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Dancing in the Risk of DMB

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Yesterday, a friend asked me how my “love/obsession” for the Dave Matthews Band began. This was a surprising question since my “un-Daved” cohorts are generally trying to steer me away from this subject, rather than be subjected to one more enthusiastic pitch for the most fantastic group of musicians ever! But this brave soul invited me to share the roots of my fandom, and it got me thinking about the meaning of true love.

In general, I have always had a big space in my heart for music. I can remember being really young, (approximately minus ten years old, for those of you trying to calculate age), and ecstatic about going to see the J. Geils Band for my very first live concert. Like everyone in those days, I spent countless hours waiting for my favorite songs to hit the radio so that I could make mix tapes for every occasion. I memorized the lyrics to thousands of songs, not realizing that one day I would cringe to find that the words to an atrocity like “Hanging Tough,” are still occupying space in my brain. I even had a shower radio to help me survive those early mornings before school. But it wasn’t until February 24th, 1995 when I saw Dave and the boys perform, “What Would You Say,” on the David Letterman show, that I truly fell for a band.

At the time, I had no idea that 15 years later I would have an entire ipod filled with DMB music, or that I would count the days until my next chance to see them perform. All that I knew was that this sound was like nothing I had ever heard before, that these men were giving us their all, and that the guy singing had some pretty crazy dance moves!

If my love for this music had turned out to be a passing phase, I could have attributed it to the fact that my first dip in the DMB waters occurred while visiting a friend in New Orleans for Mardi-Gras. I would have assumed that all the purple, green, and gold jubilation went to my head and messed with my musical acumen. But just as with interpersonal relationships, the real test of whether a match is a good fit occurs with time. Either both partners evolve and develop along a parallel path, or they grow apart. Staying the same is not an option because change is one of the few permanent parts of life. As humans, we generally resist change, but seen under a clear light, it can be beautiful. It’s true that “What Would You Say,” doesn’t vitalize the same chords with me as it did back in 1995, but that’s because my internal harmony is in a whole different key now. And amazingly, as with all positive bonds, the music continues to permeate my heart in just the right way to empower transformation, and help me remember, even in dark times, to just look for the love in here.  

Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.

Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self