Wow, what a weekend it’s been! Sitting here at the airport, it’s interesting to reflect on all of the places that I’ve been and all of the things that I’ve done for the last two days. It’s pretty surreal and I’m having a hard time believing that today is Monday.
Sunday I ended up sleeping in pretty late, enjoying that nice king size bed in the hotel. This has been my first chance to sleep in for quite some time and I made every moment of it! After I did my morning routine, I checked out the hotel and went to go rent my car. I ended up with a Toyota Camary, which was a pretty nice car. I drove through the city to make my way to Bowie, MD where my Sunday night hotel was. I then had some lunch and went to Target to purchase a few bare essentials that I’d forgotten for the concert: a disposable camera and earplugs. I then went over to meet up with Meghan and we headed down to Bristow, VA. It was about a 2 hour drive to get there – getting back was another story (more to come).
Nissan Pavilion at Stone Ridge
This was an amazing venue! I would say that it probably seats somewhere between 15-18,000 people (rough guess). For the Colorado folks – think of Fiddler’s Green (now called the Coors Amphitheatre) but NICER, BIGGER and covered. The venue itself is out in the middle of nowhere. It’s surrounded by forest, and it’s pretty remote from any town. They had three levels of seats that sloped really well. Each section didn’t have stairs in the aisle, but rather just sloped downward. At the top is a lawn area, which is far bigger than Fiddler’s lawn, and they actually TAKE CARE OF THEIR GRASS! At any venue like this lawn seats are always bad, but for lawn seats these were decent.
Meghan and I had tickets to Section 201, Row K, Seats 42 & 43. We were on the right side, towards the middle of the seating area. Overall pretty good seats. We still got a pretty good view of the band, and they had two large screens off to both side of the stage. I was surprised to find that our section didn’t crowd up as much as I thought it would have. There were probably 5-6 empty seats in our row, that allowed everyone to spread themselves out a bit.
So my big accomplishment that night was that I snuck in a disposable camera! There were patting people down, but I got it in airport-style, stuffing it to the toe of my show. I was walking around as if I had a gimped foot, but no one said anything about it, and it didn’t look that awkward. My shoe looked a little bulky, but it’s about what you expected if I had it wrapped up. I was feeling pretty good about getting my disposable camera in, until I saw the guy next to me snuck in his digital camera! No fair! I wasn’t going to chance getting my digital taken away. We were a good ½ mile from the car and I wouldn’t feel as bad chucking a disposable camera out. During the show I was disappointed in my picture-taking. The camera wasn’t allowing me to disable the flash, and the guy next to me was showing me his exposures with the flash off so I was starting to get jealous. As soon as I get home I’m dropping the camera off. I’m getting a CD with it, so I hope to have some pictures up here soon. What was really cool was the guy next to me offered to email me pictures to, which brings me to…
The people that were next to us were really cool. As I mentioned the guy offered to send me pictures and even took a few pictures of Megan and I to send to us, so I’m really excited about that! Then there were some girls behind us that were really nice and asked me to send some pictures to them, so I’ll be doing that if they turned out. They were also impressed with my song-predicting abilities – lol. I’ve listened to so many Dave Matthews Band songs that I can tell virtually every song by listening to 2-3 chords (and they’re always playing them in between to warm up a bit). I’ve also heard so many intros that I can key into them pretty well. So during the encore I kept saying “Watchtower” to the girls next to us and then they started playing it and got excited that I could pick them. We talked a bit afterwards and they were really stoked about the Red Rocks show and are going to try to get tickets as well. It’s always nice to meet another “Warehouse” member, being that I’ve now been a member for a whole week
Otherwise I’m convinced that people from this region have no desire to attend the event/show that they bought tickets for. There must be something more interesting and fun going on in the concession stands and parking lot because PEOPLE LEFT ALL THE TIME! Geez, Beers out here were $7.50 (which seems a lot higher than concerts back at home). How many of them can you drink? Come to think of it, they probably didn’t drink them. They just liked buying them. I didn’t see anyone trashed in our row, but I kept seeing a steady in-flow of beer. A few people kept getting their beer spilled because people kept going through the rows – maybe that’s why they kept on needing refills. But yeah, DC/VA/MD folks – you guys are 0-2 in being able to watch a show/event!
