March 7th, 2007
By Therese Owen
An awesome night of beautiful music and heroic guitar playing - that sums up the sold-out gig by Dave Matthews at Oxford's New Theatre.
Matthews wowed the audience with old favourites such as Crash and Jimi Thing, as well as a few new gems. His tendency to take the mickey out of himself and others was, as one fan described, "bordering on fairly un-PC stand-up comedy".
Matthews's passionate engagement with the audience was met with ardent calls from fans who pleaded with him to play more often in their cities. And then a lone voice shouted out, "Hoe lyk dit, boetie?" followed by something else muttered in Afrikaans.
Matthews, trying to hide his broad American accent, whispered into the mic "Baie dankie".
Tickets were not cheap, considering the largely student audience. However, the hefty £32,50 (R466) was well worth it, as Matthews (and Reynolds) played for about two-and-a-quarter hours, and returned to the stage for a 45-minute encore.
While it would have been hard for any musician to top Matthews's stirring performance, the exceptional skills of the back-up guitarist, Tim Reynolds, a self-taught musician, would have put many guitar legends to shame.
An excerpt from Reynolds biography reads as follows: "Reynolds is a guitarist who rises above the mere mastery of chops to a virtual state of communion with his instrument.
"Reynolds has brought a whole new sensibility to his instrument with his wide-ranging musical ability, from progressive rock, straight-up jazz and high-powered funk fusion guitar, to bass, piano, sitar, mandolin, violin, and a plethora of ethnic percussion instruments. When this musician performs it is a symphony of the senses."
Reynolds's genius was the perfect compliment to Matthews's vast vocal range. They silenced the audience with a moving tribute to Matthews's late sister. Anne Matthews died tragically in 1994. She was killed in SA by her husband, who then took his own life.