Dave Matthews Rocks the College

March 28th, 2003

Bill Giduz

c032803.jpg Dave Matthews rocked the arena at Davidson College this week, for a sold-out crowd that filled the Baker Sports Complex Tuesday night. It was a mild evening as cars and vans funneled in from the interstate, filling the parking lots and overflowing into the neighborhoods that surround campus.

“Rent in January, John Mayer last fall, Dave Matthews this spring—who knew a year ago that I could be doing this stuff on my college campus?” said Cat Youell, a freshman from Altamonte Springs, Florida.

Dave and guitarist Tim Reynolds played for three-and-a-half hours during the acoustic concert, for an audience of Davidson students, faculty, staff, townspeople, and Dave fans from up and down the Eastern seaboard. “Let’s fill this arena with a little peace,” Dave said, and rested his voice between numbers with a funny, rambling tale about being thrown from a horse.

Davidson was one of only twelve schools selected from more than 300 as a concert venue for Matthews' tour. Union programming staffers who wrote the proposal to bring Dave to Davidson were surprised at first, then just plain thrilled. The event reconfirms Davidson’s proud history of attracting top bands. In fact, the Dave Matthews Band played Davidson College once before!

Mary Elizabeth (Murphy) Geiger ’ 94, now a lawyer in Colorado, recalled, “In the fall of 1993 or spring of 1994, we at Warner Hall, along with SAE, PiKA, KA, Rusk, and possibly other houses on Patterson Court, brought the Dave Mathews Band to Davidson to play on the lawn behind Warner Hall for the enormous sum of $3,000! Due to noise complaints, Dave was forced to stop playing even before midnight. However, in good spirit, he and the other band members hung around and partied with the students."

A capacity crowd waited to get into Belk Arena for the acoustic evening with Dave and Tim.

Geiger says her friends in Colorado can't believe that the college she went to brought in such bands as Blues Traveler (tickets were free), Phish (tickets were $2), Dave Mathews (free), the Samples, the Bodeans, and the Indigo Girls—all in the four years she was there.

To make sure that today’s Davidson students will graduate with equally profound musical memories, 1,500 of the 4,800 available tickets for the concert were reserved for students, faculty, and staff. After Davidson and Ticketmaster had sold all of its general admission tickets, ebay bidding for tickets kicked in, with tickets selling for anywhere from $150 to $1,500 dollars, depending on seating location.

The Dave Matthews Band has grown from a grass roots phenomenon to one of the hottest bands in America. It was formed in Charlottesville, Va., in early 1991, when vocalist/guitarist Dave Matthews decided to tape some songs he had written. He got assistance from drummer Carter Beauford and saxophonist LeRoi Moore, sixteen-year-old bassist Stefan Lessard, keyboard player Peter Griesar, who left the band after a couple of years, and classically trained violinist, Boyd Tinsley.

The first official gigs for the newly conceived Dave Matthews Band were in spring 1991. Within a little time, word of the band’s contagious new sound spread like wildfire throughout the region. Clubs started to fill up, tours began to cover more territory, and the fan base grew at an incredible rate.

Its first album, Remember Two Things, was issued in late 1993 on its Bama Rags label. The album debuted on college charts as the highest independent entry, and went on to be certified gold by the RIAA. By allowing fans to tape shows for their personal use, DMB created a highly interactive community that continues in spirit today.

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds during their performance.

Since then the band has issued Under The Table and Dreaming(1994), Crash (1996), the double-disk Live at Red Rocks 8-15-95, Before These Crowded Streets (1998), Live at Luther College: An Acoustic Performance by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds (1999), and Listener Supported (1999). The band spent much of 2000 on tour, finishing as the top-grossing touring band in the U.S. An album entitled, Everyday, was released in February 2001.

DMB spent the summer of 2001 touring the country. In August of that year, Dave Matthews Band, The Videos 1994-2001, was released on DVD and VHS. In October 2001, the band released its fourth live release, Live In Chicago, 12.19.98, featuring guest musicians such as Victor Wooten, Maceo Parker, and a full set with Tim Reynolds.

Busted Stuff was issued in July 2002 as the first DMB recording without any musical guests. Following a successful tour throughout the country in summer 2002, Dave Matthews Band released Live At Folsom Field, Boulder CO, its fifth live release.