Last night I took my Mom to see Dave Matthews. She loved it.
I walked through Verizon Amphitheater's parking lot around 7 p.m., only to be turned down at the gate. My tiny voice-recorder had apparently violated the venue's strict policies, so I trudged back through the crammed lot, passing tail-gaters and hula-hoopers on my way. This was a shame, especially since I planned on capping drunken one-liners that my accomplice was sure to spit out throughout the evening. Making cash off a bootleg is out now, too. I guess I'd better write a show review.
I went back to the gate to meet my mom, who was decked out in a Dave Matthews Band (referred to as DMB from hereon, as is customary) jersey from roughly ten years prior, and headed out to our seats. While she mused about her last DMB show, which, by her account, involved much more ecstacy (XTC?), we passed by crammed lines at the stands selling over-priced beer and wine.
"These aren't real hippies," my mom said, pushing past a distinctly decked out fan, who wore a headband of sunflowers above a dress with a tangerine hue. We missed Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, who I'm sure delivered a lovely show. I mean, how the hell else would a band be opening for the beloved DMB if they couldn't deliver?
We sat behind the pit, just left of center. The view and sound were clear, save for Dave's voice. I'm not sure if his accent tends to muddle the words or if Verizon's system had him mixed low, but lyrics were mostly indiscernible from start to finish. Constant crowd-sourced singing seemed to fill the gap, but there's no doubt new fans had a hard time following along.
DMB started the set with a sticky groove, reaching through with guitar, violin and horn solos. Each subtle shift was met with resounding "whooos," which only multiplied through the show's end. In fact, "whooo girls" were out in full effect last night, working as DMB's secret instrument, and signaled crowd approval.
"I haven't smelled any pot yet," my mom said, surprised and a little disappointed. By the end of "Tripping Billies," the second song, a whiff of dead skunk passed by. "Oh, someone's got good shit over there." I'm still not sure if we were smelling an actual dead animal or not. My mom is cooler than I am.
"I hope you're havin' a pleasant evening," Matthews uttered on the mic. He smiled and waved, sporting the modest blue-collared look that no doubt helps him sell $11 cups of wine and $35 t-shirts. Suddenly, my mom had the urge to grab a drink and some merch, so we hit the stands. At this point, the show was in full effect, with full-color projections and crowd favorites, including a dense cover of Tom Petty's "Runnin Down A Dream," which featured the ever-present bitchin' guitar solo.
After grabbing some of Dave Matthews' precious "Dreaming Tree" wine, we headed back to our seats. Two 60-somethings, decked out in damn-near formal wear, had occupied the spots in our stead, and looked profoundly miffed when we shooed them off. As the show went on, the songs ebbed and flowed. The crowd clapped with some beats, swayed back and forth with others and somehow kept a steady stream of beach balls bouncing around overhead.
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