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Dave Matthews Band shines at 10,000 Lakes

Dave Matthews kicks a beach ball back to the crowd at the start of his performance Saturday night at the Soo Pass Ranch outside of Detroit Lakes, Minn., as part of the 10,000 Lakes Festival. Bassist Stefan Lessard is at right. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Troy Duncan liked Todd Snider's set Saturday afternoon at the 10,000 Lakes Festival, but he was really at the event for Dave Matthews Band's first outdoor show in Minnesota. It would be Duncan's 40th DMB show, a habit he picked up when he was 16. Now 27, the DJ at KROC FM in Rochester, Minn., has traveled as far as Utah, Texas and Florida to see America's most popular jam band.

"It's the highlight of my summer. I plan around his tours," Duncan said. "The concert is always the main event, but the travel and the journey make the trip."

DMB headlined the final night of the four-day 10,000 Lakes. Festival organizers hoped the DMB-topped bill, which also featured headliners Wilco and two nights of the Georgia-based band Widespread Panic, would set a festival record and draw more than 20,000 fans, but co-producer Chyrll Sparks estimated about 17,000 in attendance, 1,000 short of the record.

Still, Sparks was happy with how the festival came off.

"This has been the most trouble-free, enjoyable 10,000 Lakes Festival ever," she said about 30 minutes before Matthews hit the stage. Three concertgoers died in the previous two events.

"We've got a good audience to build on," Sparks said. "In two years the show will be as big as WE Fest."

The three-day country music event, which starts Aug. 6, averages about 50,000 fans.

10,000 Lakes fans weren't the only ones with Matthews on their minds.

The Los Angeles-based, Latino-flavored rock group Ozomatli sent their love out to the singer/guitarist, "even though we used to scalp his tickets when we opened for him," a member said from the stage.

The group played the smaller Field Stage earlier in the day, leading the crowd in chanting "Ozomatli, yo se fuey," roughly translated as "Ozomatli has left the building," singer/saxophonist Asdru Sierra said after the show.

They didn't so much leave the building as they hopped off the stage and into the crowd to play a New Orleans funeral-like processional as fans gathered around dancing and chanting.

"When can you merengue in Minnesota?" asked new fan Tricia Fossum.

Just as Ozomatli was getting its groove on, Canadian singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards was playing a mellow set of acoustic folk rock up the hill at the Barn Stage.

"Are you excited to see Dave Matthews?" she asked between songs to a crowd that was mostly sitting or lying down. "Or are you too high to see Dave Matthews?"

High or not, the crowd cheered wildly when Matthews and his group strolled on stage shortly after 8:30. They kicked the expected three-hour set off with "Shake Me Like a Monkey" off the group's newest disc, "Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King."

David Jacobson stood at the back of the main floor, gently swaying to the music. The Minneapolis man had just seen Matthews on Wednesday in New York and in Alpine Valley, Wis., the week before. The fan will catch his 28th show with the group next month in West Palm Beach, Fla. Still, Jacobson wasn't about to miss DMB's first outdoor show in his home state.

"This is great," he said during the group's lengthy jam into its second song, "Seek Up." "If you're a fan and you're in Minnesota and you're not here, you're not a fan."