14 September 2003

I found out in May that DMB was coming here that September...and I was afraid tickets would already be sold out. They weren't quite. The only seats left were six rows from the back, which you can see from the lawn. So, I bought lawn tickets...and a month or so later, the concert was sold out. So, anyway!

We left an hour before the gates were supposed to open, because we wanted a good spot on the lawn, but counted on traffic and needed food. For the latter, we stopped at our local McDonald's, where we were greeted by a handwritten sign on the menu "GO TO FRIST WINDOW." After some deliberation, we went ahead to the frist window, where we hung out for about a full minute before giving up. We figured there were probably a bunch of restaurants near the amphitheater.

The trip was uneventful. Stopped at Wendy's beforehand, and got to the amphitheater about the time they were opening the gates. The lines were backed up, but that was pretty much expected. We got in and secured a nice spot. There was one girl in front of us, and we were kinda towards the left of the stage (left from our perspective, that is). It was about the same place we were at the last Pearl Jam concert.

Opening band was the Donavon Frankenreiter Band. I had to get this off of the DMB tour site (I can't remember the exact address, it's listed under music in my links though), because I never really caught it at the concert. I wasn't very impressed with them; Ken and I invented the mullet game relatively early into their set. This was prompted by a middle-aged man with a salt-and-pepper mullet that reached past his shoulders; he looked pretty ridiculous.

The mullet game quickly evolved as DFB's show didn't. A normal mullet is worth one point. A mullet with the top shaved (I think it's called a skullet) is worth two points. And a black person with a mullet means you get to take a point away from the opponent of your choice. Ultimately, the mullet game ended in a tie, 2-2. Sadly both of the mullets I saw were on women.

As for DFB, I had no feelings toward them either way until they made the token marijuana joke. I really don't think talking about weed makes you cool; in fact, quite the opposite. It was really stupid too, the guy said something about people in the grass, and "if you're sitting in it, I know you're smoking it!" And of course all the stoners cheered. The last song DFB played sounded kinda eastern, it had a pretty neat guitar outro. I liked it, but I'm not sure if it cancelled out the weed joke. Unfortunately I don't have much tolerance for those.

Dave Matthews Band
Setlist: Don't Drink the Water, I Did It, So Much to Say, Pantala Naga Pampa, Rapunzel, Crush, Bartender, If I Had it All, Satellite, Dancing Nancies, Warehouse, When the World Ends, Where are You Going, The Stone, Stay.
After Intermission: Spoon, Two Step.

There were a lot of songs I wanted to hear, but my top three were Crush, Grey Street, and Warehouse. Two out of three isn't so bad!

Anyway, like the list says, the band opened up with a very powerful and sudden Don't Drink the Water. Nothing like a jump start. The entire thing sounded really harsh, but not in a bad way at all. It just had a different tone to it than on the album version, or any of the other versions I've heard.

I Did It, I wasn't so into hearing. I don't care much for that song, and it was one of two or three that I was really hoping wouldn't be played. Not that it's a bad song, just that there are lots and lots of other songs I would have rather heard. It sounded good and all though, as did So Much to Say. Nothing much stood out about it, but it sounded great. After it, they played that little song between The Dreaming Tree and Spoon. I thought about how it would be neat to hear Spoon, but that it probably wouldn't get played...and I thought I was right, cos they went into Pantala/Rapunzel instead. I was a little surprised by the audience response on it, since I didn't think it was such a popular song.

There was a bit of a lull after Rapunzel, then Stefan Lessard took center stage and did a small bass solo type thing. I don't think people realize how talented that guy is. Anyway, it segued into Crush, much to my delight. What a great song. I anticipated the people cheering about "feeling high," but I was surprised by the response "drink some wine till we get drunk" generated. I guess getting drunk is one of Those Things that Those People talk about too. It just surprised me.

Bartender was next, Dave Matthews' voice was outstanding. Looking back, I think he might have strained his voice or something on this song. He kinda wasn't hitting the high notes so well on a few of the songs afterwards. Still sounded great though. They followed it with If I Had it All, which I found a little weak. Then again, I don't really like that song. I just think they could have found a better song to follow Bartender. Anyway, redemption was earned with Satellite, which was nice and laid-back, and got the expected response. Ken commented on how people for the most part were only cheering for well-known songs, and that it bothered him. I pretty much agreed, although I suspect that a lot of people just didn't like the album Everyday; a decent amount of the material was coming from it. I wondered idly what kind of response a song like Dancing Nancies would get.

