Photos by Ian Rawn – http://playindead.org/blog/ncaa-big-dance-concert-series/
If the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, GA had a roof, the Dave Matthews Band blew it off!
Dave and the boys played their second show on their 2013 Summer Tour in the packed downtown park full of fans, who traveled from all over, to watch/attend the NCAA basketball games that were taking place as well as fans and families there just for the free music. It was a crowd of nearly 30,000 and many fans, that came late, were unable to get in because of maximum occupancy, so they took to the fences and bull rushing the gates.
Just as the crowd got settled down from Stings awesome performance a little earlier, the stage grew dark and the boys took the stage and Dave did his stroll noodling/gazing into the massive crowd in amazement before punching us with a ‘Don’t Drink the Water,’ a wise choice to energize the crowd. As the song came to an end, Dave said to the crowd in his silly voice “that’s a lot of mother fuckers out there” and then they played ‘Funny the Way it is’; a favorite off of the Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King album, which the fans clearly knew well, singing along to every note.
The first song played off of the new album ‘Away from the World’ was ‘Rooftop’; a catchy little tune that you don’t need to hear twice to dig.
Once over, Stefan played the first 2 notes on his bass and the crowd blew up as they instantly recognized ‘Crush!’ Even if you hate DMB, or have been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you know this song. It became hard to hear Dave at times, because the crowd was singing along so loudly.
Around the 6th song, we were all wondering how long of a show it was going to be, judging from the short performances from the previous artist’s, but they had no intentions of slowing down as they began ‘Eh Hee’, a tune that Dave wrote about an ancient tribe in South Africa, that used a similar chorus before the tribe even “had words.”
A horn heavy ‘Belly Belly Nice’ was also played off their new album. Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross were clearly enjoying themselves on this song, but the biggest song of the night had to be the nearly 15 minute long ‘Jimi Thing’, a diehard and newbie favorite. I thought Boyd Tinsley was going to cut his violin in half, his solos were so intense. Midway through the song, Dave amazed us with his uncanny scatting abilities and also included “sexy mother fucker.” Jeff Coffin proved he wasn’t human, as he began to play 2 saxophones at the same time…The energy was tangible!
They then slowed things down a bit and played a mellow ‘Mercy,’ the heavily promoted single off the new album, which speaks of all of the troubles in the world. Midway through the song, Dave sits down at his piano and plays while Jeff trades clarinet licks with him.
They seemed to have read the crowds mind as they played ‘#41’, ‘What Would You Say’, and ‘Rupunzel’ all in a row!
After the horn swirling ‘Rupunzel,’ they waved goodbye and walked backstage. Certainly there had to be an encore? About 5 minutes later, they emerged, and were ready to play.
The original set list from the DMB website shows a ‘You and Me’ followed by ‘Ants Marching’, but the band played so long and so far over there limit, that they had to switch them both out for a ‘Two Step’, which I’m sure nobody had a problem with. Tim had a lick on that song that harvested the earth. That man was not born on this planet!
The real treat of the night was seeing Carter Beauford release his inner beast as he went on a 2 minute drum solo that shook the park to its core. Once it came to an end, Carter threw his usual 10+ Drum Sticks into the crowd, one of them which I caught!
Then the boys bowed before us all, leaving everyone in the crowd smiling.
Fireworks were then set off from the rooftops of the adjacent building, capping off a lovely, warm Georgia night.