Technology with attitude

Dave Matthews Band closes tour with two hometown gigs

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Photo Credit: Jenn Bowman

Industry veterans the Dave Matthews Band brought their current tour to a satisfying close this weekend by playing two consecutive nights at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Known for their energetic live sets, the band always seems to have something extra special in store for Charlottesville, since it is their hometown. The band packed the venue for both performances, and although I was only able to attend on Saturday night, I queued with people who had come from as far as Jersey City, NJ. Indeed, since the announcement that the Charlottesville dates would be the band’s last before taking a break from touring that will last for at least a year,  fans seemed to grasp the significance of the occasion and many felt that any distance traveled was more than worthwhile.

Ultimately, Saturday’s set saw the band playing for more than three and a half hours, and indulging their audience with two encores. Thanks to the band’s extensive repertoire of songs,  they almost never play the same song two nights in a row. True to form, they drew from all of their major studio releases, and threw in some rare selections to incite frenzied enthusiasm throughout the audience.

I was particularly pleased with the inclusion of “The Song That Jane Likes,” a standout from the band’s Remember Two Things debut. Keeping spoken word to a minimum as usual, Matthews prefaced the song with a simple yet immensely meaningful statement: “I have a sister named Jane…”. And with that, the arena’s patrons  erupted with a combination of shock, excitement and appreciation. Regardless of personal preference, most fans could recognize the significance of the song choice, given the fact that it is played so infrequently.

Caught up in the joy of musicianship, the band members’ individual talents came to the forefront during all of the frequent instrumental jams which populated the majority of the setlist. Tribute was paid to late band member Leroi Moore before “Lying In The Hands Of God”, and “Why I Am.”  Both tracks are featured on the band’s latest effort “Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King,” with the latter often mentioned as being a particular favorite of Moore’s.

Near the end of the night, Matthews admitted to wondering “What the hell am I doing, man?” after reaching a full realization that the end of the tour was near. Although their temporary absence in the live music scene will be felt by myself along with legions of fellow fans, I couldn’t have imagined a more fitting way to top off a job well done.

In closing, I must send a heartfelt thanks to all the live show tapers who’ve continuously used their skills and equipment to allow me to relive my favorite concert moments over and over again through the years. With their help, I was able to legally download the show here less than 24 hours after it occurred.