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Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto Review

June 13th, 2006

By BILL HARRIS - Toronto Sun

TORONTO - The crowd should take a bow. The wedged-in throng at the Molson Amphitheatre last night had a great deal to do with making the concert by the Dave Matthews Band as successful as it was.

The fiercely loyal fans stuck with it through a somewhat staggered start and ultimately were rewarded for their patience with more than two hours of music.

But they were denied the traditional first-glimpse/first-song rush due to some sort of technical delay.

Matthews and his bandmates -- Boyd Tinsley, Carter Beauford, LeRoi Moore and Stefan Lessard -- took the stage. The crowd went nuts, predictably and appropriately. But then the group was forced to stand there for two or three minutes, as if waiting for a bus (what, is the TTC wildcat-striking again?).

The light show and three giant video screens behind the stage didn't kick in until the fourth song, although it's unclear if that was intentional or not. Regardless, longer-than-desired delays between songs became the norm.

Frankly, a less devoted audience might have drifted off a bit.

But through the past decade and a half, the Dave Matthews Band hasn't sold 35 million records for nothing (and supposedly they have another CD coming out next winter). The group's earnestness gets repaid on not-quite-smooth nights like last night.

One fan even had a sign that read, "Carter is God." And we only can assume the reference was to Beauford, the bulky and powerful drummer who anchors DMB's rock/jazz/folk/jam flavour, rather than to ex-president Jimmy Carter.

Highlights included What Would You Say, the fifth song of the evening and the first one on which both the band and the crowd found their stride; So Much To Say, for which Matthews won a Grammy Award back in 1997; and the emotional Everyday, which found the patrons in full singalong mode.

"It's always a pleasure coming up here," said the South African-born and Virginia-based Matthews early in the show. And if it seems as if he was just here, well, he was -- the group played at the Air Canada Centre just last December.

But summer tours are something Matthews fans set their watches to, and he usually gives them exactly what they pay to see and hear ... even if it takes a while, as it did last night.

Matisyahu -- a Hasidic Jewish reggae singer -- was as warmly and enthusiastically received as any opening act could expect. No doubt he won over some new fans with his lively 40-minute set.