Happy Birthday Stefan Lessard: Performing Live With Dave Matthews Band At West Point In 2007
In 1987 Stefan and his family moved to Charlottesville, Virginia where he studied music under bassist Peter Spaar and jazz trumpeter John D’earth, who recommended the young Lessard to Dave Matthews. While Stefan would enroll in the Jazz Studies program at Virginia Commonwealth University after high school, DMB was already taking off and Stefan dedicated his already ample skillset to the band full time.
Lessard’s jazz training, however, came in handy. Along with the horn stylings of late DMB founding saxophonist LeRoi Moore and Matthews unique chording, Stefan’s bass gives DMB its jazzier feel, something that set them apart from other rock bands at the time and was a key to their success.
Lessard’s jazz chops — and the band’s as a whole — are on full display on the DMB song “Crush.” Stefan’s bass defines the song and in live settings he usually kicks off the Before These Crowded Streets cut with the iconic line, as he does when Dave Matthews Band performed at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York on November 14, 2007.
Presented by AT&T as the “World’s Loudest Pep Rally,” Lessard and DMB kicked off the concert for the cadets with the classic pairing of “Pantala Naga Pampa” and “Rapunzel.” The set also includes the aforementioned “Crush” which stretched to over 12 minutes as well as a sit-in from pedal steel guitar ace Robert Randolph on “Louisiana Bayou”. Additionally, the concert contains a lengthy “The Dreaming Tree,” “So Much To Say,” “Too Much” and a “Stay (Wasting Time)” set closer. Dave then delivered a solo “Gravedigger” to kick off the encore before Lessard and DMB join back in for “Everyday” into the classic closer “Ants Marching.”
To celebrate Stefan Lessard’s birthday, watch the bassist perform with Dave Matthews Band at West Point in 2007 below via the JamBase Live Video Archive:
Setlist (via DMB Almanac)
Set: Pantala Naga Pampa » Rapunzel, Where Are You Going, Crush, Corn Bread, You Might Die Trying, Grace Is Gone » Black Water [partial], Louisiana Bayou, Sister, The Dreaming Tree, Eh Hee, #27, So Much to Say » Anyone Seen the Bridge » Too Much, Stay (Wasting Time)
Encore: Gravedigger, Everyday » Ants Marching