Concert Review

Dave Matthews at Cricket Wireless Pavilion: Observed

A collection of observations from the Dave Matthews Bands' performance at Cricket Wireless Pavilion, time-stamped by solo:

Time: First violin solo (presumed)

As DMB hit stage promptly at 8 p.m., the ticket line is not moving. The reason? A graying gentleman with a backwards Callaway ballcap, sunglasses perched on it even though it's dark outside, is having a problem with his tickets. "Hey, it's not my fault! They're tired, they're screwing up!" he says. To keep things calm with the angry young men behind him he offers to critique their golf swing. They oblige. "We should play!" he insists.

Time: Second violin solo (presumed)

"Can I cut in front of this guy, here's my ID, I'm on the band's list!" a kid yells into the booth at no one in particular. They are unable to accommodate him. No one tells him that if you're really important you have no clue whose list you're on, you just know you're on somebody's list.

Time: Fourth violin solo (actually observed)

The song of the night, "Funny the Way It Is," is played. The crowd seems indifferent, maybe even a little off-put. I really dug the scorching, hair metal-esque guitar solo and thought the song used Matthews' very limited vocal talents as well as anything I've heard from him. I legitimately liked this song, which is on the band's latest album, but it does not seem to be a crowd favorite.

Time: Seventh violin solo (actually observed)

Before "Everyday," which brought this fairly sparse Wednesday crowd to its feet, I noticed Matthews actually has a pretty cool, deep, and manly speaking voice. Why is his singing voice like Papa Smurf sucking helium? An older guy in a tie-dye shirt and cargo shorts, with a sweatshirt tied around his waist, was hula-dancing to this song, with both hands on his head, until his girlfriend leaned over and stopped him.

Time: Fifth saxophone solo

Dave's drummer, Carter Beauford, is definitely the most fashionable man in the house, rocking a sweet soccer jersey and running pants. Literally, of 20,000ish people -- though it may be far fewer, as the back rows of seating, and the corners of the pavilion are empty, as are the corners of the lawn -- this man is the standout.

Time: First bass solo

The show is peaking. The people behind me, who have been smoking a joint (and not passing it forward) are screaming "swine fluuuuu" and laughing. Seriously, if so many people like 15-minute jams with violin, bass, trumpet, and saxophone solos, why is every jazz club in town not overrun?

Time: Sixth saxophone solo

"Dancing Nancies" is another highlight of the night, but I'm still amazed managing this band allowed Coran Capshaw to purchase half of Charlottesville, Virginia. As Charlottesville is really the only part of Virginia worth owning, this is a big deal.

Time: 36th guitar solo (estimated)

Security just ruined the best moment of the night for me, as a joyful and impromptu mass dance erupted in the aisles during "Warehouse." Just as it formed, security broke it up with a few waves of their flashlights. Bummer.

Time: After the 12th violin solo

This is the most pathetic showing of lighters I've ever seen during an encore. "A smattering" would be a grand overstatement. At the peak, I did a quick count and got 33, plus a dozen or so cell-phones (note: kids do cell phones, older folks do lighters). Sad.

Time: Second (super-extended) bass solo

Coming back from the encore, "Don't Drink the Water" got a good reaction from the increasingly small crowd. It's 2.5 hours in, and people started drifting out after two. On the plus side, they missed this cover of "All Along the Watchtower," which I can only describe as deeply offensive to my ideas about Mr. Dylan's work.

Time: After the 14th violin solo

Guy with thick Jersey accent: "I'm outside, bitch. I'm out by da car. Naw, by da car."