Dave Matthews Discusses Opening For The Grateful Dead In New Interview
Dave Matthews Band are currently in the middle of a European tour that took them to Paris on Sunday. In advance of the show, Dave Matthews spoke with French publication Telerama about a number of topics, including DMB’s experience opening for the Grateful Dead in 1995.
The Grateful Dead enlisted DMB as support for a three-night stand at Sam Boyd Silver Bowl in Las Vegas May 19 – 21, 1995. Dave was smart enough to realize many Deadheads would go to all three shows and switched up the setlist each night. Drummer Carter Beauford was recruited by Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann to join in their “Drums” excursion on May 21.
Dave was asked about one of his favorite memories and he mentioned the experience of opening for the Dead. Here’s what Matthews had to say as per Google Translate:
“In 1995, at the beginning of my Dave Matthews Band career, we were invited to [open for] the Grateful Dead, in Las Vegas. None of us was really a fan – I’ve become one with time, Jerry Garcia is a great songwriter – but we were compared to this band because we liked to improvise on stage and revisit our songs all the time. We were warned from the outset that fans of the Dead were the most ruthless in the world. That even if it was Bob Dylan or Tom Petty they were against the [opener]. They were watching their watch until you cleared the stage to make room for their group. Yet after two or three [songs], I saw some faces light up and people get closer to the scene, curious. At the end of the 45 minutes of our [set], the whole stadium was dancing! And, suddenly, something crazy happened. We played our cover of ‘All Along The Watchtower,’ and I approached the last line of the lyrics, ‘the wind began to [howl]’ When the wind rose for good and a storm of dust fell on the crowd, which went into complete delirium. Just to talk about it, it [gives] me goose bumps! Maybe they were all [on] acid, but not me! (Laughter)”
On August 11, 1995 just days after Jerry Garcia’s tragic death, DMB made their debut at The Greek in Berkeley, California. The band honored Garcia with what still stands as their lone cover of “Eyes Of The World.” Listen to how it went down:
The South African native also revealed Joan Armatrading and Peter Gabriel were his two guitar heroes. “She is so funky! When I formed the Dave Matthews Band, I had [her] music in mind. I wanted to play this same mix of soul and song, acoustic but rock,” Matthews told Telerama about Armatrading. “As for Peter Gabriel, I admire his ability to write complex songs that are easy to access. Beside him, I am a scribbler who throws too many notes and too many words on a score to make only noise!” Additionally, he noted he had a chance to see Queen in concert four times before Freddie Mercury died.
Dave was asked about the charity concert or political meeting that struck him the most and he had two answers. Matthews said he met David Bowie backstage at a charity concert for Tibet where the guitarist performed “The Stone.” Bowie told him, “What was this piece? It’s a great song, I love how you play it on guitar.” He also recalled two meetings with Barack Obama. Head here for the full article.
[Hat Tip – @Copperpot5]
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