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Concert Reviews:
Dave Matthews Band flashes new look at DTE

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Dave Matthews introduced his performance of "Recently" on Wednesday, June 6, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre with Monty Python's Flying Circus' famed salutation "and now for something completely different..."

The Dave Matthews Band's show, a (mostly) annual summer concert ritual, wasn't quite completely different. But it did have a fresh flavor owing to recent circumstances in the long-lived group's roster.

This is Matthews and company's first outing without violinist Boyd Tinsley, an instrumental flamethrower who announced earlier this year he was sitting out the tour due to family and health reasons and was subsequently sued by another musician for sexual misconduct. In his place is keyboardist Buddy Strong who, when audible in the mix on Wednesday night, brought a complementary array of textures and sonic colorings to the septet's expansive, improvisational brand of rock.

Losing Tinsley still leaves a gap, however, but DMB saxophonist Jeff Coffin and guitarist Tim Reynolds filled it with their own extended solos during the briskly paced 19-song, nearly two-hour and 45-minute show. Matthews noted at the beginning that "We have a very clear plan -- we're going to play you a collection of songs," which is just what the group did, previewing four tracks from its new album "Come Tomorrow," which comes out Friday, June 8, and digging through its 25-year career for both favorites and rarities such as "Sister," "Rhyme and Reason" and "The Song That Jane Likes."

The DMB is capable of tight and punchy performances, of course, but its fans really come to hear the group jam. The group treated them to an epic rendition of "Crush," with jazzy forays by Reynolds and trumpeter Rashawn Ross, and shifted tempos throughout "Recently." The new "Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)" gave Reynolds more space for his six-stringed adventures, while "Typical Situation's" slow, gentle roll noodled into an airy fade-out that suited the cool post-sunset air at DTE.

The DMB played the hits, too spacing out muscular renditions of "What Would You Say" and "You Might Die Trying" and finishing with "Ants Marching," on which Colvin's soprano sax filled in for Tinsley's signature riffs. "I'm having a good time!" Matthews pronounced late in the show, and that sentiment was clearly shared by those sitting -- or, mostly, standing -- in front of him.

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