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Gimmie 2 Sets

By Arby

You've seen it trending on Twitter. You've seen it posted on Facebook. You've received...oh...an email or two about it. But what exactly does Dave Matthews Band have in store for us this summer with this 2 Set business? Short answer: we don't know for sure. But hey - that's part of the excitement!

In early 2014 we learned that the gang is going to be changing up their long-standing concert format and going back to 2 sets a night: something they did long ago. So even though we donít know exactly what this entails, knowing the history of the band as well as what some other acts are doing, we can make some educated guesses:

1. Electric: Expect the DMB concert you know and love

The "electric" set will be the familiar DMB sound. Just because itís electric, that doesn't mean Dave has to be plugged into the Fender Strat and Jerry Jones Baritone for half the night. Heís going to use his guitar collection liberally: acoustic, electric, veillette, six string, twelve string - whatever! As for the rest of the band in the electric set: expect business as usual. However, if the band has fun with the experimentation of the acoustic set, donít be surprised to see some elements of that format leak into the electric portion of the show somewhere down the road.

2. Acoustic: Uncharted territory

What exactly will happen during the "acoustic" set? Thatís the million dollar question. There have been assumptions and rumors that the first half of the show will be Dave & Tim leading up to the DMB headliner. Remember though that the tour is being advertised as 2 sets with DMB, so donít think that the rest of the band wonít be getting in on the action!

Boyd recently mentioned in an interview with Jambands that we will likely see some experimentation with the lineup: two band members starting a song, only two or three playing on a given song, Dave solo, Dave and Tim, Tim and Boyd - the possibilities are nearly endless (well okay, not really). If this sounds familiar, it is something the band has done before; back in the early 90s, in the days of Trax and Floodzone weekly shows. Keep in mind though that was on a tiny stage in front of a few hundred people. This yearís plan is to do half of the show acoustically in front of 20,000-some people. Theyíll have to approach it in a completely different way.

For some instruments itís fairly obvious what acoustic entails. We can say goodbye to Tim's effects pedals, Boyd's wah-wah, and Fonz's electric bass; and hello again to Timís acoustic collection (and sitar?), Boydís wooden fiddle, and probably even Stefanís upright bass.

But what will change for Carter and our talented horn duo? It's almost certain that they will go for a softer sound (donít worry, the crew knows they are playing to a large amphitheater. Youíll hear the band just fine!). So Carter will surely let up a little on the heavy drumming and just maybe dust off that wicked cymbal collection. One could assume that heíll replace the heavier rock drumming with a softer, even jazzier sound. Could he break out the bongos? What about even step out from behind the set with just a snare strapped around his shoulder? Why not?!

The horn section is even harder to predict, but that doesn't mean we won't try. If the band goes for a jazzier sound, you can presume Jeff Coffin will set the big baritone down. We might hear a little more soprano sax, flute, and even penny whistle coming from stage left. As for Rashawn: throw a trumpet mute in front of that horn are weíre good to go!

3. Encore: Final thoughts

The tour debut at Woodlands, Texas is just over a month away and it's stacking up to be the most anticipated DMB show in quite some time. This will be a new era for not just the band, but the fans as well. Expect a not so perfect performance for the first show or two; the band will be completely out of their element...but theyíll be loving every minute of it!

There are still plenty of questions to be answered: Which set will come first? Will it always be that way, or will they switch up the order? Will songs always be played either acoustically or electric, or will they switch those up as well? Weíll know the answers soon enough. And we here at Ants will be at the first show of the summer, so be sure to keep an eye on our Twitter to get the answers to these questions as they happen!

Last but not least: will the band still play an encore? Come on, this is still DMB we're talking about!

The views and comments expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of antsmarching.org.


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