posted on July 12, 2012 12:43
On an almost perfect Summer evening in St. Louis, The Dave Matthews Band brought their annual pilgrimage to town for a much anticipated show on their 39 stop tour after a year-long hiatus. Legions of DMB faithful filled Verizon Wireless Amphitheater for a great mix of familiar DMB staples and some old classics that were sure to please the "hardcore" fans of this band.
The 7 piece band, led by front-man Dave Matthews took the stage around 8:20 to a massive ovation from fans welcoming back to the stage they had not played since 2010. The 18 song, nearly 3 hour set exploded out of the gate with the huge sounds of "Don't Drink The Water" which set the tone early. The soft sounds of "Proudest Monkey" segued into the radio hit "Satellite" as it usually does and both were played to almost spot on perfection. Energy was stepped up a notch as "Eh Hee" and "Shake My Like A Monkey" tore through the venue like an explosion of light and sound next. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful production that accompanies this band on each and every tour. It seems to get bigger and better each year led by mastermind production designer Fenton Williams and really adds a huge element to the show.
The set felt a slight lull during "Lying In The Hands of God" and "Spaceman" but that was quickly stomped out with the old classics "The Song That Jane Likes" and an absolutely stellar version of "Crush" which was probably one of the best songs of the night. Bassist Stefan Lessard led into the song with a big bass intro and a cool little slice of "The Cave" by Mumford and Sons while violinist Boyd Tinsley put his goodness all over it with quite a solo to work the crowd into a near frenzy.
The smooth sounds of "Mercy" was up next as the laid back mood and the always wonderful voice of Matthews echoed throughout the venue with great accompaniment from the horn section of Rashawn Ross and Jeff Coffin who were spot on the entire night. A song from Dave's 2003 solo release was up next as "So Damn Lucky" bled into a partial (and awesome) version of the DMB rarity "Digging A Ditch" and was surely a set highlight. The intensity was brought up next as the big sounds "You and Me" from 2009's Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King brought the venue up and singing.
One of the coolest portions of the show was up next as the DMB staple "Jimi Thing" was played to ear splitting perfection. The crowd took the first verse of the song in one of the best sing-along's I have heard in a long time at Verizon. Each member of the band was featured with a fantastic solo and St. Louis native Tim Reynolds was absolutely shredding it out on guitar as has come to be expected. The scats from Dave and the extended jam make this song great, and it was most assuredly the same on this night even with a little funk of "Sexy Motherfucker" by Prince mixed in for good measure. Quite a party vibe during this one.
The band cleared the stage next as only Dave and his acoustic guitar to perform a simple, yet fantastic version of "The Space Between" which surely brought the couples in the crowd a little closer together for a brief moment. The classic "Typical Situation" was next and it probably was the song of the night. With a soft start and an absolutely electric round of solos to finish, everything about it was spot on. Definitely a wonderful version in every respect. As time grew short, the band closed up the main set with a standard, but always great version of the DMB anthem "Ant's Marching" as they left the stage to thunderous applause and screams from their adoring fan-base.
A short time later, bassist Steffan Lessard returned to the stage alone for a laser backed version of The Star Spangled Banner played solely on bass guitar which led almost seamlessly into a classic cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" to close out the show a little after 11pm. With that, the band thanked their fans and exited the stage.
It struck me in watching this band for the 11th or 12th time not only how much fun they always look to be having, but how much their music resonates with people and the community vibe of each and every show. It seems that at a DMB experience, everyone is there to have fun and enjoy together as one. There is always a peaceful and loving feeling around this band and their fans and that is what music is all about. If you have never had the opportunity to check out the Dave Matthews Band, I would implore you to do so. There is no band in music today that is doing it quite this good.
SETLIST - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Wednesday Jul 11 2012
Don’t Drink the Water
Shake Me Like a Monkey
Lying In the Hands of God
The Song That Jane Likes
So Damn Lucky
(Digging a Ditch)
You and Me
The Space Between * Dave Solo
Stefan Solo (Star Spangled Banner)
All Along The Watchtower
(song name) indicates a partial song
indicates a segue into next song
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