September 25th, 2007
If you weren't in Fort Worth Saturday night watching a certain football game, chances are you were at the Dave Matthews Band concert at the Smirnoff Music Centre in Fair Park.
In front of a sold-out crowd of over 20,000, Matthews and his band played a crowd-pleasing, three-hour set filled with a mix of old favorites, a few new, unreleased songs and a whole lot of energetic jams.
With a crowd ranging from teenagers to mothers of teenagers, the Dave Matthews Band had the unique challenge of appeasing its wide scope of fans. The band, which has been touring almost every year since its formation in the early '90s, undertakes this task masterfully.
The band started things off slowly with the new tune "A Dream So Real," a darker song characteristic of the band's older albums. Although a decent song, it failed to start off the concert with enough energy. However, the tempo picked up a bit as the band jammed out to a 20-minute version of "Seek Up," complete with lively solos from violinist Boyd Tinsley and trumpet player Rashawn Ross (of Robert Randolph & the Family Band).
The show really got going with the crowd favorite, "Tripping Billies," and only built momentum from there. In mid set, the band brought out banjoist Danny Barnes from Robert Earl Keen's band who plucked away to the new song "Cornbread" and then stayed for an appearance in "Lie in Our Graves."
The band showcased another new song entitled "Eh Hee." Matthews, a native of South Africa, told the crowd he drew his inspiration for the song from the Bushmen of Africa. Juxtaposed with video images of dancers and backward flowing raindrops on the five vertical screens, "Eh Hee" packed a lot of power. It is songs like this that should please a demanding fan base that heavily criticized the band's last album, "Stand Up."
Toward the end of the set, the band brought out another guest. This time it was Robert Earl Keen guitarist Rich Brotherton who added an electric guitar jam to the song "Jimi Thing."
Wrapping up the set was the classic "Too Much" and the 1998 hit "Stay." The encore, although predictable for the band, included the high-energy song "All Along the Watchtower." Originally written by Bob Dylan, the Dave Matthews Band has been putting its own funky twist on it for years. It left the crowd jumping in their seats and wanting more.
The Dave Matthews Band wraps up its summer tour later next month and is taking part in AT&T's "Loudest Pep Rally Ever" contest. The winner of the contest will be the college that sends in the most invites in proportion to its enrollment size. Invites are sent via text message and through AT&T's Blue room Web site. The winning college will receive a fully-produced live concert performed by the Dave Matthews Band sometime in November. Currently, SMU is ranked 11th in the contest and has reached as high as fifth. Voting closes in mid-October. For more information log on to attblueroom.com/sports/collegefootball.