Dave Matthews Band did not disappoint
Going into the weekend, plenty of friends texted, e-mailed and simply asked if I was excited for Dave. Um, yeah.
I've been a Dave Matthews Band fan for quite some time. I saw the band in the Cities at the Target Center several years ago. I paid a chunk of change for crappy seats. We couldn't even see the band, really, just the giant speakers, and if it were not for the JumboTron screen, it would have been a complete waste.
So this year, armed with press credentials (a nice perk), I was going to see the band for free this time around. Being in our backyard though, I likely would have bought them if need be.
A few of us got to the 10KLF grounds early to do a little shopping (yes, I bought a Loki sweatshirt where the sleeves turn into mittens. I was worried I would need it that evening!) and be able to get a good spot for the actual concert.
Realizing the concert was to start in about 15 minutes, a friend and I made our way down to the concrete, standing room only section. Amazingly we got a nice spot -- not too far back, not too close, not too crowded.
It was a nice crowd. No shoving, no angry people pushing their way around. Free love, as my friend would say.
Typical of any concert though, there were beachballs floating by, and my favorite, a huge turkey. In my mind, it was in honor of Frazee's Turkey Days just down the road.
Starting only 5 minutes late, the band hit the stage with a boom, belting out the high energy "Shake Me Like a Monkey" off their new album, "Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King."
As the night progressed, Matthews spent little time working the crowd, but rather stuck to his job as musician. If I had to pick at this, that was my only letdown, and I wouldn't even call it a letdown. But, I would have loved to hear more Dave talk between songs.
In fact, there were moments between songs that the stage lights would dim briefly. I could hear one particular concertgoer near me repeatedly telling the band to "play something!" Patience, people, patience.
The nearly three-hour set was filled with some older ("Seek Up" and "Pantala Naga Pampa"), some newer ("Alligator Pie" and "You and Me") and some covers ("All Along the Watchtower" and "Burnin' Down the House").
Band members Boyd Tinsley (violin), Carter Beauford (drums) and Stefan Lessard (bass) got their moments in the spotlight as well, performing solos.
Several musicians traveled along were introduced and highlighted as well, including long-time collaborator Tim Reynolds.
There were some jams thrown in, some fancy footwork from Matthews and a very brief remembrance of former band member LeRoi Moore, who died earlier this year in an ATV accident, before "Why I Am."
While none of my Top Three must-hears, nor my friend's, were played, I couldn't have asked for a better concert. Whether it was free or not.