This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The keyboard player for Umphrey's McGee, Joel Cummins, once paid a bike courier $100 to have the messenger deliver him a pair of Radiohead concert tickets.
He didn't have to do that the tickets would have come in the mail in due time from the ticket broker. But Cummins wanted to feel the tickets in his hand and simply relish the feeling.
So he understands the devotion of music fans. He appreciated hearing of the Utah fans who are holding an Umphrey's Eve party March 9 at the Woodshed, the night before the band headlines at The Depot across town.
For superfan Jordan Olsen, who organized Umphrey's Eve and was among the first people in town to buy a ticket for Saturday's show, the pre-party is a chance to "come out and geek out with other Umphrey's McGee fans."
"We're devoted and hard-core, just like Deadheads," said Olsen, whose UM-inspired band Wafer will perform UM songs at the party. "For me, personally, they revolutionized my whole idea of music."
Another local obsessed fan is Dom Darling, who will see his 41st UM show this Saturday after attending the Umphrey's Eve party. A Bostonian who moved to Utah about five years ago, Darling recalls his first time seeing UM in 2004 in New Hampshire, and how hearing an inventive cover of Van Halen's "Pamama" resulted in what felt like his "face melted." "Just when you think they can't get any more into it, they take it to the next level," Darling said.
To explain how committed Darling is to the band, you can look beyond his more than 80 live bootlegs of past gigs to see a bigger tribute. About three years ago, he went to Big Deluxe Tattoo on State Street and received a 10-inch-long tattoo honoring the UM song "Women, Wine and Song" on his left calf.
The gospel of UM is spread so easily and quickly, Darling said, because the band encourages fans to tape shows, instead of discouraging it.
"We want our music to get in front of as many people as possible," said Cummins, who added that five free tickets are put aside at every show for bootleggers who promise to distribute their tapes online.
In addition, Cummins said the band "tackles" social media "with energy and enthusiasm," which includes putting out a podcast every other week to spotlight some of the band's favorite live performances. Add that to an eye-popping laser show, unusual covers, a set list that changes nightly, and never playing the same song the same way twice, and you get an idea of how UM shows can become habit-forming.
This story does come with a warning: If you're not careful while checking out UM this weekend, Darling's enthusiasm might convince you that it's a perfectly fine idea to get inked with a UM tattoo.
Umphrey's Eve with Wafer and GirafficJam
When • Friday, March 9; doors open at 9:30 p.m.
Where • The Woodshed, 80 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $5 at door
When • Saturday, March 10, at 8 p.m.
Where • The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $17.50 in advance, $20 day of, at SmithsTix