Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dave Matthews Band - December 10, 2005

Madison Square Garden. The New York City venue where so much happens and anything can. The world’s most famous arena. This was the site of my first live experience with Dave Matthews Band.

I had only gotten into DMB earlier that year. My boss was a huge fan and she played and talked about them a lot. She even got my co-worker interested in their music, so he was constantly listening to them. I had their debut disc, but hadn’t paid much attention since. That changed, as hearing them more and more made me obtain their music. After hearing Listener Supported on a trip to Boston, I was hooked.

Touring behind Stand Up Dave and the boys were coming into the Garden on a Saturday night. After hearing so much about the type of concert they put on, I had to see it for myself. I talked my wife (not a fan of the band) into going with me, and we were all set. It was a lovely December evening in New York City and I was excited.

By the evening of the concert, I had amassed a pretty good collection of their music. Most of the studio albums and a lot of the live discs were in my possession. I did not have the new record though, so I knew there would be several songs played I wasn’t going to know.

Our seats were behind the stage in the 300s, but given the venue, they weren’t bad. We had a perfect view of the stage, just overlooking the back of the band instead of the front. It would provide a better view of Carter Beaufort.

The place went dark, the crowd went nuts (louder than any crowd I recall for a band taking the stage), the joints lit up, and the show began. They opened with Pantala Naga Pampa, which segued right into Rapunzel, My face glowed because this was one of my favorites and for an opening song it was a perfect live introduction.

My wife and I were surrounded by a bunch of younger concert attendees, mostly late teens, early 20s, kids in college. Of course that meant there was a lot of pot to be had. And I do mean a lot. I was getting such a contact high that it hurt my stomach and head. It never ceases to amaze me how MSG security just looks the other when people light up. Not that I cared about the weed, it was just a bit overwhelming.

It was quite obvious that my lovely wife was not into the show, but that didn’t stop me. I was having a night to remember. From the sweet saxophone sounds of #41, to the amazing notes of What Would You Say, I was enthralled and a true convert. DMB had just shot up on my list of all time favorite bands and threatened to get into the coveted top 5.

Toward the end of the show, Dave brought out a very special guest, Robert Randolph, whom I had never heard of. He was going to play with the band on Louisiana Bayou, a song I did not know since I had yet to purchase the new album.

Peering at the stage and hearing the first notes of this song, I knew something good was going to happen. This man was playing a guitar shaped like a keyboard while sitting in a chair. It was a metal, four-legged frame with strings across the top. It was one of the coolest instruments I ever witnessed. Then they went into the jam. At this point, my devoted wife was bored to tears, and she was only soldiering through because she could tell how happy I was. To me, this was an amazing moment that would be hard to repeat, ever.

During the Louisiana Bayou jam, Robert Randolph stood on his chair, still jamming his guitar/keyboard instrument. He then kicked the chair away and really wailed while kicking his feet out left and right and jumping around like a mad man. Dave joined in on the acoustic and Boyd Tinsley accompanied on the violin. LeRoi Moore blew on the sax and everyone was in synch, jamming, progressively getting louder and louder and louder. My jaw dropped. I was stunned. These guys were phenomenal.

The rarest treat of the night (although at the time I did not know it) came in the encore when the band played Halloween. Apparently this is a rarely performed gem and from the crowd roar reaction during the opening notes, it’s a fan favorite as well. Having never heard the song before then, I was extremely impressed and knew I would have to get it for my collection.

That left one more song to leave on. After a mind blowing version of Halloween, DMB decided to close with Ants Marching. The first song that I ever heard from them, the one that made me buy their debut disc oh so many years before. For me, it was a great way to close an amazing night. After two and a half hours of an incredible performance that most bands couldn’t even come close to matching, I was a new recruit into the serious fan section of the anomaly known as the Dave Matthews Band.

My wife? She was a new hater, and I do mean hater. To this day, playing Dave Matthews makes her cringe. The band certainly was not for her, and the concert was a painful endurance, but she survived. She just made sure to tell me that she would never attend another DMB show as long as she lived. And that’s all right. I wouldn’t invite her to one.

Pantala Naga Pampa
What Would You Say
# 41
One Sweet World
So Much To Say
Seek Up
Hunger For The Great Light
Dream Girl
Linus and Lucy
Stand Up
Jimi Thing
Smooth Rider
Louisiana Bayou
Christmas Song
Ants Marching

No comments: