Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Music Marathon, Day 5: Dave Matthews Band

Press PLAY to hear Dave Matthews at one of my favorite places, Central Park in New York City.

A pot of cool water heated to a rolling boil.  Dave Matthews' concert Tuesday at USANA Amphitheater in West Valley City, Utah was just that.  The evening began when Dave appeared onstage briefly to introduce the warm up artist, Brett Dennen, and to apologize, profusely, for two consecutive years of canceled concerts in Utah.  My what a sexy voice he has.  After all the previous ticketholders were compensated with replacement tickets to this concert, the rest of the tickets were available free, well, except for those being sold by scalpers in front of the gates.  I heard about prices ranging from $5 to $20 for scalped lawn seats. Not a bad deal.
A couple women wanted to get a close up look at Dave Matthews.  "I heard he's good looking," she said.   Meanwhile my new friend and I were still rehashing the Trace Adkins stage entrance (and analyzing our unseemly teen gawking behavior).  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ... just sayin'.
After a longer than usual break between the warm up and main event, Matthews and his band finally appeared and opened with "Squirm" against a backdrop of serene blue lighting.  "What? No heavy hitting, face-paced number with excessive stage lighting, fireworks or streamers to energize the crowd?" I kept saying.  I was worried, after having given away two tickets myself, that my amigos would be sorry they gave up hiking in Red Butte Gardens to join the throng of humanity on the lawn.  But, alas, I was wrong.
Instrumental domination was the order of the evening, and it's not surprising.  I recall hounding Matthews' website last summer after his cancellation at USANA.  "Vocal cord rest on doctor's orders" was the reason given for his pulling out of the Utah event.  Maybe in spite of artistic finesse, it's impossible to persist with singing at full tilt for years and concerts and events and albums and maybe even singing in the shower.  And it's great to have heard Dave and Co. in their 20th summer tour, as he and the band are taking next year off.  This, after selling over 11 million tickets to 547 shows from 2000-2009, according to Billboard Boxscore.  Not a bad track record.
Any "doubting Thomas" opinions I might have formed after the first song were replaced with awe at Matthews' ability to build and manipulate the energy in the crowd.  I was up on the lawn with my concert posse and watched, dancing along with the wall to wall mass of concert attendees.  We literally watched the multitude crescendo along with the band during the two-and-a-half hour jazz-fest.  Actually, the band's roots hail from other genres - classical, soul, bluegrass, hip-hop, and rock - all of which were incorporated into the lineup.
The signature "Ants Marching" was the last number before the band's first exit.  The encore was "Sister" and nine-plus minutes of  "Two Step."  As the fanfare of a spectacular grand finale - non-stop lights and electric pizzazz - set the crowd on fire, my attention was on the bass saxophone.  The depth of tone and rhythm were equally extraordinary. I felt the surreal vibration of the music going through me with every beat.

Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain
We're climbing two by two
To be sure these days continue
These things we cannot change

I left USANA realizing what a master Matthews is.  His music is top notch, and his ability to put a trance on the capacity crowd, including me, was nothing short of magical.


Disclosure: I was a volunteer at this concert. I received NO compensation for this review.

No comments:

Post a Comment