All praise Dave Matthews and his band

I have never attended a religious revival before.

I’ve heard that people dance uncontrollably in the aisles, some speak incoherently, while others just begin to cry.

Tuesday night’s Dave Matthews Band concert at the Cricket Pavilion featured all of this plus great music.

As soon as I walked into the amphitheater, the band just starting playing “Dreamgirl,” the new single from their most recent album Stand Up. The stage was lit with bright white light, and I found myself caught in the moment thinking, “Yes! I want to repent!”

The slow melodic tune kept the over packed swaying, staring at Dave and the band like they were gods, and just plain mellow. He had us and wouldn’t let go.

After “Dreamgirl” ended, the band gave us a moment to reflect. They then busted out with “Stand Up” and all of Cricket Pavilion was on their feet. The amphitheater shook from all of the dancing, stomping, clapping, and screaming of all the band members names, like the crowd was speaking in tongues.

The Dave Matthews Band is not as much as band as it a machine. The pauses in between each song were short enough for Dave to grab a new guitar and start in with a new tune. He rarely took time out to talk to the crowd except for the occasional thanks.

The show featured a mix of the band’s old and new material. A fan a few seats down told me that he was generally happy with the mix but was worried because Dave was doing some solo projects. Once the band broke into “Crash,” a song I actually knew a gist of the words to, the fan looked at me and said “Time for a beer run.”

With “Crash,” the band didn’t quite have the control they thought they once had on the crowd. Sure there were people singing along, but like the fan from a few seats over, there was a mad dash to either the restroom or the bar for more frosty beverages.

Mixed in between the songs were some great solos by each member of the band. I was told that drummer Carter Beuford was one of the best around, and he didn’t disappoint.

By far, though, the star of the show was the fiddler Boyd Tinsley. He must have sold his soul to the devil because he played like he was possessed. He fiddled so hard and fast the he broke a string or two on his bow. Unfortunately, whoever was running the video monitors didn’t favor Tinsley too much. Every time the screen was on him, it would quickly change to the drummer, and fans were robbed of seeing a master at work.

The one guy who seemed not to get in any of the love was woodwinds master Leroi Moore. It felt like he played a total of 30 minutes out of the entire two-and-a-half-hour set. He mainly stayed in the shadows and wasn’t really used unless needed. I wish I could have seen more of his talent with the array of instruments he had set up.

The second half of the show flew buy with the same mix of old and new material. The funniest part of the entire show came during the waiting period just before the encore. The band just finished playing “Ants Marching” and made their exit. While the fans were chanting for the band to come back, people not only starting putting their lighters in the air, but a sea of cell phone backlights also flooded the amphitheater. Blue radiation poured from the palms of about 75 per cent of the people. After about 10 minutes and a horde of dead cell phone batteries, Dave Matthews Band made their re-entry and sent the fans home happy.

Originally appeared in the entertainment and music sections on azcentral.com on August 31, 2005.

Posted: October 26th, 2009
Categories: Concert
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