And it didn't take long to find out, it was the next song they played. I was kinda surprised, but happy because I really do like that song. Boyd Tinsley had a crazy violin solo in it, it was great. The entire song was inspiring. And what followed it but...Warehouse! I wish I could have seen myself on the opening chords, I was grinning so big. Warehouse is so...electrifying...live. Also, they showed Lessard's hands when he did that cool slide progression thingy at the end of the chorus...I so wanted them to, but never thought they would. Really it was just because everyone I'd ever asked about it told me that he uses a whammy bar. But no, he doesn't! Take that, whoever it was that told me that!

So what did they follow it up with?! When the World Ends. I really have a problem with this song, after hearing the remix of it played in the credits of the Matrix Reloaded. It's hard for me to hear the song and not think of that terrible rendition. Also, I never cared much for the song anyway. It was kind of a let-down, but they followed it with another mellow relaxer, Where are You Going. A bit of redemption.

Then The Stone! I think if I had made a Top 5 Songs I Want to Hear list instead of a Top 3, The Stone would have made it. I think it's an excellent live song. Then again, I'm a sucker for songs that build up and evolve. From the length of the jam session at the end, I was almost sure it would be the closer. It was cool though, they just kinda faded away and waited long enough that I think a lot of people forgot about the part where they come back all strong...that was neat, they had the lights timed great with it.

Then Stay! That was a lot of fun, Butch Taylor and Carter Beauford were singing the part of the ladies I think. At first I just assumed that they had stock backup singers...Ken and I began asking each other who it was at almost exactly the same time. And we both suspected that it was those two. A couple of other people's reviews that I've read said the same, so I assume it's true. It was pretty comical, they actually sounded a little bit like the women. There was an extended jam at the end of Stay, by now I was certain that it was because this would be the closer. And it was.

I was pleasantly surprised to actually hear Spoon. Admittedly, it was missing a lot without Alanis Morisette and Bela Fleck's banjo. Of course, that's not to say that it wasn't good! I was happy to hear it, but I don't know if a lot of the audience was. Spoon is a cool-down song for me, it's relaxing and oddly comfortable. It was good live. While they were closing, Ken and I discussed what the closing song would be. My guess was Too Much, although I hoped that it would be something else...while I like it, I think there are many better choices. I don't remember what Ken thought.

Two Step worked though...like I said, I love buildup songs. The response to the violin at the beginning was immediate and overwhelming. The part after the non-album intro thingy (which seems to be pretty constant in the live versions, so I'll assume people know what I'm talking about here), where the bass and drums first come in...damn, it was so powerful. The sound hit me like a wall. The song ended up being close to twenty minutes long, if not more, and there were lots of solos and jamming for everyone. There were two drum solos, and they decided to close it with a keyboard solo. It was a great closing song.

My only thing about this concert was the jam sessions! I know that's what DMB is all about, but it seemed kinda overboard. While I was certainly more than happy with the way the night went, I honestly would have preferred a bit less jamming. Then, with that time, they could play a few more songs! But like I said, I'm content with the concert as it was. Just an afterthought!

We hung around the amphitheater for a while after they turned the lights back on, and watched the floods of people from the lawn funneling down the small staircases. Noticing a lot of lawn chairs lying around, we decided to collect them and try to get the $1 deposit back...a gold mine! But that could wait until the people left. So, we sat down in a couple of them, and noticed that a few other people shared our vision. They were quite zealous, one girl had about 20 of them draped over her arms. The thought occurred to me that we might need the ticket stubs, and if that were the case, we would be the fools for doing charity work. I pointed this out to Ken and he agreed that we should ask an usher. We found one eventually, and he told us that we did indeed need the ticket stubs. So, chuckling at the 20-chair girls, we just went back to my car.

And of course, the car was a resting point while we watched the nightmare that is amphitheater parking ensue. It wasn't quite as bad as it was at the Tool concert, but I swear, one guy must have laid on his horn for a straight minute...the guy in front of him couldn't even move. People are so stupid! We also noticed all the people playing DMB CD's in the parking lot, and agreed that we didn't like people who did that.

Anyway, we got home without anything dumb happening. And the concert was great! Yay!

.:: Virtual Mindscape ::.