It doesn’t matter if Dave Matthews has a new album cooking(he does but it’s not close to completion) or not, he just wants to play. It’s in his blood. I imagine Matthews sitting in his Seattle home and fidgeting through several cups of coffee after driving his girls to school and taking care of his other son, and getting dancing nancies running through his mind. Sooner or later, he picks up a notepad and scribbles down a playlist. It’s good, but not as good as it could be, so he starts over. Another pot of coffee is made and he is at it again. This time, the playlist is perfect and there is only one thing to do. Get the band together and play.
On May 11th, Matthews and his band will kick off their 25th anniversary tour in Wichita, Kansas and plow through a schedule that takes them from the Midwest to the East coast and back to the West Coast, finishing at The Gorge in late September. All summer long. That’s the only way DMB knows how to do it.
When you go see Dave Matthews Band live, it’s an experience. I’ve seen DMB perform live six times, and that includes two different baseball stadiums. Unlike some live bands who simply show up and fulfill a contractual agreement, DMB gets on stage and plays like they don’t want to leave. Originating from Charlottesville, Virginia, Matthews and company have been at this for over 20 years and don’t want to stop anytime soon. This summer, they will embark on tour and it will stop in St. Louis at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in May.
Your favorite bands aren’t exactly ones you listen to every day. They are the ones you trust that when needed, they can lift you up no matter what with their voice and ability to play. For me, it’s the Dave Matthews Band. Like any well known band, they have their lovers and their haters. The happy crowd easily outpaces the negative group, because if not the stadiums, arenas and outdoor pavilions wouldn’t be packed. Every time they go on tour, the crowds are enormous and when you are inside this crowd, it’s not like a bored table reading or orchestra snooze fest. This isn’t Yanni or Michael Bolton. When I saw DMB at Busch Stadium, people were dancing in the middle of the aisles in front of you. If you looked up to the loge, they were shaking up there as well. All over. This band gets you moving. For 25 years, that’s been their promise. A good time.
Great bands transcend studio album work into a live experience. The true test of any band is how they sound live. Anybody can sit up in a studio and a producer can find a good sound and make their music shiny and whole. Live, there is no safety net. The band is thrown into the abyss of public review and if they aren’t good, crickets will be heard. Trust me, I’ve heard a band get something worse than boos. Utter silence.
For DMB, it’s always been an experience live. In a new digital driven age of Justin Biebers and Miley Cyrus’, Matthews and his crew’s authenticity is welcome. It could be Boyd Tinsley on the violin, rocking with Matthews on “Two Step”. It could be Carter Beauford cranking the drums on “#41”. Local STL guitar wizard Tim Reynolds teasing the crowd that he may have 15 fingers when he spins the finale of “Lie in Our Graves”. Jeff Coffin, who replaced LeRoi Moore on the sax eight years ago, gets involved with bassist Stefan Lassard on a tune. Rashawn Ross adds his own element of surprise on the trumpet.
For Matthews, his motto is simple. When Rolling Stone asked him what the idea was this summer, if anything is different, Matthews was quick to answer. “We’re trying not to suck.”
That’s fine by me. Dave Matthews Band comes to St. Louis on May 29th. Go see them. Take a friend. You won’t be disappointed.