I’m on a flight back to San Francisco from Chicago where I saw Dave Matthews close his U.S. Summer Tour at Wrigley Field last night. This was my 41st show, and they played #41 which is my favorite song out of their entire catalog. I have been known to do some crazy things to feed my healthy (yeah, right) addiction to one of the best bands of my generation. I attended my first Dave Matthews concert alone in 1995 at what used to be called Irvine Meadows. I flew to New York alone last year to see them open their tour at Madison Square Garden. I am going to Charlottesville in November because I want to see where it all began. I have seriously forked over more duckets than I care to admit just to see this funky band of extraordinarily gifted misfits. The answer is simple: that Dave Matthews is some gifted Devil.
Annie first introduced me to Dave Matthews in 1994 with the album Under the Table and Dreaming. We listened to the CD on repeat and I was hooked. Katy and I used to sing ‘Ants Marching’ in the car. Kate and I knew all of the words to ‘Too Much.’ ‘Crash’ was my song with Heather. I went to D.C. to see Dave with Siobhan and we sang and danced to ‘Everyday’. It was sweet to watch Kristen get all teary while still cutting a rug at her first concert. ‘The Idea of You’ is perfect for my 20 year old romance with Jen, the love of my life. I turned Erica, a hardcore Dave-hater, into a disciple after she heard ‘The Last Stop.’ Janet turned to me after her first concert in 2008 after just two songs and said ‘Okay, now I get it.’
I was there when LeRoi Moore passed away unexpectedly in Los Angeles in 2008. Dave opened the show and played a very heartbroken version of ‘Bartender’ that had the entire Staples Center in tears. That night we mourned Roi by playing all of his favorite songs. By the second night, Dave played all of Roi’s least favorite songs and that humor helped us all heal and accept that our friend Roi was gone forever. And then a turning point came. Roi’s passing caused a rift in the band and they took a year off. Thank God for Stefan Lessard who persuaded the band to stay together and then finish recording Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King.
This album was a game changer. The millions of DMB fans who had been following them religiously and fanatically for 15-20 years doubled. Even Rolling Stone breathed a sigh of relief. Like this was the album everyone knew they could produce. Um, that’s just fine and all. But where have you people been for the past 20 years? These bad-ass bitches have been making killer music all along, but you just chalked them up to just another college band. Until now. Blasphemy!
Some idiot last night asked me if I had heard ‘Alligator Pie’ because he said “it’s the worst song ever.” I told him he needed a Q-Tip and then asked what else he liked. “Oh I like ‘Shake Me Like a Monkey’ and ‘Funny The Way It Is.’” This guy had never heard anything else from their catalog of music, but like most new “fans,” he thinks he knows everything because he’s now in on the Dave Matthews Band secret. I’m inspired by this new found interest in my boys and I’m so very thrilled that the rest of the world is finally getting it. Just don’t be talking smack when you’ve only heard 3 songs, or else Some Devil will get stuck inside of you. And you’ll never set it free. Trust me, that’s a very, very good thing.