August 18th, 2006
By John Lyman - Pine Crest School
What's the only thing better than catching the Dave Matthews Band concert in South Florida? I'm sure there are a lot of appropriate answers (world peace, universal healthcare, child-birth), but "seeing the performance twice" would certainly make the list. Of the 19,227 people crammed into Sound Advice Amphitheater for the sold-out band's second concert last week, returning patrons would probably agree.
With a famously eclectic sound that combines the violin, guitar, saxophone, and trumpet, the generation-bridging band appeared on stage for nearly two-and-a-half hours each night. This would not be a huge feat if the performers weren't already two months into their tour, but the 39-year-old front man led with the energy one would expect from a once-in-a-lifetime gig. But I guess that is what one should expect from a band that was founded in 1991 on the principle of long tours -- and lots of them.
It is difficult to compare the two nights of the West Palm Beach extravaganza, as both shows were incredible. But as for which one was more incredible, I'd have to give the second performance the prize.
There were several theories floating around the lawn area for why this was the case. The obvious conclusion was that DMB needed more energy for the second night because it was being recorded by AOL Music Live. Some felt the extra flair was borrowed from the first night's show.
Others mused that there was no conceivable difference in vigor, but that the second night was less experimental, with more focus on old favorites. I feel this is unreasonable because a song's age has no bearing on its quality. All classic songs HAD to be new at some point, so why view fresh tunes as obstacles rather than "potential hits."
In reality, the only superior portion of night-two was the encore. It began with a solo rendition of American Baby, but incorporated the rest of the band as it segued into a 17-minute version of Two Step. This may not mean much to one unfamiliar with DMB's song, so allow me to provide a visual: band-mate Boyd Tinsley strummed the back-up guitar harmony…on his violin!
Look out for Dave and the crew's new album in late 2006 or early 2007, and hope for another great national tour next summer.