Finally... Tour Time!
By Jake Vigliotti
July 28, 2007
It’s hard to measure a tour for an upcoming album when there is no information available about the upcoming album. Sure, this isn’t the first time The Dave Matthews Band has pulled off a stunt like this, but the last time was in 2002, and we weren’t exactly shocked when we found out what was on Busted Stuff.
So, what are we going to hear this tour? Who knows! Outside of the European Tour songs and the one new one, the band is 1970’s Cher and we’re Sonny – in other words, we don’t know what our beloved is doing, but if Gregg Allman’s involved, we’ll be pissed (or something like that). But at this point in time, DMB could pretty much go on tour playing Spandau Ballet covers and still get the usual suspects out at every show every night. But what do we ‘usuals’ want?
We already know that we’re going to throw a hissy fit regardless of what they play. They could drop a Raven every night, and we’d still find fault. There is one consistent to the wont of the fans: old school variety.
I was checking a set list from 2001 (2001 of all years!) and found a hidden gem of an encore: 05.08.01. Angel From Montgomery followed by Tripping Billies. Just a cursory look through the reviews on Ants reveals the shock from the fans of the closer: that’s what we want; shock value.
So how can the DMB fan get shocked? Well, for some people, it’d take Roi doing the Silence Of The Lambs Dance with a little tuck-and-cover, but for the majority of us, we just need a little spice. Want an example? (of course you do…)
We love teases. They, well, tease us so. We complain about hearing them, and then look back in awe on them. Anyone remember the Captain teases from 2001? Dave would do a few lines from Captain in the Encore on some shows. Imagine that mid-show! Just as they’re standing around doing nothing, waiting for the drunk guy in section 03 to yell “Watchtower!!!!” for the 48th time, or the 7 girls to scream (in unison) “Crash!!”; Dave just goes to the mic and sings a line from, oh lets say Blue Water Baboon Farm. Or Boyd, in the downtime, plucks a little Big Eyed Fish. You get the picture. Of course, there is a downside to that. If Fonzie starts doing something like Spotlight, and then the boys go into Where Are You Going, the only place people are ‘going’ is ‘to riot’.
Teases… just a thought.
Random thought #1: If the band teases Everyday and plays Everyday in the same show, you should be rewarded with an extra song. I know I’m accused as an Everyday basher (because I Am), but can we please tease a different song in #41? Please? Everyday, the song, is barely even holding together anymore. The lyrics have been falling apart for years now; last year it got another interpolation (You Can’t Rollerskate In A Buffalo Herd - which, incidentally, was once performed by The Muppets), pretty soon, it’s going to be all teases with the chorus of “Everyday”. Can you imagine: (Sung to Everyday’s musical beat) “Tonight the music… seems so loud… wish that we could… lose this crowd” Everyday! (you can subtract 5 points from your final score for recognizing a George Michael Song).
Want a great interpolation that you’ll never hear? How about Proudest Monkey (Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey)?
My favorite annoying trend prior to any tour is the prediction of which show will be great. Last years Fenway hype was so out of control that anything short of Ted Williams frozen skull humming the intro to Dreamgirl would be a let down. The shows were great in Boston, yet fans were left wondering why they were so weak. The same can be said about the C’Ville shows. So, repeat after me: DMB shows are like Russian Roulette: Every show has the equal chance of being the one to blow your mind away. Just because DMB is playing at an 84-year losers’ stadium, or their home town, doesn’t mean that a random show in Cincinnati won’t have a better set list. In other words: The Gorge shows this year aren’t ‘special’.
Interpolation #2 you’ll never hear but should: The Stone (Jesus Christ Pose). How about a little Soundgarden tease to scare the beegeebus out of you?
Why in the world is this band covering Down By The River? Someone needs to remind the 5 (+2) that they have a little diddy called Hello Again that is the same freaking song! And I’m sorry, but I’d rather hear Hello Again over the Neil Young song. You know why Dave and his merry band of Friends don’t cover Shake Your Love (Debbie Gibson’s 80’s anthem)? Because they play Trouble instead! Same Song!
DMB already has enough songs that are the same (Rapunzel? Meet your little brother Fredo, aka Hunger For The Great Light…, I’ve got an idea! Make a thread listing your top two favorite songs that contains the line Our Finest Hour Arrives!), if we are going to choose cover songs, lets try to step away from ones that sing about the exact same thing as one of our songs. Like Nothing From Nothing, which happened to be my favorite song from the 1970’s when I was a little kid.
Speaking of… Why Hello Again got put away is beyond me. The songs that deserve to return are the aforementioned Hello Again, Busted Stuff (Lillywhite style, please, not that cold-start from its eponymous album), and Captain (again, Lillywhite Style). Those are three songs that never got their fair shake of being played live.
