Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dave Matthews Band - November 13, 2007

In mid-October of 2007, Dave Matthews Band announced that they were playing the world’s largest pep rally for one lucky school via a contest held on their website. That school turned out to be West Point Academy in New York. In order to play a proper concert, Dave Matthews Band had to perform a warm up show the night before the concerts at West Point began. They chose the IZOD Center in New Jersey as their place, and I was lucky enough to score tickets.

It would be my second time seeing Dave Matthews in concert, and since my wife loathed the first time we saw them, I asked a friend at work to attend with me instead. She said yes and wanted to bring her friend along as well. It would be the three of us attending the concert on a chilly night in November.

I was so excited for this show. Since the first time that I saw them in concert, I had really gotten into the band. I purchased their back catalog, their live discs, and even ordered some of their Live Trax series. I knew almost all their catalog inside and out and knew how well they performed in concert. I was set for an amazing experience and could not wait for the night to begin.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band was the opening act and I knew what a great band they were, so I certainly wanted to be inside for their opening of the night. I told Val and her friend as much and they were in agreement, mostly because I think that Val wanted to get away from the guys they were hanging out with in the parking lot.

Once inside the IZOD Center, my anticipation grew and that dopey grin that never leaves formed at the corners of my mouth. Robert Randolph and the Family Band came out first and put on a short, tight performance that left me wanting more. Randolph is an incredibly skilled guitar player, and although I didn’t know any of the songs the band played, I knew that he was amazing and the set was excellent. He is someone that I need to become more acquainted with music-wise.

After a quick break and stage change, the lights went down and it was time for the main act. The beautiful horns of One Sweet World filled the air and a scream of excitement ripped through my throat. What an amazing song to open with!

One Sweet World was followed by one of my favorite DMB songs, You Might Die Trying and the night was off and running. With a back to back opener of those two songs, I just knew it was going to be a special night.

The band was also playing a new song that had been popular on Dave Matthews acoustic tour with Tim Reynolds. Corn Bread was performed live with the entire band and the full band version was a hundred times better than the acoustic one. With the added punch of horns, drums, and electric guitars, Corn Bread was an amazing foot stomper that I fell in love with that night.

My favorite songs just continued to be played. #41, Louisiana Bayou, and Jimi Thing made the night more than I could have hoped for, and of course I sang along with every song they played. It was an amazing concert and I was having a thrill to remember.

Robert Randolph came out as a special guest for a rousing rendition of All Along The Watchtower which the band just lit up! They were in perfect synch and on fire as they blistered their way through the Bob Dylan classic. Dave’s voice never sounded better as he shouted out the chorus, and Robert’s amazing talent on the lap guitar was stunning. I was in awe and at the end of that song, my jaw dropped. What could they possible follow that with?

For the encore, Dave came out and performed two acoustic numbers, a new song he had just composed (Round and Round) and Gravedigger from his solo album. Gravedigger sounded excellent live, with just Dave and his acoustic guitar, he worked the crowd and they enjoyed the live performance of that special song.

The band came back to finish off the night with Too Much and the timeless Ants Marching as the last two songs of the encore. Ants Marching had the entire arena screaming along. It was so loud that nothing else could be heard. The perfect blend of the band, the crowd, and the excellent melody of a wonderful song made for an incredible concert moment.

For my second time seeing Dave Matthews in concert, I was beyond impressed. If I had become a true fan after the first time I saw him and the band in concert, I was now a die-hard fan after this performance. I was sold and the Dave Matthews Band was quickly moving up my list of all time favorite bands.

One Sweet World
You Might Die Trying
Grace is Gone
Corn Bread
Eh Hee
Grey Street
A Dream So Real
# 41
Louisiana Bayou
The Dreaming Tree
Jimi Thing
All Along the Watchtower
# 27
Round and Round
Anyone Seen the Bridge?
Too Much
Ants Marching

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