Photos by Brad Kuntz
Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, Dave Matthews and his band continue to create magic on stage night after night, tour after tour!
This year they changed things up a bit. In case you’re unaware, they’ve decided to follow the jam band trend by splitting the show up into two separate sets. The first set being the shorter of the two is acoustic, which features renditions of all of our favorite songs with the band sitting on stools, playing in front of a beautifully draped stage that gives you an intimate feeling like you’re watching them perform on your back porch, which is an element that I’ve always wanted to see them in. Band members also alternate on each song, sometimes its Dave, Carter, Stefan, other times Dave, Carter and Boyd Tinsley, etc.
The second part of the show is what we’re used to, full band, all electric.
As a longtime avid DMB fan, I’ve wanted to see something like this happen for a long time! Ever since the unfortunate death of saxophonist Leroi Moore in 2008, the band has taken on an electric sound that’s just too hard for me and other diehard fans to get used to. At times I feel guitar legend, Tim Reynolds forces notes into songs that have no reason being there. Don’t get me wrong, without Tim Reynolds, the bands new material would simply be impossible to play. I’ve just always wanted to see Tim pick up his acoustic guitar to help assist Dave on rhythm for once. And this tour we were gifted with just that and more!
Dave & the boys started the show with the super well-known ‘Satellite’, and I’ve got to say, it was one of the most unique ‘Satellite’s’ that I’ve ever seen/heard. It featured the full band. But instead of Stefan playing a standup bass, he picked up an acoustic guitar, which I have never seen before. I figured that 3 acoustic guitars on stage would be a little too cluttered, but they actually blended together perfectly adding flavor to the already great song.
After ‘Satellite’ they jumped straight into ‘Ants Marching’, which blew me away. Normally they like to save that song for later in the show or as an encore. So, I knew by the second song that this was going to be a very special show.
Next, they slowed things down a bit with a beautiful version of the mellow song ‘Stolen Away on 55 & 3rd.’ a song that doesn’t get played all too often. All of the newer and younger DMB fans must not have known that, since half of them were making their ways toward the beer line or to use the restroom.
My favorite from the first set had to be the unpublished, quiet little song ‘Loving Wings’, a tune that has only been played a total of 77 times since its birth in early 2002!
‘What would you say’ was also very noteworthy, with a few very nice Boyd Tinsley solos. I think they should permanently keep this song acoustic. It sounded much more organic and raw than it has in recent years.
A lengthy crowd pleasing ‘Two Step’ closed out the first set.
After a 30 minute set break, the band reemerged onto the stage for the Electric second set. The drapes were taken down and the bands fancy new lights were exposed. The band looked refreshed and ready to play. Dave teased us all by playing a partial segment of ‘Still Water’ before moving onto ‘Minarets’, an energetic middle eastern sounding song from their 1993 album ‘Remember Two Things’.
Dave has always been great at masterminding the perfect set list, so that the show continues to build and build. And again, he did just that with a ‘Song that Jane Likes’ followed by a ‘Jimi Thing’ into a ‘Why I Am’, a great slew of songs.
‘If only’ was the third song played off of ‘Away From the World’. I like that they’re not heavily promoting the new album and are giving us chances to hear older, lesser played songs, which they haven’t done in recent years/past tours.
‘Granny’ followed by an outstanding version ‘Grey Street’ closed out the second set.
Charlotte got quite an encore this year. We got a partial Dave solo ‘Space Between’ before a haunting ‘Still Water >Don’t Drink the Water’. It was the perfect song to cap off a great night.
All in all, I hope they continue doing the two sets. I was skeptical at first, but ended up loving it. I think it gives us all a chance to see the band from a different perspective, and also keeps the band fresh by playing songs in different styles than they’re used to.
Set 1 – Acoustic
Set 2 – Electric
The Space Between
Don’t Drink the Water