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Concert Reviews:
Dave Matthews Band Says Goodbye -- For Now -- At DTE

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Give Dave Matthews credit for being aware of his surroundings, which is not something you can say of all rock stars.

He started the Dave Matthews Band's concert Wednesday night (June 23) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre with the unreleased "JTR," a song he's been performing throughout this summer's tour but whose chorus -- "Rain, rain, rain down on me/Again and again/Rain down on me" -- was appropriate given the weather predictions. Fortunately the skies stayed dry at DTE throughout the more than two-and-a-half-hour show, allowing Matthews and company to give the sold-out crowd a typically memorable experience designed to tied them over until 2012.

Last month Matthews announced that the DMB would be taking 2011 off the road. There were no teary-eyed farewells on Wednesday -- he's also said there's no intention of breaking up or extending the hiatus -- but that knowledge certainly charged the group's fans, as devoted a legion as the Jimmy Buffett Parrotheads who flocked to DTE the previous night, and added a layer of emotional heft to the show.

The DMB fortunately delivered in kind. After a winning opening set by Massachusetts singer-songwriter Martin Sexton and his band, the seven-piece ensemble strode on stage and took a few minutes before jumping into JTR, with its skittering instrumental interplay and lengthy closing jam. That set the tone for the reset of the night, which was marked by tight ensemble playing even among the loose, improvisational arrangements, giving each of the instrumentalists opportunities to shine as the group powered through favorites such as "Stay (Wasting Time)," "What Would You Say," "Tripping Billies," "Everyday" and "Ants Marching," as well as an epic romp through "Stand Up (For It)" that wove into snippets of "Corn Bread" and "Recently."

Saxophonist Jeff Coffin and trumpeter Rashawn Ross, who sported a Detroit Tigers cap, were the stars of this particular show, bolstering most of the songs with muscular horn charts and solos -- Coffin even took two solos during a long rendition of "You Might Die Trying" and added pennywhistle to the mix during "Bartender." Electric guitarist Tim Reynolds took a few tasteful solos himself but mostly added texture to the group's sound, while violin player Boyd Tinsley was curiously restrained until he broke out on "Tripping Billies" and "Ants Marching," both of which also gave drummer Carter Beauford room to stretch out.

Matthews, meanwhile, was in good voice and hit peaks during emotive takes of "So Damn Lucky" and "Everyday." Typically silly but gracious during his between-song patter -- including a funny story about being chased off a DTE neighbor's property during an afternoon bike ride -- he also responded to a fan's side by adding "Busted Stuff" to an encore that also included "Time Bomb" and Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower." Matthews and his companions will certainly be missed next summer, but they certainly succeeded in sending fans home sated on Wednesday.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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