Thursday, May 9, 2013

Best of our 41 DMB shows

The 2013 Dave Matthews Band tour is going to kick off in a week or so and in preparation of what is sure to be a great summer, below is a best of list from the 41 DMB shows that we have been to.  The list was very hard to make as each show is unique in its own way.  From first times, to different lineups, different venues, moments, people, special guests, rarities, set-lists  energy, lights, and how flawless the band plays.  We have been pretty lucky to see some amazing shows, including several that have been rated by DMB fan sites as the tops the band has performed in their 20 plus years of performing.  I admit I became a fan of this band 15 years into their touring career and that is mainly due to never seeing them live.  I am not a real fan of their studio work and never listen to studio performances because like great jam bands before them, The Dead and The Phish, that awesome live sound and energy cannot be duplicated in the studio which is why DMB is the most successful road act every year and does very poorly with album sales.  I couldn't stand their music until I saw them live in 2005 and have seen them on average of 6 shows a year since.  At almost every show I have been to, there is a moment that is created right in that moment that will never be duplicated and when they are really on fire, the whole night is moment after moment of some of the best music out there played by spectacular musicians.  So here is a "best of whats around" of our first 41 shows:

1.) 11/20/10 Charlottesville, VA  Rumors were wild that this would be the bands last show and they played like it was.  Longest show DMB has put on in years, rarities, hits, and just flawless playing.  The emotion was heavy in the arena and it was a night that could have kept on going forever.  The band had left the stage before coming back for another encore (ants) and that was it.  Thankfully that night, they said they would make more music and then to come was the caravans which were the shit.  Check out: Cornbread with Trombone Shorty, the best You Might Die Trying I ever heard, and the whole run from Digging a Ditch on.  Great show!

2.) 9/3/10 The Gorge  Hard to judge what the best show was for our first weekend ever at "Heavens Amphitheater" but the first night will always be the one that I remember the most.  Just married, on our honeymoon, walk up that hill not knowing completely the beauty you are about to witness and then...BOOM! there it is.  Kind of like the Grand Canyon in that pictures and words don't do it any justice.  This started a dramatic change for the band as this was the first ever 3 night run with no repeats, a tradition that has carried over since then even with 2 night stands or back to back nights in multiple cities.  They got the memo and they delivered.  1st song they played, The Last Stop, our first one and we will never forget it.  The band jammed here like I have only seen a couple of times.  Great night, most beautiful venue, the set night 2 was more powerful and night 3 was very jammed out, but night one was the first moment with a ton of rarities and firsts all around.  Check out: Last Stop, Loving Wings, Write a Song (best), Busted Stuff and the rare Sleep to Dream Her.

3.)  6/25/11 Atlantic City Caravan  The caravans where the best idea and best experience for a DMB fan ever! 3 nights of a headlining show with kick ass bands all day that let DMB members guest all over the site, with everything celebrating your favorite band, unreal.  We were lucky enough to do Chicago and AC.  AC was the first and easily the best.  The sets at other stops were mostly repeated from AC but in AC they were all bust outs! Break Free, Kill the King, Captain, Buena, Good Times Bad Times, Sweet Emotion, Whiter Shade of Pale and the guests.  David Ryan Harris, Vusi, Warren, Leon-just awesome.  Night 3 got an official release but to me Night 2 was it.  Warren Haynes on #41, Vusi on Everyday, and Leon Mobley on the greatest Two Step of all time! The band wasn't perfect to start but they hit their stride and treated some 50,000 people to extreme sights and sounds by the end of the night.  AC was also the best because it was walking distance to the board walk so no traffic, no driving drunk, and the music went all day.  We got to see: Franti, Head and the Heart, Carolina Chocolate, Grace Potter, Bassnectar, Amos Lee, Ray Lamontagne, G Love, Flaming Lips (wow), Damian Marley, OAR, Dave and Tim, Lotus, and Delta Spirit.  Cant get that outside of SXSW, Coachella or Bonnaroo.

4.) 6/17/06 SPAC  Still one of the best in my opinion, even in a very transitional stage in the bands history.  Ending of the Butch era and start of Rashawn Ross.  The set is flawless, the energy was out of this world as always is at SPAC, the venue was beautiful, weather perfect, and we were with our closest friends.  That show is highly under-rated and that is mostly due to peoples hatred of Stand Up which I thought was a great album.  This show will always be special to me as will night one.  Night one is easily one of the best shows as well.  Check out: What you Are and Everyday with Vusi.

5.) 11/13/10 MSG Greatest Damn City in the whole wide world! I always heard MSG could shake and move and it did that night.  Loudest concert I have ever been too and the energy could have lifted MSG right off Penn Station.  Another Vusi appearance, another great set, and more improv and jamming.  This show is rated by most DMB fans as one of the all time greatest shows every played.  What I will never forget is that Dave had no voice.  He simply apologized and asked the fans to take over and we did! The band just played and we carried the vocal until somewhere in Dont Drink the Water his voice snapped back and they just destroyed MSG with such energy.  Check out: the whole opening run.

