Dave Matthews Band packed out the Walmart AMP in Rogers, AR this past steamy Wednesday, May 30th. The band of almost thirty years featured the majority of their original members including Dave Matthews (vocals and acoustic guitar), Stefan Lessard (bass), Carter Beauford (drums and vocals). This line-up also included the members Jeff Coffin (saxophone), Buddy Strong (keyboards), and Tim Reynolds (lead guitar). The original violin player, Boyd Tinsley, was notably missing after being let go from the band on May 18th.
DMB opened with the title track for their upcoming album Come Tomorrow to an eager crowd. While the sun set, the band ping-ponged from newer songs to classic, crowd pleasers including “Don’t Drink the Water,” “Satellite,” “Hello Again,” “Tripping Billies,” “Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin),” and “Louisiana Bayou.” During “Crash Into Me,” they interpolated “Dixie Chicken” lyrics by Little Feat, “you can be my Dixie Chicken, and I’ll be your Tennessee lamb.” Next they played, “Can’t Stop,” a song Dave described as “an old song and a new song” due to it being on both DMB’s upcoming studio album Come Tomorrow and their 2010 live album, Live at Wrigley Field. As the almost full moon began to shine down on the crowd, the band played “That Song Jane Likes” before Dave and drummer, Carter Beauford, beatboxed the intro of the moody song, “Minarets”.
The band continued with another new song from Come Together titled “Do You Remember” that Dave dedicated to his attending childhood friend. Of all the production that I saw during the show (did spend some time only able listen from the lengthy concession line), “Do Your Remember” had the most elaborate production with a projected animated scene that accompanied the song’s lyrics that described the nostalgic moments of summer’s past, from sunlight to summer love. The special guest and saxophone player, Ron Blake, came out to play the next two songs “What Would You Say” and “Lying in the Hands of God.” The band slowed it down with the jazzy, saxophone heavy song, “Lying in the Hands of God” where Ron Blake’s soulful playing could be highlighted. Dave added some drama to the ballad with an emotion packed scream. Jeff Coffin reclaimed his post and the band sped things up with the sing-along, “Funny the Way It Is”. Next, the band played “Recently,” a song Dave explained was one of the first he had recorded on tape at the age of twenty-one and showed to Carter Beauford before the two joined forces. The tight jam eventually led into a dissonant explosion of sound that quickly transitioned into a mashup of the songs “Pretty, Pretty Girl” and “Take Me to the River.” The band finished the nonstop, almost three hour set with “She,” “Crush,” and the lively “Stand Up (for It).” Finally, after enough time to cheer and go to the bathroom and back, the band encored with the feel-good, love song, “Stay (Wasting Time)”.
Admittedly, this steamy, Arkansas summer evening was my first time to see Dave Matthews Band live even though I have grown up familiar with the band’s music. While a killer show wasn’t a surprise, the show far exceeded my expectations. The cheesiness that I have associated with DMB’s studio albums was mostly stripped away with the band’s live performance. Dave kept the show rolling along with his ability to sing and play simultaneously through the transitions while his band blew minds with their tight jams and exclamation point finales. Dave’s stage presence and voice touched my soul, but his band is what made the DMB fandom finally click for me.
If you went to the show, look for an email from ticketmaster with a free download of the new album Come Tomorrow out June 8th.
Photo Credit: Jamie Seed
For more pics check out the Dave Matthews at the AMP photo gallery!