Dave Matthews Band fans who've logged serious road time en route to the Gorge to catch the band's annual Labor Day show have been spoiled.
And those same road warriors who caught last night's Taco Bell Arena show now know just how spoiled they've been in Washington.
The man himself was unusually animated and talkative with the Boise crowd; the set list was heavy on the new stuff; and the show was definitely tailored to an arena audience.
Gorge shows are for concert-goers who like to camp out in a field, party all day, party all night, and hit the show with some chemically-induced altered state of mind. Maybe that's why the George, Wash., amphitheater experience is heavy on the looooong jams. Or maybe the band just needs to fill the hours sucked up by three set lists.
Regardless, last night's show was a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am kind of show compared to what fans can expect this upcoming weekend as DMB heads to the Gorge.
"Big Eyed Fish" launched the show and then went straight into "Bartender" without a breather. A sweet little piccolo solo from touring member Jeff Coffin wrapped it all up with a cheeky nod to the Scarecrow of Oz. Matthews took a tour through his own solo work with "Stay or Leave" and then took us through a version of "Seven" that you'd hear note for note on Groogrux.
Just when we thought jamming was out for the night, the band went oldie but goodie with "Crush"—the long version you'll only get on a live compilation. After barreling through another six—mostly new stuff with "Gravedigger" thrown in for good measure—the band rode it out on a classic version of "Jimmy Thing." It was there—after a sax toss from Coffin to a fluttering trumpet from touring member Rashawn Ross, after Matthews and violinist Boyd Tinsely did their "dance off" thing front and center—that Tim Reynolds' electric revolution started getting hot and heavy. Reynolds, who has been playing with Matthews both as a duo and with the band for years, has become a tour staple since the release of Groogrux, which he played on. His electric takes lead and though it's almost requisite on the new stuff, the punch it adds to the old stuff is major. Seriously, how did we ever rock out to "All Along the Watchtower" without Reynolds?
Bassist Stefan Lessard took his solo time to bring out "Watchtower" via a piece of "Star Spangled Banner"—nothing new there but it's always a decent wail for sure. Reynolds went all in during the final jam of the night, the encore's "Two Step," as did drummer Carter Beauford. It was a helluva screaming way to end the show.