6.) 6/13/09 SPAC Another SPAC and another classic.  Two days after we got engaged to be married!  Another show that is considered one of the best of all time by DMB fans (SPAC carries this tradition almost every year of adding another classic, but one hasn't topped 2008 or 2009)  The show was early in an album tour and they mixed it up perfectly with new and old  with many tour debuts that than carried on for the rest of the tour.  This was also another double encore as the show was over after watchtower and they slammed into Halloween playing over curfew.  Also was the first Sexy MFucker Jimi Thing outro and the crowd ate it up!  Great sounds, great venue, seats about 20 rows from the stage and with great people! Check out: The Stone, Jimi Thing, and Watchtower, Halloween.

7.) 8/5/09 Bethel, NY One of the most beautiful venues that there is.  Great sound and its on the site of the original Woodstock.  This was DMB's first time ever there and they were fired up.  The show is not rated very highly by fans but will always be rated high with us for personal reasons.  We walked around the beautiful venue and eventually found a spot on the lawn when a guy came up to us and asked if we would like to go closer, he was wearing a warehouse badge and we said "of course" he handed us two tickets that said row XXX with seats XXX1 and XXX2.  We thought it was a joke but they kept pushing us further and further until the front and we couldnt believe it when we finally saw the seats.  Two fold out chairs, first row, 3 feet from Dave's microphone! It was kind of creepy making eye contact with Stefan and Dave and Tim the entire night but what an experience! You could hear the band talking and joking with each other the entire night! Even creating improvs as they jammed away.  We each got to shake Carter's hand and we will never forget it.  A once in a lifetime experience and as they were seats, no one bumping us all night.  Check out: #41->everyday, Shotgun and Squirm.

8.) 12/15/12 Charlottesville, VA Another great show in Charlottesville.  Bands from there, always play awesome, energy always great, set always diverse.  Plus we had good people with us.  From my favorite, Monkey opener to BOWA a couple of songs later to what has become the EPIC So Damn Lucky (early set, rare) the band just thrashed their hometown.  Check out: So Damn Lucky, Granny, Cornbread (Joe L) Squirm and Monkey!

9.) 7/13/12 Star Lake Epic show, one of the longest of 2012 and one of the best.  Band was improving and expanding on some of the new songs that had yet to be released.  Night 2 could have taken this spot as well with the debut of Belly Belly Nice but the ending run of this show was sick nasty! Little Thing (rare) opener with an excellent Seek up and you know its going to be a good night.  But as So Damn Lucky has become so Epic its hard to argue this as one of the best set closers in years.  So Damn Lucky started when the band needed to be off the stage due to curfew and they shredded 19 minutes of heavy jams into an epic piece that then went right into Hallobilles! I dont know how you can do that for night one and have anything left for night 2 but they do it again and again.  Check out: Seek Up, Mercy-Out of My Hands, and that ending run.

10.) 9/19/07 Charlotte, NC Still one of the tightest shows I think the band has played.  Sadly, this was the last time I was able to see Leroi Moore as the next year, Charlotte would be the first show without him and with Jeff Coffin.  When I want to hear Roi play, this is the show I listen to.  The jams were solid all night.  Beautiful weather, great set, great people, ton of energy.  All time favorite.  Check out: Dreaming Tree, Typical Situation, Loving Wings, and American Baby Intro.

Best of the rest:

11.) 9/4/10 The Gorge
12.) 6/26/11 Atlantic City
13.) 12/22/12 Philadelphia, PA
14.) 7/8/11 Chicago Caravan
15.) 11/19/10 Charlottesville, VA
16.) 6/17/12 Virginia Beach, VA
17.) 9/5/10 The Gorge
18.) 8/20/11 Charlottesville, VA 
19.) 6/12/09 SPAC
20.) 8/7/08 Virginia Beach, VA
21.) 7/9/11 Chicago Caravan
22.) 6/24/11 Atlantic City
23.) 6/16/06 SPAC
24.) 11/6/10 Philadelphia, PA
25.) 7/2/05 SPAC
26.) 12/14/12 Charlottesville, VA
27.) 8/14/07 SPAC
28.) 4/18/09 Charlottesville, VA
29.) 7/14/12 Star Lake
30.) 7/1/08 Charlotte, NC
31.) 7/23/10 Nationals Park
32.) 12/1/12 Meadowlands, NJ
33.) 12/12/12 Raleigh, NC
34.) 6/16/12 Bristow, VA
35.) 9/18/07 Raleigh, NC
36.) 7/10/10 PNC Park Pittsburgh
37.) 7/2/08 Raleigh, NC
38.) 7/9/10 Hershey Park
39.) 4/24/09 Charlotte, NC
40.) 4/22/09 Raleigh, NC
41.) 4/17/09 Charlottesville, VA