This tour is incendiary! Not since the early days of the Dave Matthews Band have we seen such variety and energy emanating from every inch of the group’s presence. We knew going in that there would be surprises, but this is insane! At about halfway through the summer series, we’ve already been treated to a plethora of rarities, including, “Minarets,” “Lover Lay Down,” “Blue Water,” “The Stone,” “What You Are,” “I’ll Back You Up,” “Halloween,” "The Last Stop," and, of course, “Sister,” which a certain spirited fan just happened to write about last week! And if we count partial songs and teases, we can add, “Spoon,” “Beach Ball,” “Write a Song,” “#40,” and “Water into Wine,” to our list of extraordinary shockers.
Not only have we been blown away by melodies taken straight out of the archives, but we’ve also been lucky enough to witness history being made with brand new pieces hitting the circuit. Two tracks that have never been played live prior to this tour are “Black Jack,” and “Break For It.” The former is a short and bittersweet account of a man who has wagered his life for love, while the latter, also known as, “Run While We Can,” tells the timeless tale of a wistful desire to escape the troubles of a harsh world. Both speak to the power that love can hold over an otherwise melancholy existence.
With so many unexpected works peppering this year’s set-lists, it’s natural to hypothesize about how the rest of the season will unfold. Many devotees are fervently hoping for a full “Last Stop” at Wrigley Field in September, which marks the official end of the band’s U.S. destinations until after their 2011 break. Being that we’ve gotten three teases and one complete version of this favorite, I’d say it’s likely that we could hear a longer rendition in Chicago, but really, you never know!
Another pick that I wonder about is “Typical Situation.” Teased only once this June, it seems notoriously missing from the rotation, especially considering that it previously went hand in hand with two goodies that have tickled our ears recently; “Minarets,” and “Blue Water.” Part of why I wonder about this tune’s absence is the fact that it has appeared every year since DMB's inception, at least partially, with the exception of 2001 and 2002. In addition, I’m fascinated by the origin of this number. The quintessentially Dave lyrics were apparently inspired by Robert Dederick’s poem, “A Prayer in the Pentagon,” which has an over-arching theme of creation leading to destruction. Dederick’s work appears in the book, “The Quest and Other Poems,” and a collection of his efforts can be found at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The inspiration for Dave’s verses is so often a mystery, that to secure such a clear segue into one of his greatest outputs is truly a notable find.
At any rate, with twenty shows left in this country, and three overseas, it’s impossible to know what to expect. But if the first half of the journey is any indication, it’s safe to say that no song is off limits, and quite possibly, the best is yet to come!
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self