My First Dave Matthews Band Experience

Dave Matthews Band
Toyota Park – Bridgeview, IL

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I have loved Dave Matthews Band since the first time I heard that huge hit – Crash Into Me – on the radio when I was in middle school. But believe it or not, I had never seen them in concert before Friday night. I was blown away by their musicianship and laid-back performance. I immediately sensed that this concert was going to be less of a rock concert and more of a jam session. Albeit a jam session with almost 28,000 screaming people watching. Not sure about all of you who have seen DMB in concert before, but I could tell that Dave Matthews and Co. do what they do because they LOVE to play music together and not for any other reason.

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Coincidently, I had just watched a documentary film in class last Tuesday called Before The Music Dies, which featured interviews with Dave Matthews himself as well as live concert footage from one of the band’s shows. After watching the movie, I was somewhat prepared for what a DMB show would entail. Which is to say that their songs are a little longer than most band’s. The guys just play and play and play! There is more instrumental improvisation and taking turns soloing than there is actual singing. One thing I know for sure though, is that the DMB fans LOVE this band and don’t care how long the songs last. Everybody was seriously rocking out nonstop.

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I actually own just two DMB albums, so only the songs on those records are familiar to me. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy DMB’s music, I just don’t remember each song by its title. No set list for me, so I can only tell you which songs they played that I know:

Crash Into Me
Ants Marching
Too Much

I was hoping they would play two of my other favorites: Satellite and What Would You Say – but alas, they did not.  Oh well, there is always next time.

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The coolest thing I noticed about Dave Matthews Band is their entrance when they go on stage. Normally, at every concert I have attended, there is some big dramatic start of the show when the artist is about to hit the stage. The lights go off, the crowd screams so loud you have to plug your ears, etc. But with DMB, the guys just casually stroll onto the stage from the side once the instruments have been tuned and all technology is ready to go. As I was prepping my camera in the photo pit, waiting for the big dramatic entrance, I look up to see Dave Matthews slowly walking towards center stage and scanning the audience. He just kinda was looking around, nodding in appreciation of his fans, and waving at people! It was refreshing to see musicians who care more about the music they are about to play than making some grand entrance worthy of a red carpet and papparazzi – like most artists these days.

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The energy I felt from the people around me was contagious. It was like a HUGE outdoor family reunion, which just happened to take place in a 28,000 person capacity outdoor soccer stadium that David Beckham has played in against the Chicago Fire. Fans who were complete strangers to each other before the show were practically best friends by the last song. Not joking around here. With all the beer being chugged, margaritas being sipped, and weed being smoked, all of us (the fans) bonded like there was no tomorrow.

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Tim Reynolds, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, was on hand at the show as a guest electric guitarist with DMB. Stefan Lessard is the band’s original bass player. It was fun to see all the guys watching each other play and improvise solos. It was obvious that they all respect each other’s playing tremendously and love to let everybody have their moment to shine. And trust me, there are plenty of moments to shine during a DMB concert. All the guys get their turn to show off.

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By the end of the night, everybody (of drinking age that is) was completely hammered and having a blast. I had never seen so many “bros” in one contained area before in my life – haha! Dave Matthews Band is just a good time, no doubt about it. If you want to party, make sure you go see DMB when they play a city near you, which should be quite often, seeing as how this band tours every year! There is always a summer Dave Matthews Band tour in America, so you will always have the chance to see them live. I can’t wait until they come back to Chicago!

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  1. Claire says:

    I’m glad that DMB puts the music first and that is obvious by the way they enter the stage and take turns highlighting one another’s solos~that is so awesome!

  2. david b. says:

    Wow! Sounds like an amazing concert, wish I was there! I have great respect for DMB and their music and sounds like they know how to put on a show. Seriously great action photos! Next time you are going to see them again let me know!

  3. Alli says:

    enjoyable to read your experience. i’ve never been to a DMB show myself but have many of their albums. i’ve seen lots of concert footage however. doesn’t dave make some great faces!? very nice photos!

  4. I remember working a Dave Matthews concert and seeing all the drunk Dave fans try and get up from the lawn and walk to their cars. My question is how hammered did Dave look by the end? ;-)

  5. Actually Jess, I don’t think Dave was drinking at all during the show. Maybe before, but def not during. Nobody on stage was drinking actually. Not even water! It was just song after song after song…

  6. I remember I had to fetch the man 6 bottle of McCullan’s Scotch for one show. That man was toasted on stage, of course that was the year of the whole dumping in the Chicago River incident.

  7. Rihanna says:

    Wow! Great concert!!!Before My friend and I used to attend their concertseven their tickets are often sky high; Now we found a site where we can compare tickets prices for FREE in order to save some Dollars!!!

  8. D says:

    Just so you know – Tim Reynolds is a guitarist who has toured multiple times with just he and Dave playing two acoustic guitars and has repeatedly guested with the band (Winter 98 tour, Before These Crowded Streets album). This year, he’s on board for the whole summer tour as an electric guitarist.

    Also, Two Step was not played in Chicago. Check out if you want to see your full setlist.

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  1. […] This is called posting on the run. I thought I would throw some teaser pictures up for all of your Dave Matthews fans. See our Dave Matthews coverage when they hit Chicago earlier this year with LeRoi here. […]

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