Last Saturday marked my 25th time (yes that says 2-5) seeing my most favorite band, Dave Matthews Band. They have played a very important part in my life over the last 16 years and it started with the 1st time I saw the video for "What Would You Say? on MTV (when they still played those things) my freshman year of high school. I will never forget that moment. I immediately thought (and might have said out loud at that moment) "Wow. This band is different. This song sounds amazing." I was in awe that a band with such a different sound was on MTV. Except for maybe the occasional Stone Temple Pilots or Nirvana song, if it wasn't rap, hip hop or something extremely popular (all things I didn't very much enjoy) it meant MTV didn't show it. After finding out that they not only had a saxophone player but also a violin player, I became even more intrigued with this band.
I think what officially cemented me as a fan was the first time I heard Boyd's violin solo in "Ants Marching" - not only because it was getting airtime on the radio but mainly because it FUCKING ROCKED. I remember thinking "HOLY CRAP! There's a violin solo in this song and it kicks ass AND it's being played on a major market radio station!" I had never heard someone play violin like that and I was hooked. I was so amazed that I began playing the violin and played throughout High School. I think we can officially say that is when the obsession began.
Seeing them live is an entirely different beast. In general, I love music and one of my favorite things in the world is hearing live music. I definitely have moments where I would rather listen to a studio version of a song over a live version but nothing really is better than a live show. The energy & emotion that you see, hear & feel is something that needs to be bottled & sold.... I believe I just created the solution that will help save the economy.
My first time seeing them live wasn't until college. Seeing them live is an experience in and of itself. Now I've had my fun at some shows (drinking and/or smoking some mind-altering things) but I can honestly say that I've been to more DMB shows sober and still always have the time of my life. Just seeing them play gets me high (and I mean more than that contact high I'm getting from that joint being passed around behind me.) I always walk away with a smile on my face & an amazing few hours of music to store away in my head. I've gone to see DMB with many different people over the years and I always give them fair warning that I will be the person standing the whole time, dancing, playing air guitar, singing along to every song - I'll pretty much be in my own world. I truly wish I could duplicate the feeling I have when I see them live. I get goosebumps when I just listen to their music on my ipod so you can imagine that I am in my euphoric mecca when I see them come onto the stage.
This past Saturday's show was no different. I had an amazing 3 hours of pure happiness & excitement but something really special happened though. Something really hit me that night. It was one of the best shows I have seen of theirs (and I have a lot of them to compare it to) but not just solely for what songs they played (they are notorious for never playing the same setlists) but for what they, as truly great artists and actual human beings can do and will do for their fans.
Dave was extremely hoarse from the start of the show. He mentioned early on that he woke up not feeling well and that he hoped we still would have a great time and that he will try his best for us. The band goes on to play for almost 3 hours, with the audience singing some songs almost karaoke/sing a-long style since Dave can not hit some notes. He continues to thank us for our 'help' and 'voices' throughout the night & is even playful at some points - his voice cracked at the beginning of a song, makes mention of his screw up through a improv scat & then goes right back into the original song.
Listening back on some of Saturday's tracks online, I can hear that Dave sounds much worse than I originally heard (probably because I was singing most of the time myself) but he is close to losing his voice as it cracks and gives out on him throughout. Yet, the band played for ALMOST 3 HOURS. and the band seemed to love every minute of it. They knew they had a show to do for a sold out crowd filled with fans like myself. It's like they kept feeding off our energy & excitement and love. It made me realize that they truly do appreciate us and do all the touring, all the shows for us, the fans. They just kept on going and going. I bet if Dave felt better and the garden didn't have a time limit for shows, they would've played until after midnight. It truly was an experience that will stay with me for quite sometime.
With this show fresh in my mind and after having a conversation with a friend about where & how many times I've seen them, I decided to make a list. Sure you can call me crazy, but honestly, this is my happy list.
Happiness to me is... or proof of my craziness