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That Positive 2006 Tour

By Jake Vigliotti
October 17, 2006

I think the first cry of “Best Tour Ever!!” occurred about 4 songs and 3 notes into the 2006 tour. It’s amazing what a Raven will do to the crowd (on-line and actually at the venue). The best way to judge a tour is to see a rare song pop up on the live setlist, and then go to the message boards and see how many Oh My God!! They just played (insert rare song here) threads there are. We saw our share of OMG threads this year.

Making returns were the aforementioned Raven, Big Eyed Fish, Digging A Ditch, JTR, The Dreaming Tree, The Last Stop, Say Goodbye, Proudest Monkey, The Song That Jane Likes, Joy Ride, and a few #40 teases. Plus, for added measure, the song also known as the best LA Clipper (prior to the 05-06 season) If I Had It All, So Right, and Satellite also came back.

So why all the bitterness?

Because, we, the fan, are fickle. Despite the fact that this was the best tour since 2000, we become very bitter when we don’t hear a song that we think we deserve. When we see Last Stop three shows in a row, we feel we’ve earned the right to hear it. Silly, ain’t it? But that is the fate of the DMB fan.

Remember, people were openly criticizing the Fenway shows, and they were outstanding.

We also dwell on the negative. It’s true. You ask me what I recall about the Tampa show this year (besides the horrid traffic), and I’d probably say, “I remember they played that stupid ‘Where Are You Going’, I yelled ‘To Get A Beer!’ and went to the concession stand.” After I got that off my chest, I’d probably settle down and remember that it was the most technically sound DMB concert I’ve heard. That goes back to that “I deserve to hear (insert song here)”.

So despite an unbelievable run by the band this year – at the least the best since 2000 (sorry 2003 lovers) – this tour seems to be remembered for what wasn’t played, or what songs that were played that no one wanted to hear. Dreamgirl’s return went over as smoothly as Lisa Simpson’s announcement of Gazpacho soup at Homer’s BBQ. The Everyday songs were weeded out, and the remaining ones could be tolerable, but 8.12.06 marked one of the few shows since the dreaded Everyday album that did not feature and ED song – 8.29.04 was the first the glorious show without any (the rest are listed on the boards). And too often we (and me too) forget about the great stuff and just think of that one song that we can’t stand and fear they’ll play it all night. I did that up until this year with ‘the-song-who’s-name-I-shall-not-type’. I still remember shuttering when Dave pulled out the electric and thinking, ‘Crap… here it comes.’ It took me until this year to finally sit back and actually not try and predict what song was coming next just by the guitar choice.

If the band came out and played nearly the same set of songs next year, no one would have any reason to complain. But we will. We always will. There’s always going to be that song we should’ve heard, deserved to hear, and that’s the one that keeps us going back to the message boards to complain about our great show.

So in this year of negatives, we’re only going to focus on the positives of the past tour. Without further ado, here’s your best of 2006:

Best Comeback Of The Year: Big Eyed Fish. With all due respect to Raven, The Last Stop, and The Dreaming Tree, Big Eyed Fish only had a few performances prior to this year where it didn’t segue into Bartender. The fact that we got 3 that didn’t segue into Bartender gives us hope that this song isn’t just a glorified intro. Of course we all wish they’d revert to the lyrical style from the Lillywhite Sessions (starting with ‘story of a man..’), but remember, this is the positive awards.

Best coverup of a potential disaster: 6.20.06. Carter’s snare breaks, and the band covers with a nice little jam intro into Ants Marching. Roi even dropped a little Also Sprach Zarathustra in that jam. That’s why this band is still the best money can buy at thinking on their feet.

Best Crowd: Night 1, Charlottesville. I know, the show you saw was the best, but listen to Sister. You could’ve heard a pin drop during that song. I’m sure Jane (who was in attendance) appreciated the crowd’s calm during the song.

Best Comeback that no one saw coming: Sleep To Dream Her. It appeared mid-to-late show in its 5 appearances, which was the best excuse to hit the head. On a serious note, if they ever ditched the lyrics to that song, and just used the jam portion of the song as an intro (to say like Grace Is Gone or even PNP..>Rapunzel), people would love it. But again, we’re positive.

Best Change of a Song: You Might Die Trying. I heard it 7 times (counting 3 in soundcheck), so I really got a good read on the quick ending. It worked out better than it did the prior year.

Best four song run of the tour: 6.28.06. After 4 great songs, you almost need a rest. I wouldn’t call Typical Situation much of a rest, but Raven, Say Goodbye, Dancing Nancies…>Warehouse is a hell of a run. Billies and JTR followed up Typical. That’s a 7 song run that would stunt your growth.

Best Use Of A Guest. Joe Lawlor, Rhyme & Reason (9.22.06). It’s not overstating it to call it the best R&R ever. Really.

Best Use of A Guest on a Song that Dave Really Likes a Lot: The Edge, Smooth Rider 4.29.06. If I were being cynical, I’d point out that at least when Clooney did the voice of the gay dog on South Park, they were trying to be funny by misusing the talent like that. But this is positive time, so there’s always a bright side to everything.

Best Song In An Encore: Pig. It’s been a fan favorite for such a long time, it’s almost surprising it has never appeared in an encore regularly prior to this year.

Best show overall: West Palm Beach Night 2, 8.12.06 (the webcast). No Everyday songs!! (must fight Satan… stay positive….)

Best Crowd Reax: Where Are You Going (any of em). The song is usually played off of a very upbeat song (usually…) and the crowd reaction is generally similar to the reaction that everyone had when they found out the secret to The Crying Game. I seem to be losing my positivity…

Best New Song: Shotgun. Has the potential to be a classic.

6th Best New Song (counting Sister): Can’t Stop. I like it, but the consensus seems to be that it’s the continuation of Smooth Rider. I still like it (that’s positive, right?).

Ok… we need to end it on a good note.

Best overall show performance by the band: All Of em. Seriously. This isn’t a copout. The band seemed to have fun in 2005. The energy and diversity of setlists in 2006 was even better. Just when you think all the negativity will bring the band down, they keep dropping old songs, new songs, and great jams on unsuspecting crowds. With a potential new album to promote, 2007 has a lot to live up to, but I wouldn’t put it past the DMB to surprise us with another great tour.

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


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