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Live Review: Dave Matthews Band in Burgettstown, PA

June 12th, 2006

by Jim Harrington - LiveDaily Contributor

At one point during his concert at the Post-Gazette Pavilion on Friday (6/9), Dave Matthews took the time to tell the crowd how impressed he was with nearby Pittsburgh. He went so far as to call Pittsburgh a city in "renaissance." Then--worrying that the flat, unaffected delivery of the compliments might be misconstrued as sarcasm or insincerity--the singer/songwriter felt the need to explain himself. "I'm not lying," he said. "I just sound even more boring when I talk." That--one of Matthews' many detractors would likely add--is really, really saying something.

Laugh all you want Dave-haters, who often complain that the bandleader's music is too boring, pedestrian and mainstream.

Dave's laughing too--all the way to the bank. The Dave Matthews Band (tickets | music) moved some 40,000 tickets during its two-night stand in Burgettstown, PA, a suburban city located roughly 30 miles to the west of Pittsburgh, and the group will perform in front of even larger crowds later this summer. This, however, is nothing new. For a dozen years, DMB has been one of the top touring acts in the country. The group has achieved that ranking by continually delivering energetic, tuneful and playful performances that meet, or exceed, the expectations of the fans. That's pretty much want happened in Burgettstown--the crowd left the amphitheater singing Dave's songs and praising Dave's name. If that's boring, pedestrian or (apparently worst of all) mainstream, then so be it.

Matthews is known for booking good opening acts (Medeski Martin and Wood, Mike Doughty, Matisyahu, Gomez, etc.) and he certainly lined up a good one for the Post-Gazette stand: G Love and Special Sauce.

Although many fans were unfamiliar with the Sauce, Love and his troupe did a good job wooing the crowd with a set that combined classic R&B, '90s hip-hop and greasy funk. The vocalist/guitarist mixed it up, bumping and grinding through older tunes such as "Baby's Got Sauce" and "Cold Beverage," and more-recent offerings like "Rodeo Clowns." Love, who formed the band in Philadelphia in 1992, clearly enjoyed being back in Pennsylvania. "We are all in the same family, right?" he said to the audience. "Except when the Steelers happen to be playing the Eagles."

Following Love's set, Matthews and his longtime band mates (bassist Stefan Lessard, saxophonist Leroi Moore, violinist Boyd Tinsley and drummer Carter Beauford) took the stage and proceeded to deliver a mellow musical buzz. The first third of the show was pretty laid back as the band tiptoed through three straight slow-to-mid-tempo songs: "Best of What's Around," "Proudest Monkey" and "Satellite."

The band, which has utilized the talents of veteran keyboardist Butch Taylor for years, hit the gas a bit with "Hunger for the Great Light." Still, it wasn't until the seventh selection, "Louisiana Bayou," that DMB put the pedal fully to the metal. The group kept right on racing through a big, funky version of "What Would You Say," which may have been the best song of the night.

After a beautiful version of "Grace is Gone," a song that ranks as one of Matthews' finest moments as a lyricist, the band began mixing old songs and brand new tunes. Fans were treated to three yet-unrecorded tracks, written by Matthews immediately prior to the tour.

The first new song was "Kill the King." Given Matthews' political leanings, and the statements he's made to the press, I'd be willing to bet who that song is about. He also played the new number "The Idea of You," which didn't make much of an impression on first listen. The last new tune performed, "Sister," was an absolutely gorgeous and utterly heartfelt acoustic ballad. That one seems destined to be a fan favorite for years.

The show ended with a smorgasbord of longtime concert staples, including such fan favorites as "Jimi Thing," "So Much to Say," "Too Much," "Everyday" and "Ants Marching."