A Tale of Two Reporters
February 20th, 2001
Justin Bernick and Christa Dierksheide , Cavalier Daily Senior Writers
On the eve of the long-awaited and much hyped Scott Stadium concert, two diehard fans chronicle their quest to meet the elusive Dave Matthews
Justin Bernick and Christa Dierksheide , Cavalier Daily Senior Writers
courtesy coran capshaw
It all started one dark and stormy afternoon in the newsroom in the basement of Newcomb Hall. With the big Dave Matthews Band show coming up this weekend, everyone had Dave on the brain, including us. Suddenly, a burning desire roiled deep within our souls - we had to find Dave!
Like any good reporter, the first thing we did was pick up the phone. We called publicists, "secret" contacts, administrators, and even used passwords to try to come into contact with the mythical rock star himself. But it was all to no avail.
Hundreds of phone calls later, we still found ourselves twiddling our pencils and notepads at a complete dead end. We slowly began to ask ourselves, "Does this man truly exist?"
He must, as he and his band have released five studio albums and four live albums in the last 10 years, and they even granted Rolling Stone an interview last month. So why not us? Our paper has a circulation of 10,000. And the University is at least partly responsible for supplying an original fan base in the early '90s when the band was just getting on its feet.
Back in 1994, Dave put on a performance in the amphitheater to celebrate the release of "Under the Table and Dreaming." He appreciated us back then - why not now?
We realized we were being big-leagued, but we were not deterred. After all, why did we need secret contacts when we had our own two feet?
We took to the road. Based on a sketchy rumor, we decided to look for Dave at Orbit Billiards on the Corner. Allegedly he bought the 21st shot for a young lady who was celebrating her 21st birthday on Tuesday. The story continues that Dave had just been there to shoot some pool.
Both of us fancy ourselves somewhat talented reporters, adept at penning accurate stories in the newspaper from day to day, but we knew we had to face the music: Neither of us was 21, and neither of us could shoot pool worth a Bama Rag. (For those of you non-Daveheads, Bama Rags is the band's record label.) In fact, one of us even ripped the felt in a miscalculated shot in a rookie pool game, distracted by a rendition of "Jimi Thing" playing on the radio.
# "What would you say?"
We decided to skip Orbit altogether and even momentarily abandon our quest for Dave. For as long as Dave remained so elusive, we might as well try to discover who the special guest performer would be. Rumored to be anyone from Santana to Paul Simon, we set out to surprise the surprise guest himself.
Well, if you were a rock star visiting Charlottesville, where would you stay? We picked our brains. Nope, not the Budget Inn, not the Red Roof and definitely not the luxurious and renovated Cavalier Inn, located within walking distance to the stadium. We knew rock stars didn't walk to work. So we ventured further out of town along Ivy Road. Lured onward by signs advertising eight course meals and 18-hole golf courses, we headed to none other than the Boar's Head Inn.
On our way, we decided to pick up a little gift for our mystery man, in the hopes that the bribe might get us into Dave's inner circle of confidantes. We chose a dozen roses - make that a dozen pink roses - as our bargaining tool. Going on a hunch, we made a card out to Carlos and confidently walked into the foyer of the upscale establishment.
The managers of the Boar's Head Inn, with their discriminating tastes, had never even heard of our esteemed rock star, Santana. In fact, we're not even certain that they had heard of Dave Matthews. Unabashed, we instead fixed our attentions on a janitor who appeared to be more in tune with popular culture. Despite his long tenure at the Boar's Head - as we assumed from his thinning hair - he too had not seen Mr. Santana anywhere on the premises. One thing was certain, Santana had left the building, if he had ever even been there at all.
Weary from our journey and dejected from our lack of a good, solid eight-course meal, we dawdled past Scott Stadium with dreams of Dave Matthews dancing his Nancies in our heads.
But then, we saw it! Over the horizon, we caught our first glimpse of proof that Dave was in the vicinity. It was blue. It was dirty. And it was rugged. No, it wasn't Neil Young and his crazy horse in a freezer; it was the Dave Mobile.
Otherwise known as a Subaru Outback with Virginia plates, the vehicle was parked inside the stadium next to the band's big white tents. We decided to invest-igate.
We pulled our tub-like beige Taurus into the parking lot and put on our most endearing Dave-fan faces. We approached a large, bouncer-looking dude at an open gate and asked
him if he would let us in. After muttering "one sec" under his breath, he stomped off, leaving a rising cloud of dust in his wake.
A few minutes later, he returned and gave us a lead. With a resolute finger, he pointed us in the "right direction." After a brief walk, we found ourselves in the hallway that led to the band's dressing rooms. We finally had evidence that Dave really does exist. But alas, no one by the name of Dave, Leroi, Carter, Boyd, Stefan, Carlos, Neil, Horse, Soul-Live or even Dubya was there. Everyone seemed to be out of town.
Except for a feverishly working stage crew, that is. We wandered around the stadium aimlessly for a while, watching all these ants marching across the field. We asked anyone who would listen, "Please! Has anyone seen Dave Matthews? Anyone? Please help us!" Too preoccupied with spacing rows of folding chairs on the tarp-covered field, not one person knew his whereabouts, or the whereabouts of the mysteriously elusive special guest. What we did find was another phone number of a very busy publicist, who we were told would be very hard to reach. Of course, based on the futility of our previous experiences, we didn't even bother.
Instead, we wove through the metropolis of traffic-stopping white tents by the student entrance gate, wary of the bustling caterers setting up for a mysterious event for some mysterious guests. None of the caterers would confirm Dave's presence, or even if he truly existed at all. Were we in "The Matrix"? Perhaps Keanu Reaves was the opening act.
We discussed such pleasantries on our way back to the office. By now we had reached a conclusion. After several days of hundreds of phone calls, one dozen roses and a plethora of caterers, we realized that Dave Matthews and his special guests simply are myths. All the Dave-spotting stories are myths. All the memories of the good ol' days when Dave played at Trax are myths too.
We quickly put our tickets up on E-Bay, thinking there would be no concert. A Dave concert in Charlottesville? It was yet another rumor. We decided that our money would better be spent on a luxurious eight-course dinner at the Boar's Head Inn.
We slipped Dave's newest album, "Everyday," in the CD player and climbed back in the Taurus. On our second and final trip out Ivy Road, we thought we caught a brief glimpse of a man riding a horse.
We thought it might be Dave and Crazy Horse two-stepping it out of Charlottesville and out of the reach of our reporter's notebooks.
Would we ever see Dave again? Tune in for details Saturday at 6 p.m. at Scott Stadium to find out.