Remembering Amsterdam 2007
By Rune Iversen
April 24, 2012
First things first - I'm from Denmark. Which is a part of Scandinavia, which is a part of northern Europe, which is where nobody knows the Dave Matthews Band and hence the band never used to visit. I'm not used to picking and choosing shows and I never got the venue wars - I would have killed to see a show with 90% 'Stand Up' songs just to get a #41 tease - This was my first show and it was a pretty big deal for a guy who's been a fan since '99.
When it was rumored that Dave would do a solo Euro tour back in '07 there wasn't any sadness that I wouldn't get to see him with Tim or even bigger; the full band. I had a chance to hear my favorite musician play my favorite music in one of my favorite cities, Amsterdam. Didn’t really matter if it was “just” him.
The venue, Paradiso was an old abandoned church with a capacity of 1.000 (I'm sure many of you have seen the picture that used to be on the frontpage or the Ants Tour Central App from Paradiso - or you would have if you ever visited the front page) and it was simply an amazing place that took your breath away even before a single note was played.
Now if you've never been to Amsterdam let me set the tone for you - Amsterdam is in the Netherlands and it's about 500 miles from Denmark. It's a city of extremes - beautiful art, prostitutes, weed, amazing history. Basically if I could sum up Amsterdam in a song it would be Jimi Thing - but not as overplayed. The vibe is unmissable - especially for tourists. We only had a couple of days, so instead of driving or taking the train we flew in to save time.
I went with two great friends and we stayed in this crappy hotel, which just seemed to scream, "What are you doing here? Go out and explore the city". We went, we had fun, met strangers, had a few and before we knew it it was the morning of the show and we walked around seeing the sights until we took our place in the line.
At this point we knew that Tim had been added to the tour, which made the whole thing kind of surreal. My copy of 'Luther College' was as worn-down as a CD can get - #41, One Sweet World and Tripping Billies from that show are my favorite versions of those songs. There was a strange mixture of loud (not in a negative sense) Americans who seemed to look forward to a Dave and Tim show and Euros who were quiet, exchanging looks and saying a whole lot without opening their mouths. I have since been to three shows since and none of them have come close to the amazingly odd atmosphere in that church.
The show started with Bartender, which is my favorite song (maybe by any band), and I knew that this was going to be special for some of us Euros. I saw people tearing up and crying and I definitely teared up. It was fun, heartfelt and genuine - I spoke to a couple of American veteran attendees afterwards who said that this was something special.
The set list was fine, I doubt anyone would say it was anything special, The performance was good, again, I doubt anyone would single out this show as one of the best ones ever. On paper this is and was a regular show, but for me and a bunch of fellow Euro fans this was an experience that has yet to be matched by any other concert.
The American fans brought happiness and joy during Two Step and Jimi Thing and the Euros shushed and kept the vibe low during Grace is Gone. It was a nice balance.
When the show was over we headed to the nearest bar to soak it all in and talk. We met fellow fans and strangers became friends I still keep in touch with – it was a good night. The Red Light District is a sad/fun place full of drunken British guys thinking they just might be the one to get a freebie. And of course you can’t visit Amsterdam without trying the local specialties. It turns out crappy hotel rooms aren’t that bad when you’ve got ‘Space Brownies’ as they called them – I have never found wall art quite as fascinating as I did after enjoying some of Amsterdam’s finest. Night turned to day and without the hassle of hangovers my friends and I said our goodbyes to our lovably horrible hotel and went home.
I’ve hung out with Italian, French, American, British, Dutch and Portuguese fans and DMB truly is a universal language.
I met some of the band members in Denmark a couple of years later, I thanked Dave for taking the trip across the pond and he thanked us for listening, which I thought was poignant.
There is also a pretty amazing tape from that night - I highly recommend that you check it out.
The views and comments expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of antsmarching.org.