Klipsch Music Center
Friday, June 22
I'll be upfront with you. I am not a Dave Matthews Band superfan. There is no floating fire dancer on my car windshield. There is no DMB tattooed across my back, over my heart, or above a dolphin on my foot. I have seen Dave play numerous times, albeit in high school, when I was more concerned with sneaking beers and making out with girls doing the same. In college, I watched as a band I had enjoyed turned into the butt of frat-boy date rape jokes on collegehumor.com (e.g. "Want to go to my room and listen to some Dave Matthews Band... ?")
That being said, opening night of Dave Matthews Band on Friday was a fresh reminder of the band's talent and following.
Dave personally introduced opening act Gary Clark, Jr., who kicked off his set with several rollin' and tumblin' songs that would delight any blues purist. More impressive -- in this reviewer's opinion -- were songs like "Please Come Home," a blues/Motown fusion that had Clark crooning in falsetto.
Dave and company followed, taking the stage just as the sun dipped beneath the pavilion's overhang. As if on cue, the crowd ducked behind sunglasses without missing a beat of Carter Beaford's bass drum.
Songs included classic hits "Everyday," "You and Me" and "Satellite," along with an excellent rendition of the band's newest song "Mercy" and their well-known cover of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."
Klipsch Music Center reached capacity five songs into the set -- late arrivals were a mixture of "one-last-beer types" and those caught in an insanely long will-call line.
Beaford and violinist Boyd Tinsley were on point for "Crush," while Dave pondered Earth's curvature, "Am I right-side up or upside-down?" Among an increasingly drunker lawn audience, I couldn't help but laugh.
It is hard to believe songs like "Crush," "The Stone" and "Don't Drink the Water" are approaching their fifteenth birthdays, while the core of Dave Matthews Band has been together for twenty-one years. The group's staying power and large fan base are a testament to veteran chemistry and dedication to live performances.