Going to a weekend’s worth of Dave Matthews Band concerts is like an adventure in a foreign land. It could end up good, bad or somewhere in between. I would have to apply the latter to my experience this past weekend as I watched Dave Matthews Band at the Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, FL. First, the Friday night show. This was my 9th DMB concert and it did not disappoint. From the opening song “Seven” from 2008’s “Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King”, the band was on fire and at their best. At certain points throughout the night, various band members (mostly Dave) would get so lost in the music and dance around the stage for the majority of the song. This was the band saying “we are here to have just as good of a time as you are”. A highlight for me from the first show was hearing “Don’t Drink the Water”. I had heard it several times at previous shows, but, it had been placed earlier on in the set. This time, it was much later in the set than I had heard it before. It was something different, as is the case with every Dave Matthews Band concert. Another highlight for me was the great guitar work of Tim Reynolds. Occasionally, he would play slide and it sounded like birds chirping on a spring morning.
Now, the second night was a different story. Yes, I did here several songs that I had been “chasing” for several years. Yes, I was with my girlfriend. But something seemed off from the very beginning of the show. The band did not seem to have that typical fire that is contained in the last show of a multi-night run of shows. After the first 4 songs, the band’s performance seemed to be getting “phoned in”. Except for Carter Beauford’s drum work, you could have played a backing track from any given album and you would not have known it was not a live show. Also, the band came on late. Playing 21 songs on the first night, the band only played 18 songs the second night. Bands that play at venues that have curfews (Cruzan has an 11pm curfew) should be aware of the times that they are limited too. Out of the many Dave Matthews Band Shows I have seen, I would say that the weekend as a whole was only a little bit above average, which is not what I usually get from a DMB show.