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Dave Matthews Band brings bit of cool to a hot night

August 21st, 2006

Fort Worth Star-Telegram - By CARY DARLING

Cargo shorts, T-shirts, beer cups, and the Dave Matthews Band. They kind of go together like baseball, hot dogs and Mom's apple pie, especially when doing a slow-bake in an oven-hot Dallas on Saturday night.

But even if the weather hadn't been akin to standing downwind from Satan's breath, the sold-out Smirnoff Music Center would have been full of the dressed-down and wired-up, ready to party with their favorite nice guy next door: singer-guitarist Dave Matthews.

Clad in his usual T-shirt and slacks, he doesn't cut a stylish figure on stage, seems pleasant enough but doesn't show a ton of personality, and his voice is serviceable but hardly earth-shaking. What he does have, though, is a phenomenal band. It got to show off what it can do with its pop-R&B-jazz-jam band mix in a generous 2 1/2 -hour set.

Crowd favorites Boyd Tinsley on violin and Carter Beauford on drums provided much of the kick, but they were well assisted by bassist Stefan Lessard and keyboardist Butch Taylor. Too bad the two-man horn section, with sax player LeRoi Moore, was often buried in the mix.

Matthews and the guys started off with Best of What's Around but shied away from many of their better-known radio hits. Instead, they concentrated on album tracks that fans love, such as the Latin-tinged Warehouse (morphing into a bit of Louie Louie) and the new Break Free.

On CD, the Dave Matthews Band can be a bit dry, but that changes once it takes the stage.

Just compare the politely funky recorded version You Might Die Trying to the wall-banging version the group hauled out Saturday. They might as well not even be the same song.

Second-billed band O.A.R. ('Of a Revolution'), comprising friends of Matthews' who work in a similar vein, was pleasant enough with its pop-reggae-jazz blend. But it lacked the headliner's rhythmic intensity.

 

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