The 05 Summer So Far
By Jake Vigliotti
August 1, 2005
With a lull in the action, it's a good time to look back at the shows that have occurred and see how the boys have been.
First, a sidenote. Since I'm old and have a ton of kids, I can't go to shows with the frequency I did back when 1130 pm was still considered 'early'. The show I saw this year was July 16. Besides the DMB giving me the greatest birthday present a fan could ask for (No Fool To Think!!), the show stood out for one very specific reason.
It was hot. I mean the kind of hot that makes you think that there is no way anyone lived in Florida before the advent of the air conditioner. DMB, to their credit, played one of the most perfectly produced sets I've ever seen. The show started off mellow, which we needed. The crowd was pretty into the show, considering it's hard to clap when you're waving a hat in front of your face to generate some form of air flow. Then came one of those great runs that slowly builds a crowd into a frenzy. You Might Die Trying was good, Warehouse was better, Granny was great, and Louisiana Bayou got the crowd up and rocking for good. As Grey Street ended, the crowd was ready to mosh. Then a very strange thing happened, Dave approached the crowd and thanked everyone for coming, but if you didn't hear what he said, you'd think he'd excused half the crowd to go to the restroom.
He played Where Are You Going.
We all like to rag on the song (me especially), merely because it's devoid, redundant, and hands down the worst song off the 'Busted Stuff' record, but this was a reaction I'd never seen. In my 19 or so modern era (read: big venues) DMB shows, I've never seen a mass sit-in like this one. I've seen songs debut, I've seen unreleased songs, but it was like Dave said, "go ahead and have a seat, we're taking this song off too!" I was 10th row right (section 01 for those familiar with the West Palm Beach venue), and I counted 18 people leave and walk past me on the right side walkway. That's a lot. I sat down (naturally), the wife sat down. The two people to my left sat down, and I recognized them from other Florida DMB shows in past years, so I know they don't sit down much either. I turned around and saw as many as 22 seats in a row with people sitting down! This isn't a new song they played, this is the first radio release off Busted Stuff, and people are staging a sit-in!
In case you didn't catch on to it, the energy was completely sucked out of the venue. The band bounced back with Jimi Thing, but I'd say about 1/2 of those that sat actually got back up. It's Jimi Thing, and people are sitting. An EMP Grenade doesn't suck as much energy out of a venue like Where Are You Going. Here's the weird part, I think the band knows it. You'll note that WAYG took a little break after the 7.16 show. They even left it on the table for the Randall's Island shows, and the song was inspired by events in New York.
It's official: Where Are You Going is a crowd-killer.
I'm not naive to think they'll shelf the song forever. In fact, they'll probably play it more often now after word gets out about this. But nothing will change the fact that the answer to 'Where Are You Going' will never be: Going to cheer, of course!
Now for the good news: This is the best tour in 5 years. All you 03 fans can send your complaints/threats to the usual email address, but I'm right and I can prove it. 2001 was an awful tour for a number of reasons, but the most glaring issue was the lack of depth to the Everyday songs. We were all expecting changes to the songs and they never occurred. 2002 was a 1/2 of tour really, it didn't even get good until after Busted Stuff was released. 2003 saw the return of a lot of songs, but it also saw the same songs a lot too. 03 was good, but this one's got em licked. And 04 was a nice little tour, but ultimately, it was a failure, because DMB was unable to produce the album they hoped to achieve by going on tour to finish up the song writing. In fact, exactly 0 songs emerged, despite some nice soundchecks and a few developed teases along the way (see 6.17.04-jam).
So here we are, 2005. The band puts out an album that some people like (like me) and some don't. That's life. But the band has done wholesale changes to make the stuff work live, and for that alone this tour is a success. Stand Up is better, Smooth Rider is smoother, Hunger For The Great Light (or the song that Alice Cooper likes, as I like to call it) is GREAT live, heck, even the pathetic "Stolen Away" song is good in the amphitheater. Even the most harsh critic of Stand Up must admit that the songs work live.
Then you get your mix of DMB fan fav's, Say Goodbye, Lie In Our Graves, Warehouse, and freakin' #34, you've got yourself a great tour. They even added in a new cover, and subtracted all those crappy Everyday songs (except two...) to keep the crowd up during the shows.
But the most important reason this is the best tour in 5 years is very basic: the band. They are having a lot of fun, and it shows. Even the wife (a 10 show vet herself) commented to me that DMB haven't had this much energy at a show since '98. She's barely a fan and she noted that. That's saying something. The boys are laughing, jamming, changing things up, and playing new(er) songs. It's all fun to them, and that makes it fun to the crowd.
If you're still torn on weather to go see a show or not, go. You'll regret not seeing DMB at the peak of their energy level.
So, what do we get the rest of the tour? Let's ponder some things...
- #34 will continue. That seems like a safe bet. You won't hear it every night, but every 3rd show or so seems like a nice fit.
- Tonight's encore is brought to you by the partnership of Old Dirt Hill and What You Are. If anything, DMB gets good at paring encore songs together and playing them to death. There seems to be 3 camps on What You Are: 1 camp does not like the song b/c it's vapid, 1 camp likes it because Dave drops an F bomb, and 1 camp likes it because the second Dave starts wailing, they're reaching for the keys and dropping "excuse me's" as they push their way to the parking lot.
- You're not going to hear Everybody Wake Up. The song was too layered in the studio, and they'd either have to change it drastically or bring in about 9 guests to get all the guitar parts to work. It's a shame, because in addition to being the only way you can hear the old rift to Build You A House live, it's a pretty sweet song.
- Where art thou Captain? It seems that there's at least a once a year appearance by Captain. I like that about the band, they'll drop in a song on someone, and the song will go away again. Who wouldn't want to be able to say, "I was at the only show in 05 where they played Raven!"
- They're not playing Raven. Sorry to get your hopes up, but that song can't come out to play. Just be thankful that we got You Never Know.
- The Gorge/Red Rocks/San Francisco shows aren't 'the greatest shows ever'. Every year people psyche themselves into thinking that because the band is playing a two or three night stand at a special spot, they'll definitely hear a Get In Line...>You Won't See Me...>MacHead closer. It doesn't work like that, and it never has. You don't believe me? The band planned to release a DVD show, and this is what we got. If it wasn't for the topless chick during Ants, I don't know if I'd ever watch that DVD.
- anyone know they broke out Space Between last year? Anyone care? Exactly. Some songs are going into retirement, and that's a good thing. It's a natural progression with the band, and the 06 tour will show you more of the same. As much as I like Busted Stuff and Grace Is Gone, their absence isn't exactly invoking riots. Sidenote, do you realize that Busted Stuff hasn't been played since may 2002 (full band)! Talk about not getting a chance.
- and finally... we're not getting any "B side" songs that didn't make the Stand Up cut. despite what we've heard in the ole rumor mill (word on the street says some of the stuff on the cutting room floor is fantastic), we have a much better shot of getting the stuff out on another album than hearing it during this tour. But we can still hope!
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