The Fox Theater, Boulder, Colorado
The Stone (Can't Help Falling in Love)
So Damn Lucky
What an awesome frickin' show. Very short but very sweet. Warmed us up with a familiar The Stone, and threw Fools Rush In into it. The new songs were great, Save Me was amazing. The Davespeak was classic, very funny. Good references to '94. Not a low point in the show. Thanks to The Fox for releasing those tickets at the last minute. Hopefully all the scalpers hocking tix for $600 still had them in hand when the rest of us got them face value.
Dave Matthews has always said he has no religious denomination, and at the Fox Theatre on Wednesday night at the ATO Records performance for radio insiders, he reitterated it. However, as the night progressed, it became clear it's still an issue that is heavy on his mind. As is death, dreams, and drunkeness (but really, don't they all go together sometimes?). Dave warmed up the crowd with "The Stone," the only released song of his 35 minute main set. Doublechecking the song list for his new album doesn't help much in putting together a setlist, because like usual, most of the Dave's new lyrics don't fit into the constraints of the song title. Until the songs are heard off the album, it will be difficult to complete. (Unless you have inside info... the show wasn't allowed to be taped. Big time security at the Fox on Wednesday.) "Save Me," which Dave admitted was a slow version of the song, was a beautiful rewriting of Jesus in the desert, with the devil asking to be saved. Another new song Dave introduced as a dark lullabye, had a ship in a bottle that was last at sea. Gravedigger was a part of the setlist as well. Heavy stuff. Throw in the fact Dave was drinking heavily (again admittedly) and it's no wonder he closed his encore with Bartender. One more song about religion and alcohol. There was moments of brilliant optimism as well - Loving Wings for example was brilliant in the silent Fox. Dave's new stuff is great, no doubt about that. But his set was designed as a way to promote the other artist on the bill, all of whom gave inspired performances. It's clear ATO takes chances on solid artists. This concert was the toughest ticket in the country, with scalpers paying fans in line 400 dollars for their tickets. Fortunately, many real fans didn't give into the that temptation. Imagine - a 40 minute set for 400 dollars. But people who paid that ridiculous price still left thinking they got their money's worth. In the end, the incredible experience I witnessed at the Fox (Dave's first show there since 1994) was made possible by my newest - and already one of the coolest friends - I've made. Sarah - thanks for the invite... you could have asked anybody in the world to go with you after waiting in line for 38 hours, made a huge profit, or any number of things... and you asked me to go. The words "thank and you" aren't good enough to describe my appreciation.
UNBELIEVABLE. We got to the Fox at 7:30 and got in line. Then I walked up to the Will-Call to get the Warehouse tickets for the show. I show my ID, she gives me two tickets and stamps my hand ... I had the $80 in cash ready to give her, but the ones the Warehouse gave out ended up being FREE. I couldn't believe it. We got inside and found a place a few feet from the stage on the right. After seeing two openers (Graham Colton Band & Ben Kweller, both good) it got to be 11 p.m. and time for Dave. And it was electric when Dave stepped out on stage, in a venue that had only 500-600 people in it. He had a drink with him and lyrics and/or tabs to his new songs b/c he said "I've haven't played these live since we recorded them, so I may need to cheat a little" (or something similar to that). He said he had a "little frog in his throat" so he'd get to the new stuff but he'd start with something else. He started with "Stone" which was awesome of course. The best thing of that whole night was that he was talking about telling stories. He was so funny ... I wish I could remember more of them. He did talk about back in the "early days" in 94 when they were at the Fox filming a video and a busty woman that was dancing and distracting the band. Then when they saw the video and saw she was in it briefly they were happy she made the cut. Then he said this was a song he wrote before going to a friends wedding and he wrote it about "the woman in his life" ... and went into "Loving Wings". Good version, the crowd was nice and quiet and everyone could here perfectly. Then into the stuff he hadn't played live in front of a crowd right. "So Damn Lucky" (as it has been said, I'm guessing this is it). Good song, again the crowd was quiet so we could all hear it. Next was "Baby" and he said it was a "dark lullaby" which is "good sometimes to have a little dark in it". Another great song, its hard to "love" a song right after you first here it, but it sounded good to me. Dave also threw in there "enough fuckin talking, I'm wasting time" ... although he kept talking plenty. Then into "Save Me" saying and then he stopped and said "Wait, I have something to say" just 20 seconds into the song. He said something to the effect "don't you think the Devil got a raw deal" and that the devil was "a dark pimp" ... then into the rest of the song, which I loved. I can't wait to get a good version of this. Finally into "Gravedigger" which I had heard live before, but really liked this version of Dave my himself where I could hear the words very clearly. Although he complained about his voice a lot last night (and said "that's why I'm drinking") this sounded great and he hit all the right spots. He then left the stage, but his guitar was there and his security people were still there, so we knew that wasn't it. He came back out and played "Bartender" which was just fabulous, even with the strained vocal cords. I think he changed the words up a little at the end, and kind of cut some stuff out, but a great version. Then he was off stage. I think he came on at 10:50 and Bartender ended around 11:25, so about 35 minutes from start to finish including stories and encore break. A great experience to see him in such a small venue, be so close to the stage and hear some of those songs the first time they were played live outside the studio. There were no cameras allowed (although I saw some people taking a couple of quick photos) and signs everywhere saying "no recording" ... I'm sure they don't want these songs on the internet before the CD is out. But I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the fact it was free was even better.