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5 Questions from This Weekend’s Dave Matthews Band Show

Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band rolled into PNC Pavilion and playeda three-hour set on Saturday. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

It’s safe to say the live music season is fully back up and running when Dave Matthews Band rolls into town for a sold-out show in the middle of summer. Performing for roughly three hours, DMB performed an array of hits, new tunes and old rarities for an enthusiastic crowd at Charlotte’s PNC Music Pavilion.

I left Saturday night’s show with a handful of questions in mind.

1. Have people forgotten what it’s like to be at a concert?

From the woman across the aisle from me trying to sing along to a brand-new song to the dude in front of me throwing up the sign of the horns (pinky and index finger raised) while probably meaning to put the thumb out for I love you, the crowd’s energy was high for the duration of the show, if a bit misguided at times. I also wonder if the sound tech was sleeping because Jeff Coffin’s sax was too quiet too often.

Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band in action. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
2. How long will this crowd energy last?

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being in a crowd of nearly 20,000 people as they sing along to every word of most songs. The words carried a bit more weight — probably by accident — on Saturday night when some many words reminded me of the last 18 months going through the worldwide pandemic. The band’s second song was “When the World Ends.” “You and Me” held strong emotions as the crowd belted out, “You and me, together, we can do anything.” “Space Between” was a quick reminder that there was zero social distancing in the crowd. “Tripping Billies” had the crowd dancing to “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” I’m sure there’s plenty more I missed…

3. Does Dave Matthews’ band get enough credit?

No one really talks about the rest of the band members. Carter Beauford is a beast behind the drum kit. Stefan Lessard drives grooves with the bass. Rashawn Ross is outstanding on trumpet. Jeff Coffin had moments of brilliance on the horns. The Bela Fleck and the Flecktones horn player found plenty of moments to shine. However, it seems guitarist Tim Reynolds is too often in the shadows. Reynolds often tours on his own and the next time TR3 is in town, he’s worth checking out.

Dave Matthews Band
Tim Reynolds of Dave Matthews Band. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
4. What’s wrong with Kermit the Frog?

I often hear that people don’t like Dave Matthews because he sounds like Kermit the Frog. At times, I could hear it, but then my thought became, “Why do people hate Kermit the Frog?” It’s not easy being green.

5. What does the band say to each other?

Years ago, during an interview with Questlove of The Roots, the drummer told me about Dave and the band wearing microphones during shows so they can talk to each other and Dave is often cracking jokes. It’s not easy to miss the microphone on Matthews’ shirt or seeing the band banter between songs and crack each other up. Where’s the behind-the-scenes documentary sharing the highlights of all those conversations?

Like him or not, on a hot July night in Charlotte, Dave Matthews Band rolled into town for a sold-out concert and showed nearly 20,000 fans that live music is truly back. It remains to be seen if musicians and crowds alike can maintain the momentum going forward.

Dave Matthews Band
Letting out a Kermit-ish yelp. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
Setlist:

Seek Up
When the World Ends
Satellite
Sweet Up and Down
So Much to Say
Too Much
Walk Around the Moon
You & Me
You Never Know
Where Are You Going
Squirm
Funny the Way It Is
Lying in the Hands of God
American Baby Intro
Raven
If Only
Seven
The Space Between
Rooftop
Tripping Billies

Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews of… Dave Matthews Band. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
Encore:

Singing From the Windows
Don’t Drink the Water
Shake Me Like a Monkey


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One Comment

  1. We see DMB every year! I thought his set list was great! He still has the energy and it’s a nice mixture of 25 years of this genius music! My only complaint is the VIP parking has gone to 60 bucks a car and I understand the virtual tickets but not taking cash at the beer lines or vendors was ridiculous! Same thing last weekend in Franklin TN. No cash and virtual tickets only. Can’t wait until GVF comes to Charlotte! We can’t depend on our smartphones for everything. Some people can’t get service when it’s crowded. People pay hard working money to see these gigs. Need to make it user friendly! Crash! Is 25 years old!

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