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Dave Matthews brings female fans to Farm Aid

October 2nd, 2006

CAMDEN, New Jersey (Billboard) - While Farm Aid may belong more to co-founders Willie Nelson or Neil Young, it was Dave Matthews alone who filled hundreds of seats at the event's 21st annual show, held Saturday near Philadelphia.

As Matthews performed a solo, mostly acoustic set, his faithful (especially his female devotees) beamed and swayed in the aisles at the Tweeter Center in Camden, N.J., matching him word for word.

Like Young and another co-founder, John Mellencamp, Matthews played a six-song set, kicked off by the bouncy "Everyday" and featuring the solo songs "Gravedigger" and most notably, the delicate electric guitar lullaby "Some Devil."

Following performances from political reggae act Steel Pulse, polka king Jimmy Sturr and jam kingpins Gov't Mule, Matthews was one of the few to address the whole point of the show, in more than two or three words: "Every farm should be run by a family -- people who love the earth," he said, in addition to repeatedly (and jokingly) remarking, "There ain't nothing better than a good tomato."

Young took the stage in tandem with his wife Pegi, who sang backing vocals throughout and even took center stage with an acoustic guitar for a duet on "Four Strong Winds." The set also included the trumpet-lined "Field of Opportunity" and a guest appearance from Nelson on "Homegrown."

Mellencamp revisited '80s anthems like "Pink Houses" and "Rain on the Scarecrow" and rocked up "Authority Son" for an extended version that bordered on heavy metal, while Jerry LeeLewis drafted Nelson for "Jambalaya" and also played "Bright Lights, Big City," "Roll over Beethoven" and "Great Balls of Fire."

In traditional fashion, Nelson capped the evening, running through his the sing-along "City of New Orleans" (a nod to Arlo Guthrie, who was absent due to illness), "Whiskey River," "Good-Hearted Woman," and "Crazy," among others.

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