On Saturday night, Dave Matthews Band returned to the live stage for the first time since September 2017. Fiddler Boyd Tinsley was absent from The Night Before Super Bowl LII concert held at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, following the longtime DMB member’s announcement that he was taking time off from the road. Saturday’s sold-out concert featured saw frontman Dave Matthews welcome steel guitarist Robert Randolph to sit-in with band.
Matthews selected “Don’t Drink The Water” to officially end the group’s hiatus. Tinsley’s absence was covered throughout the set by electric guitarist Tim Reynolds and the group’s horn players Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross. The stage was adorned by a multi-panel video board hung above the musicians and two additional video screens on either side of the band. Favorites such as “So Much To Say,” “Satelite,” “#41,” and “The Space Between” were enthusiastically received by the audience. The setlist also incorporated less frequently played tunes, such as “Alligator Pie” and “Time Bomb,” each of which were last performed by DMB in July 2013 and “You Never Know,” which was last played in July 2014.
Midway through the set, Mathews introduced his “friend” Robert Randolph, who then joined in on a rendition of “Jimi Thing” featuring a jam on late local hero Prince’s “Sexy M.F.” After the sit-in, DMB launched into “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” marking their first cover of the Tom Petty classic since September 2013. The usually coupled “Pantala Naga Pampa” and “Rapunzel” closed out the group’s first set of 2018.
The encore began with a rendition of “Grey Street.” Coffin and Ross then teamed up to provide Tinsley’s signature “Ants Marching” riff as the group put a cap on The Night Before show in St. Paul.
Dave Matthews Band will begin their 2018 Summer Tour on May 18 at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, Texas. Watch audience-shot video footage from last night below:
Setlist (via DMB Almanac)
Set: Don’t Drink the Water, So Much to Say, Satellite, Why I Am, You Never Know, #41, Granny, The Space Between, Alligator Pie, Jimi Thing » Sexy M.F. [partial], Runnin’ Down a Dream, Samurai Cop, When the World Ends, Time Bomb, What Would You Say, You & Me, Pantala Naga Pampa » Rapunzel
Encore: Grey Street, Ants Marching