Remembering Hershey 2004
By Chris Young
I was 13 years old going on 14 (July 5 to be specific) in the summer 2004. My family had a membership to a campground outside of Lancaster, PA, and we owned a trailer so we would go up there fairly often. My dad would usually bring me to Hershey Park usually 3 times a summer, one usually coinciding with my birthday. The weekend after my birthday happened to be "teh Hersheyzzz! 2004!!!111!", "07.10.2004", great tape (I'll touch on that later), or just a great concert. I didn't realize the significance of that going into the trip to Hershey - this was my first Dave Matthews Band concert.
As weird as it sounds, I really wasn't looking forward to going to see the show; I was more looking forward to the day of roller coasters and rides in the Park. The reason we were going to see the show was because my dad liked the band a lot, and three of my older brothers and two of their significant others liked the band. At 14 years old that means you are going to see the show. Looking back, I am glad for the wisdom of the old, because they knew what was on the line in that good good time (see what I did there?).
My brothers and dad started going to DMB concerts in 97, and would see them at least once a year every year (usually one show per tour only). They got their first dose of DMB in 1996 when my oldest brother (who passed away in 2002, another reason why they kept the tradition of going to DMB shows alive and well) introduced them to the band.
In the car ride to the park we listened to Busted Stuff, and I remember getting into it and kind of getting excited to see them, although I wouldn't admit that to my family. I did say that I wanted them to play Big Eyed Fish, but I wouldn't concede that I'd rather go to the concert than go on Great Bear for a 6th or 7th time. Of the old songs that I secretly liked, Jimi Thing was probably my favorite at that point. I really didn't know that much of the catalog though, just random songs my brothers played in the car.
I remember listening to the Some Devil album and thinking that the full band should have been recording those songs because it would be better with the band. In my eyes today, I already had a seed planted in me to love the band before I even stepped foot into Hershey Park Stadium on July 10, 2004. Besides the fact that it was my oldest brothers (who was my best friend until he died in 2002) favorite band, I also was already complaining about personnel on a recording, and what the setlist should be at the show (see an Ant at heart before the concert!! ).
We walked into the concert and my dad and one brother and significant other went to our seats in the grandstand. My other 2 brothers, the one's girl friend, and myself stayed on the lawn because it seemed like the view would be better, plus my brothers wanted to drink beer, and the lawn was more convenient for that. I wasn't complaining, I got a few beers out of it. DMB came on after an hour long wait. I remember getting impatient and annoyed that we could have been in the park for longer. 22 shows later and I still don't like the feeling of waiting in the venue for the band to get on stage, it is in my eyes such a painful wait in anticipation of the music.
The first noticeable music I remember (tapes show that some noodling occurred before Warehouse) is Dave's opening riff to Warehouse. I loved it. I loved the Stop time intro, I loved everything about Warehouse. One song into the concert and I was already genuinely in love with this band. I remember thinking One Sweet World was ok, and that I especially liked the saxophone in it, but I didn't consider it a favorite. I remember loving every second of The Song That Jane Likes (which I recognized-probably from my oldest brother) > Sugar Will > The Stone (which I also wanted to hear I loved the guitar riff). My brothers were confused by new songs already being played because Busted Stuff just came out two years prior, and Dave just spend the year before doing a solo record, so it was a nice surprise for them. Back than I was disappointed when The Space Between was played (didn't like that song- but is now one of my favorites).
I liked Lie In Our Graves, and claimed that Hello Again was my current favorite DMB song after the concert. Rhyme and Reason was emotional for me, because it reminded me of my brother, because that was his favorite song. Good Good Time is my favorite song from the show now that I listen to tapes and stuff, but I would be lying to you if I told you that I had any memory of it at the concert itself. Grey Street and What Would You Say were two songs I recognized, so I felt like the music wasn't as foreign to me as I thought it was. I liked the little jam they did, but was wondering why they were doing it, and my brothers told me it was just common for the band to do that (they were drunk and stoned). Crazy-Easy was the low point of the show for me, I didn't like it, and my brothers both hoped it wouldn't be on the next album. Looking back, it was a careful what you wish for type situation (I will take Crazy-Easy over Steady As We Go for sure).
I liked When The World Ends, and was especially amused how they abruptly ended it as if the world ended. I loved Jimi Thing, and was especially happy with the For What It's Worth interpolation. I heard the Jimi Thing from Central Park the day before and was hoping they would do that. I was looking forward to hearing Where Are You Going going into the concert, but by that time I liked half the songs I heard more than Where Are You Going, so it didn't bother me or excite me at that point. I remember being excited when my brothers said Joy Ride must be a new song, because I was now looking forward to being a fan anticipating a new album for this band thanks to this concert.
Rapunzel ending the main set was absolutely perfect, and I didn't know about the encore, so I was confused by what we were all waiting around for. I don't remember Prelude to Grace honestly, but Ants Marching was a great ending to a great night. I raved about how much I loved the concert and how it was way better than the amusement park.
I wished there was some way to listen to this specific concert, because I liked almost every song that was played. None of them knew about the tapes, so they just agreed that it would be cool. I actually ended up stumbling upon Antsmarching.org shortly after that concert, and found out about downloading shows. I burned all of them a copy of the concerts (that's a lot of blank CD's) and they were all amazed by it. They thought it was crazy that I was able to get a CD quality recording of the concert we just went to. They didn't believe that the audio came from somebody taping in the audience. But from that moment on, I would keep an eye on setlists and download shows, and keep up with the band.
To this day Hershey 2004 was one of my best experiences in not only a concert, but in life. It got me hooked on the band that I still love to this day. This band has so much great music, it could never get old. My first tattoo ended up being "It's Amazing What A Minute Can Do" with my brothers name and the day he passed away on my chest. Without Hershey 2004, I don't know if I would have been hooked on the band the way I am today. I do think that this legendary show is not just an overrated message-board show, I really think it lives up to the hype. I can't say I have really listened to a lot of tapes from 2004, so I can't argue other versions (although I went through a Good Good Time phase and have heard damn near all of them - and will argue to the death that this Good Good Time is THE best one) but I have so many fond memories of the music at the concert, and Eric Naylor captured those memories perfect on his tape, which was absolutely fantastic quality. Thank you very much to all the tapers that do all that work so that we can relive the concerts, it is an awesome privilege and I don't think anybody can thank you enough.
Looking back, I am so glad that I got to experience Hershey 2004. That show is what made this DMB journey a possibility, and 22 shows deep and I have nothing but great memories and stories, even through the low points (car breakdown in Camden I stare at you - but that's a story for another chapter).
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