all 3 of those (although haven’t posted the show containing the Thin Air) and for all of them I’ve treated those as fully original. My reasoning largely hinged on the fact that they’re played that way every time (as far as I know) and there’s no need for them to stick out in the guide as something unique. I don’t believe a studio version exists of AiT, and unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the studio album with DBK and Thin Air. If the studio version of both of those doesn’t contain those elements then I’d say they should be 100% cover, however if they do then it gets iffy. I could be convinced towards half cover half original, but like I said I don’t think it’s necessarily being sought out, and additionally I’ve never seen it marked on ATU like other classical pieces are.

Questions for you:

Repeat Stews and Secondary UM tunes: We agree that repeat stews can be Jam/Original, but I think that we can make secondary songs Original/Original with some post-transcription work that would make both of these things stand out on the guide, and effectively be searchable still. Look at what I did with the Utopian from 1/25 (with Proverbial in the wild-card). While the guide doesn’t make those walls I still marked the time stamps (with a random category because you just want the walls) and spent 3min in MS Paint copy/pasting to make it blue and look nice. For something like a repeat stew that’s born out of an ongoing stew I’d say we should add a wall there after the fact so there’s no blending of the previous “jam” into the new repeat stew “jam”. What are your thoughts?

Listening Guide Usage: How did you find the usability of the guide? Let me know if something was unclear/confusing/poorly worded/etc in the instructions because as far as I know you’re first person besides me to use it.

Track Numbers & Encore: I noticed that you had the tracks continuing as opposed to separated by set and left the encore songs as set 2. Were those on purpose? There doesn’t have to be consistency between ours but I’d think the encore should be marked.

Not Doubling Up?: Did you enjoy making your own guide? Like if you found it a pain in the ass and don’t intend to do more then you can disregard this, but if you wanted to start working on other shows let me know so there’s no doubling up of work. I plan to do all of 2020 just for my own end-of-year analysis but at points this year it’ll be weeks plus that I’m unable to upload anything. Also I’ve been working on 2017 and have finished all but 1 show in January. I wasn’t sure if I was going to upload them but I might eventually. I have no intention of making guides for shows in 2018 or 2019 except maybe those that i attended (which aren’t many and again I don’t know if I’d upload them).

I’ll spend some time looking over your transcription and let you know what I think.

@Bron-yr-Aur , here’s my feedback on your transcription (2019/01/25 - Riverside Theater - Milwaukee, WI). Overall I’d say we’re 90% in agreement, and most of what I bring up is super minor/subjective, so I’m glad that we concur on the majority the big stuff like what’s jam vs vamp and vamp vs the studio. Let me know what you think, especially about the Kitchen “Planned Jam” stuff. Also let me know if I’m completely wrong about something I think is vamp and it’s as per the studio recording because I’ll keep making that mistake.

Night Nurse: I think this is similar to what you were saying about Wappy where there’s enough vamping right up top that it deserves a mention (also I’m going to do this with Wappy going forward). I’ve been labelling the beginning as Original/Vamp, so I’d say that @ 00:34-01:24 then Original as you show; the Jam @ 01:53 ends at 02:25 and is back to Original/Vamp, then Jam again @ 02:57

In The Kitchen: This is one of the few things songs that I classify as having a “Planned Jam”. So I believe it’s that from the beginning until 00:58 where it’s Original for a few bars (until 01:14) where it’s back to Planned Jam until the lyrics start at 01:48.

Young Lust: Vamp 1 is almost completely as per the recording, so I’d keep it as Cover and lose that. Perfect call on the Cover/Jam section with the phone call part of the song.

More subjective stuff, almost all of this is just missing vamps and half vamps that are like 10-20sec long:

All in Time (starting one): Vamp @ 00:26-00:39

Intentions Clear: Vamp 2 – I think this is Original/Vamp because it’s exactly as per the recording except for the last little bit.

All in time (ending one): Original/Vamp @ 00:46 into the full vamp; Vamp @ 02:38-03:05 (bayliss vamp). You could also argue there’s enough vamping going on prior to the classical section that it deserves something too.

Breaker: Vamp @ 00:48-01:08; Vamp @ 02:32-jam (which I don’t think starts until 03:48, or you could have it Vamp/Jam up until there); Vamp @ 07:42 into the jam/vamp, and I’d say it ends as vamp and not original.

Hurt Bird Bath: questionable vamp for like 12sec @ 00:35

Push the Pig: Vamp @ 01:15-35

Glory: I think there’s a good chunk of Original/Vamp (starting @ 00:31) leading into the big vamp which imo starts at 01:39 (a little after your mark) and I’d label it as that full vamp until the end.