While I’m in my Lillywhite-snob period, Big Eyed Fish’s opening line is Story of a man…, not the fish stanza. And if Minarets can survive without Blue Water Baboon Farm as an appendage, then BEF doesn’t need Bartender. It shouldn’t matter, but we, the fan, fell in love with the original version, and the lyrical order flows so much better with “Story of a man…”first.
Interpolation #2.5 you’ll never hear but should. The Stone (The Ballad Of John And Yoko). “…The way things are going, they’re gonna crucify me.” Not bad, eh?
In addition to the tour stuff, there is that little issue about an album. I’ve always thought of DMB albums like a Dixie cup – they simply carry the product to me, and they taste a lot better in other vessels. Sometimes I wonder if DMB really tried their hand at a masterpiece studio work – kinda like the effort and layering The Beatles did on Tomorrow Never Knows - how would it work? You could make the argument that the most complex studio work – in terms of musical layering – was Dreaming Tree. That was 9 years ago, and perhaps not so surprisingly, the last universally beloved DMB studio piece. I keep thinking that Shotgun has the potential to be a studio masterpiece. I read in a book on The Beatles that John Lennon said that he wanted his voice to sound like a Dalai Lama on top of a mountain singing Tomorrow Never Knows. That’s kind of the idea I have when I think of Shotgun. That 9.23.06 version is what sticks in my mind; the version was so complex musically and lyrically. I hope the folks in C’ville know how much we all love that song.
Random thought #2. The best written songs post-Lillywhite Sessions are probably You Never Know, Shotgun, Raven, Stay Or Leave, and Gravedigger. Two from Dave’s solo album, two on the heels of Dave’s worst writing experience, and one was a Grammy winner. None has a political slant to it. So, now that the Dems are back in power, can Dave get back to writing about God and Death and put out another 12 or so good ones? By the way, the most underrated song of that time period? Oh. If the juvenile line ‘like a kid likes candy and fresh snow’ was something different, I’d say the song is top 5 easily.
Is there anything more ironic than the band closing with “Stay Stay Stay For A While…” with half the crowd “Leaving Leaving Leaving for the Aisle”? Stay and Watchtower are two songs I’ve always felt should be openers.
Along the same lines, I’ll be happy to hear When The World Ends as soon as I hear someone say, ‘Wow! That’s crazy! Just like a river bends! Crazy just like that! Nothing could better describe a meandering kill than the adjective crazy!’
Random thought #3. If I could have power and influence over any concert tour decision, I’d see what I could do to move up the Sunday shows. Think about it, despite the fact that it is summer and the majority of people are younger, there still are a lot of people who have jobs on a Monday. I think a nice 5 pm start (for the DMB, not the opening act) would be outstanding. By the time they got to the Encore, it would just be getting dark. It would almost work like a get-away day in baseball (teams sometimes play a day game on the last day of a series to give the teams a bit extra travel time). Day DMB shows.
The best thing about this summers tour? September Florida shows. Last year in Tampa, it was at least 208 degrees. In the shade. I would rather a December outdoor Florida show, when it’s only like 94 degrees here. That’s practically sweater-weather for us. You know it’s hot when you’re clapping for Where Are You Going just to circulate some air. Only problem with the September Florida shows? Hurricanes. If the dangling participle of the U.S. is going to get smacked, it’ll be in September. So we’ve got that to look forward to, which is nice. But at least it won’t be melting-hot.
All joking aside, there is something I look forward to every DMB tour. I know I’ll get in contact again with Eric Naylor, a guy I first met via an old school trade in 1999. I’ll talk shows with my friend Brett in Iowa, even though I can barely locate Iowa on a map. My friend James will once again run into a DMB member somewhere around SPAC – he’s lucky like that. I know I’ll run into Connie and her husband at a show in Florida – they wore the “King Of The Castle” and “Little Rascal” shirts back in 2000 in Tampa – they’re always a lot of fun at a show. It’s almost like the concerts have become a meet-and-greet for old friends. That especially rings true for members of The Warehouse, since we pretty much all sit around the same people every year. It’s great to see old friends again. Even the people we don’t know by name we recognize. Last year, someone came up to me and remembered me from the year before – must be the Shaun Alexander jersey I wear to every show – you get the picture. But this year, I wonder if people around New England will wonder where that one girl is they used to see? She was a big fan of DMB, knew all the songs, all the words. She was even registered at Ants. I knew her because of that, but only really knew her from her posts. She used ‘NewEnglandCutie’ as her user name, but most everyone called her Katie. In 6 months she would be able to add ‘mom’ to her “you can call me’s”. She was murdered on March 4th. I found out the following Monday. It made me think, what if I didn’t see someone I always see at a show, what would I think? There’s that crazy guy who always waves his shirt around at the Florida shows, and I didn’t see him for the last two years, and I wonder where he went? A lot of people will miss Katie. Some that didn’t even know her miss her too.
The views and comments expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of antsmarching.org.