Words by Jessica Lopa | Images by Adam McCullough
Dave Matthews Band :: 11.13.07 :: Izod Arena :: East Rutherford, New Jersey
The Dave Matthews Band took the stage at 8:15 p.m. following their opening act, Robert Randolph & the Family Band. Starting with "One Sweet World," DMB eased into one of their last shows of 2007, a performance that would end up going past 11 p.m.
| Dave Matthews :: 11.13|
DMB draws from a large wealth of musicality, using these riches to formulate arrangements that thrive well past a four-minute pop song. Yet their songs appeal to a large fan base made up of both jam and pop fans. From early set selections like "Grace is Gone" and "You May Die Trying" to the more elastic arrangements of "Warehouse" and "All Along the Watch Tower," there was a sincerity and a passion that allowed emotions to meet their musical counterparts in perfect proportion and time - an execution that remains very real for fans. There's a trust present between DMB fans and the band in the song selection and order, an ebb and flow of thought and groove. Better yet, there's a consistent sense of musical endeavor in many of the DMB's songs, where each musician is given the means and support from the others to really shine and explore.
A mid-set "Dreaming Tree" demonstrated trumpeter Rashawn Ross and saxophonist/flautist's Leroi Moore's ability to bring the arrangement from its ambient beginning to an exuberant climax. The ripened solos yielded to a stripped down, minimal drum and bass ending.
Matthews' voice is distinctive and colorful, and with its many nuances you can hear why the majority of his songs possess originality. Within songs like "Corn Bread" and "Louisiana Bayou" one can hear Matthews alternate between his upper and middle ranges, keeping the melodies interesting and exciting. Adding vocal rambling and impromptu scatting, Matthews' vocalizations earned the crowd's applause. Capturing a folk-like and southern flavor, Matthews pairs an impressionable guitar line (much like a banjo) with a lively tempo and melody that easily lends itself to the southern drawl in "Corn Bread." This sentiment is found once more in "Louisiana Bayou," where the phrasing of the word "bayou" mimics a hillbilly-ish attitude by putting the accent on the last syllable. This notion is strengthened with several mentions of the popular square dance move, do–si-do, and a violin solo from Boyd Tinsley, who treats his instrument like a fiddle, filling out the song's harmony ecstatically.
| Rashawn Ross :: 11.13|
At its core, the DMB is one big rhythm section. With Carter Beauford's keen, evolved sense of rhythm, meter and syncopation, the band expands their harmonic intentions to a dimension beyond the backbeat. Following in this vein is Stephan Lessard's contrapuntal basslines that explore the open space in the drum's lead. The laidback groove within "Jimi Thing" migrated through pop rock to an improvisatory second section.
Exposing the band's ability to maintain tight-knit arrangements, "Grey Street" featured horn lines played in conjunction with the percussion hits to build the excitement of both melody and harmony. Not needing much more than the verse, chorus and Matthews' belting vocals to bring the song to its climax, Ross closed the song with high-pitched enthusiasm. "Eh Hee," with its bottom heavy arrangement and insightful lyrics ("We are just a collection of cells overrated. God, I'm avoiding the truth") revealed Matthews' continuing search for enlightenment. With its chant-like refrain, the song was one of the shorter ones in the set but was well received.
| Dave Matthews Band :: 11.13|
DMB welcomed Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno on for "41." With its mild horn intro and slow, steady build up, the arrangement later enveloped Krasno's clean, articulate playing into the climax. Robert Randolph later joined them for "All Along the Watch Tower," where he was given ample opportunity to fire up his pedal steel guitar. Randolph wailed through the choruses into a sustained whirlwind with his usual enthusiasm, giving the crowd and the band what they wanted at the pinnacle of the show's main set.
The encore began with Matthews alone playing two acoustic songs. First was a new song for his son called "Round and Round," followed by "Gravedigger," where the audience assisted Matthews with his melody. Following in stark contrast were longtime favorites, "Too Much" and the highly charged "Ants Marching."
One Sweet World*, You Might Die Trying*, Grace Is Gone > Black Water*, Corn Bread*, Eh Hee*, Grey Street*, A Dream So Real*, #41*+, Louisiana Bayou*, Dreaming Tree*, Jimi Thing*, All Along The Watchtower*~, #27*, Warehouse* Stay (Wasting Time)*
Encore: Round And Round^ > Gravedigger^, Anyone Seen The Bridge* > , Too Much*, Ants Marching*
* Rashawn Ross
+ Eric Krasno
~ Robert Randolph
^ Dave Solo
JamBase | Garden State
Go See Live Music!