August 6th, 2007
HARTFORD - It happens every summer, like traffic on the Cape, and still they come in droves.
The Dave Matthews Band played the Dodge Music Center in Hartford on Saturday night, the first of two sold-out shows at the venue.
Since 1994, when Matthews and his band earned critical and commercial success with their sophomore release "Under the Table and Dreaming," the Dave Matthews Band traveling show has been a staple at summer sheds like the Dodge.
It seems that the audience has eerily remained perpetually young, forever poised in that "last summer before (insert life-changing benchmark here)" of youth.
A nonchalant Matthews opened the show by easing the band into "Best of What's Around," then instantly picked up the pace with "When the World Ends."
He referred to the first several songs as "little love songs." They included "One Sweet World" and "Hunger for the Great Light."
The sweltering summer heat and the stage lights combined to coax a continuous sweat out of Matthews, whose shirt was drenched after he worked through "The Idea of You," the radio hit "Crash Into Me" (which included a riff on "Dixie Chicken") and "Dreamgirl."
The first true ballad, featuring Butch Taylor on piano, was the graceful "Out of My Hands," which was followed by a new song "#27."
Matthews was coy with the audience, often teasing with familiar guitar licks or singing lines from favorite songs while he slightly pulled away from the microphone. He seemed genuinely appreciative of each ovation.
"Thanks everybody," he said at one point. "I like my job, and I hope I do it good."
The band eventually found their way to a jam, and it came during "Louisiana Bayou," where Matthews turned the stage over to violinist Boyd Tinsley, who shimmied through a lengthy solo.
Matthews brought out opening act Xavier Rudd to wail on the didgeridoo during "Still Water," which slowly morphed into the wild "Don't Drink The Water."
The band fell into an improve-type groove on "#41" with Tinsley, trumpeter Rashawn Ross and sax player LeRoi Moore all getting time in the spotlight. The set closing song "Two Step" featured a drum run by Carter Beauford.
The encore opened with Matthews playing solo acoustic on "Sister" before Beauford and Taylor slid in to provide a harmonizing background vocal. The full band closed the show with "Crush" and "Stay (Wasting Time)."