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Dave Matthews Band strikes up the jam

concertreviewicon.jpgAugust 2nd, 2007

By Stu Woo
Journal Staff Writer

dmbgroup.jpgMANSFIELD, Mass. — It is 2007, eight years after its last breakthrough album, four years after its lead singer released a disappointing solo album and two years after its last studio album, but the Dave Matthews Band — and especially its fans — don’t seem to care.

When the popular jam band opened its three-hour set at the Tweeter Center last night with “Crush,” it appeared as if the band was trying to relive its glory days in the latter half of the 1990s, when it released the hit albums Crash and Before These Crowded Streets. But despite their lack of success in the new millennium, their fans remain loyal.

That’s because Dave Matthews Band fans do not come to watch the band play their songs, many of which are now staples on soft-rock radio. They come to see them jam. That was clear during “Crush,” the first song, which was extended into a 10-minute jam session. While it’s not something that everyone would enjoy, fans thrived on the extended, improvised jams of the seven-man ensemble — especially that of violinist Boyd Tinsley. Several times throughout the night, Tinsley used his violin to banter with fans, flashing them a blissful grin through the dreadlocks that flew around his face as he bounced onstage.

Matthews on the other hand, looked as nonchalant as he did a decade ago, though he appears a little more tired. Dressed in a short-sleeved black shirt and jeans, Matthews sang passionately without looking passionate, at least until the band’s 12th song of the night, “Jimi.” In jam session in the middle of the song, Matthews looked blissful as he alternated between scatting and shrieking in a falsetto voice to those in the lawn section. While Matthews took time to sing two songs off his solo album, it was “When the World Ends,” “Grey Street” and “Crash” that were most impressive.

The fast-paced “Grey Street,” in particular, builds to a breathtaking crescendo, and displays the talents of saxophonist LeRoi Moore. Another notable song of the night was “Don’t Drink the Water,” to which opening-act Xavier Rudd contributed with his impressive mastery of the didgeridoo.

The band and Xavier Rudd play again tonight at the Tweeter Center.

 

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