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Recap: Stevie Wonder joins DMB on Stage at Star-Studded Benefit ShowPosted by Matt Yette in Charity at 6:41am on Tuesday, Sep 26th, 2017
Sunday evening saw the return of Dave Matthews Band for their lone show of 2017 at A Concert for Charlottesville at Scott Stadium in their hometown of Charlottesville, VA. DMB headlined the event, which included superstars such as Justin Timberlake, Chris Martin, and a surprise appearance by Stevie Wonder.
The politically-charged event has silhouetted against an already tense atmosphere, with NFL games earlier in the day turning into ground zero for the ongoing “#TakeAKnee” hot button issue. The show began with Dave Matthews performing a solo rendition of “Mercy,” much like he did during the Hand in Hand telethon. Dave then introduced the mother of Heather Heyer, the Charlottesville local woman who was killed during last month’s protests.
The show went on, featuring short appearances by Cage the Elephant, Coldplay members Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland, The Roots featuring Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes and Pharrell Williams, Chris Stapleton and Ariana Grande. The show then turned to a 45-minute Justin Timberlake set, which, for all of DMB’s touring acumen, was an impressive act to follow. JT put on a signature high-energy show, drawing practically universal praise across social media and the Ants forums.
The moment then arrived for Dave Matthews Band to make it’s return after more than a year since its last performance. An unheralded but certainly noticeable addition on stage with the band was the return of touring keyboardist Butch Taylor, whose last performance with the band dates back to a corporate function for Outback Steakhouse in 2008. After beginning the set with “Don’t Drink the Water,” “Warehouse,” “Satellite,” “Seven,” and “You Might Die Trying,” local trumpet player John D’Earth emerged to join the rest of the band for “Grey Street.” Things then turned political, as Stevie Wonder entered the stage, unannounced. Wonder joined Matthews at center stage as both musicians took a knee, with Stevie leading in prayer. After a lengthy monologue by the 67-year old legend, guitarist Natural and Dave’s vocal coach RAab Stevenson came up on stage to assist as Wonder led a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” before moving onto the Stevie Wonder songs “Love’s In Need of Love Today” and “Superstition,” which ended the set.
We now wait until 2018 for more DMB, which is shaping up to be a big year for the band, with the return to regular touring and their first studio album in nearly six years slated to be released.