Dave Matthews
Beverly Hills Regent Hotel, Beverly Hills, California
Graph of songs performed, by album
Where Are You Going
Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) (Neil Young cover)
All songs Dave solo

Note: This show was an awards ceremony for Neil Young given by The People for the American Way Foundation.

Wendy L.
The event was an awards ceremony fundraiser for the American Way Foundation, which was established by Norman Lear. Neil Young and others were being honored with the "Spirit of Liberty" awards. The venue was a huge ballroom, about 40 tables that seated 8 each. We were sitting pretty much as far back as they went, but since the outer tables were raised they were still good seats. Norman Lear gave opening remarks. It was an intensely political, liberal event, much bashing on Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. They showed the clip of Falwell blaming gays, pro-choicers and the ACLU for the terrorist attacks. Comedianne Elaine Boozler was the emcee. A Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Neil. Kevin Smith (of Clerks, Dogma, Chasing Amy, etc.), Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Southpark creators), Kimberly Pierce (director of Boys Don't Cry) and congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, received "Defenders of Liberty" awards for their commitments to freedom of liberties and speech. Kevin Smith told a hilarious story about how he participated in a protest of his own movie, Dogma. Trey Parker and Matt Stone were, not surprisingly, also hilarious in their acceptances. There was also a video tape of a terrible-looking Keith Richards honoring Neil. The performances interspersed the acceptance speeches. Each performer did a song of their own and a Neil song. Rufus Wainright and Chris Stills did a very moving rendition of Harvest. I didn't recognize Jackson Browne's Neil choice. Dave was the last performer to take the stage, Elaine gave him a very warm welcome. She recounted that she asked Norman Lear how he was able to get Dave to perform at the event. He responded, "Simple. Because he cares." Dave took the stage and first had to determine the chair situation. The stool that was out there was too tall, and the pink velvet-backed chair that all the guests were sitting in was a little too short, but he opted for the pink chair. There obviously wasn't much time for Davespeak. About Neil Young, Dave sad: "He is the shit sandwich. And he comes in four delicious flavors. One of them shit." He also commented about how nervous he is. I've seen him perform solo six times now and every single time he comments on how nervous he is. This time he apologized for talking so much, he explained he talks a lot when he's nervous. He played Where Are You Going, which he introduced as a "newish" song. He sounded good, but the volume level was too loud so there was distortion. He had to say at least once, mid-song, to turn the volume down. He still sounded great, but maybe that's just me. After the song he said a few more words about Neil, one of his "heroes", as were the other performers he shared the stage with. He commented again on how nervous he was, so much that he brought a "cheat sheet" with lyrics for his Neil pick. I thought he was going to do Cortez the Killer but instead he played Hey Hey My My (Into the Black.) For those of you who listen to Neil at all you know it's a classic. For those of you that don't, trust me, it's brilliant. It's a song about Johnny Rotten. Dave's version was incredible. A thoroughly outstanding cover. His voice sounded amazingly like Neil's, but better because it was Dave's. Neil has a voice like Dylan that's so bad it's great, and Dave's rendition of Neil was so good it was great. I don't know if that makes any sense. I don't think he had to look at his "cheat sheet" once. Yet another incredible, unforgettable evening!