As we're all reeling in anticipation of the Spring tour, the new album, and now the Summer tour, there are many questions that are spinning through the minds of DMB fans. Will the album really be delivered on June 2nd, as promised? How many new tunes will be played during the Spring tour, now that the record has been delayed? Generously, Dave offered a little insight on this one when he twittered, “We should probably play some new stuff. Don't you think? Practice a little,” but that still leaves many inquiries unanswered. How are we going to familiarize ourselves with the new songs before the shows? Where are the TBA venues? How will the recording process continue after the tour begins? And so on. Luckily, in the midst of all this unknown, there is one thing for certain. Regardless of what and where they play, the essence of all that is DMB will emerge like a knight in shining armor to sweep us off our feet once again. So, just what is it that sets DMB apart from all the rest, and makes them capable of such daring feats?
From the moment the band walks on stage, joking and laughing with one another, the audience can feel their relaxed and spontaneous demeanor, signaling that this is a band that is comfortable in their own skin. There are no pretentious outfits, crazy hair, make-up, or outrageous stage displays. These guys just come on as they are, and get right to the business of making amazing music. There's an authenticity that can be felt far and wide, to the point that we almost feel like we know them, just from seeing them perform. We know that Carter is going to be smiling and chewing gum, and Dave will be wearing jeans and boots, better do his little dance, just as we know the idiosyncrasies of our closest friends. There is a feeling of home created by their genuineness that nourishes our souls, and incarnates in the music that they play. As we listen to songs about life, death, and verifiable existential issues, clarity starts to emerge. In a world where truth can be illusive, finding a band with substance and validity can serve as a life vest in stormy waters.
This down-to-earth attitude doesn't evaporate as soon as the band walks off stage, either. Numerous fans have had the pleasure of meeting the members of the group, and marveling at their ability to stay real despite enormous success. We've all seen the ills that can be caused by fame and fortune, which these artists seem to have somehow evaded. Recently, Dave even sent a tweet indicating that his seat on a plane was 21 F, implying that he flies coach! How many rock stars do that? How many front-men would personally let their fans know that the album would be a little late? Many writers have pointed out that DMB climbed the ladder to stardom the hard way, putting on unbelievable shows and letting word of mouth spread the magic. The philosophy of this ensemble has always been to put the fans first, before recording labels and ticket prices, and this is a truth that powerfully resonates in the hearts of DMB's loyal followers. Instinctively, this paradigm reminds me of how Johnny Cash broke tradition and recorded an album inside Folsom Prison in 1968, to illustrate that his music was created for the people. Or perhaps, it's just that Dave's been wearing a lot of black lately. Either way, it's wondrous to feel so appreciated by such incredible musicians and to know that our fandom kindles the fire that burns so bright on many a starry night.
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self