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Remembering Gainesville 1994

By Jeff Blanchard

In the early winter, 1993, I was half way through my schooling at the University of Florida, in Gainesviile, FL. I worked at a place that no longer exists in Gainesville called Joe's Deli. It was a wonderful deli that made a sandwich called the "Gatortail", which was a game day favorite. The place is well known by not only Florida grads, but by people who have visited Gainesville for football games, one of those local restaurants that you just have to visit.

It was in Joe's Deli that a cassette tape came into my hands called, "Remember Two Things." A co-worker brought the tape in and spoke very highly of this Dave Matthews Band. We played it in the back prep area and the tape never left the stereo after that. We would flip it (yeah kiddies, we used to have to flip a tape) countless times a day. I fell in love with the band, and couldn't listen to them enough.

Of course this was before the internet really existed, and getting info was tough, but I always had a hope that they might stop by Gainesville and play a show. They seemingly played around college campuses, best I could tell, so I tried to keep an ear out for info on them, but really never had any success figuring out their schedule.

Fast forward a few months. At that time I was also working 1-2 nights a week as a DJ at a bar (that also no longer exists) called Gatormeister's. I remember working that Tuesday night, but the owners closed us down at about 8pm, because business was so slow. As I packed up the equipment, and got ready to head home, a friend showed up knocking on the now locked front door. I waved, and held up a finger as if to say, "one minute". He hurriedly waved his hands as almost in a panic.

I finished up what I was doing and unlocked the door to let him in. He started talk really fast and only really caught my ear when I heard "blah blah blah, Dave Matthews Band, blah blah blah..." I asked what he had said, and he responded, "the Dave Matthews band is playing at the Covered Dish tonight!" I felt my heart stop. I grabbed my backpack and we sprinted out the door.

Gatormeister's was only about 3 blocks from the covered dish, so we got there in about a 2 minute sprint. There was a line of about 25 at the door, and you could hear some live acoustic music coming from the venue. I saw my friend Roger working the door and he let us right in.

Now mind you, I had no idea what any of them looked like, I had only heard Remember Two Things at this point, and I don't recall as much as I would like of the evening, but I do VIVIDLY remember Minarets and the Song that Jane likes because those were my favorites at the time off of R2T. Even now as I look at the set list, those are the only two songs I really remember. I don't even remember my first Halloween! I didn't even know the song back then.

That night only grew my fire and passion for this band. It was an amazing night of music, and if I remember correctly there were only maybe 150 people in the place (and 5 of us are current Ants now, according to the Tour Central stats). Since that year I have seen this amazing band at least once a year, and will continue to do so, until either I or the band are not around anymore.

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


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