DMB didn’t disappoint, and as much as I was complaining about traveling when they’re now coming to Colorado when the band took the stage there really wasn’t any other place I would have wanted to be at that point. I let go of all of the stress that the trip has brought, from the last week and every little thing that I was struggling with up to this point – and just was present to the music. At that point it was about having a good time, singing along, dancing and just being moved by music.
New music dominated the night. The band played a total of 10 (of the 14 total) songs from the "Stand Up" album! I appreciated that as I was anxious to see how some of these songs would translate into the live arena, and outside of "Hello Again" I hadn’t heard any renditions of any of them.
You’ll find the set-list below (along with some comments I made about each song). Unless you’re a hard-core fan, or are interested in learning more about DMB, you may want to skip the setlist part.
As I was in the parking lot I called Bethany, who asked me right off the bat "Was this the best DMB concert you’ve been to?". I had to think for a moment, but in the end I had to tell her "no", and a day later I’m sticking to it. Despite the resounding chants going on before the encore, they didn’t play "Two Step" which is my all-time favorite song. Also missing were some of my favorites such as "the Stone", "Ant’s Marching" and "Crash Into Me". As I was going through the set list, I also saw that they did not even play one song from the "Everyday" CD – which was interesting. I realize they’ve put out 7 studio albums with the release of "Stand Up", but it’s funny that they totally skipped over the whole album (I’m always up for a little "What You Are", "When the World Ends" or even "Everyday"). Hmmmmmm….
Also wearing earplugs at a concert is a novel idea. Why I didn’t think of it before – I don’t know. I got a pair that protects up to 30 decibels – still plenty to get the music quality, and none of the ear damage! Sweet!
One other things before I talk about the set-list. Memo to Nissan Pavilion: YOUR PARKING LOT SUCKS! It’s this little dirt road that is really only enough for one car at a time. It seems like you have three different directions feeding into that road and one of them being the freakin’ huge parking lot where they have no method to get people out. Bottom line – we were stuck there for 1 & 1/2 hours!!!! Now you guys have people playing there night-in and night-out. How can you tell me that you never stopped to address the parking situation. What a mess!
Like I said, this is the point of no-return for you non-DMB nerds out there. Please skip on, otherwise let’s go on this ride…
Dream Girl - Hahaha what a great way to start the show! It set the perfect tone. While this song was playing all I could think of was my sister saying "I wake up to this song every morning", and listening to that chanting and laid back feeling as the sun was setting was awesome!
One Sweet World - Classic song for being out in the middle of the forrest on a beautiful night - So let us sleep outside tonight, Lay down in our mother’s arms, For here we can rest safely
Don’t Drink the Water - Class sing played at pretty much every show I’ve been to…
Hunger For The Great Light - More new stuff. I love the beginning of this song, then how it gets "hard" (relative term for DMB). "Stefan Lessard on the bass everybody!"
Say Goodbye - Drum solo #1! Woah, Carter uses "Weed-Wacker" sticks like I do. I can be Carter… Pretty song, and you gotta love the flute-playing!
Too Much - Classic Crash, great solo at the end. One thing non-related. I was listening to the Live & Golden Gate CD, and this song (last song of disc 3), DMB and someone else from the band got into this Chappel’s Show Lil’ John mood. At the 5 minute mark in the song they go "What? Okay! YEAH!"
Out Of My Hands - Not my favorite new DMB song, but it was cool to listen to. Dave just sang during this one – no guitar. Come to think of it, no one really played anything except for Carter on the drums and Butch on the keyboards. What bothered me with this song is that the drums never locked it in with the song. I realize it’s not supposed to, and they pull it off in the studio, but hearing it live – it just sounded crappy.
Grey Street - An old favorite for me! I was going through both the drum part and guitar part in my head while this was going on.
Steady As We Go - Beautiful! This is my favorite song from "Stand Up" (the quote at the top of my Xanga is from this song). It sounded SWEET live! I actually didn’t think they were going to play this – so this was a pleasant surprise.
Hello Again - Drum Solo #2!
You Might Die Trying - Wow… I have to tell you, when I heard the studio version of this song the first time, my only thought was "Great song, but someone totally watered down the drum part." It sounded pretty artificial, FAT and boring (which is not really the style). Every time I heard the studio version of the song I had this little drum part working in my head. Well when they played it live – Carter brought that little drum part to life! He played it exactly the way I envisioned. Nice FAT groove, but then he laid down a few fills and licks that brought it back to his signature style!
Where Are You Going - Always pretty, but I actually decided to make a beer run during the song.
Warehouse - Sweet as always! This is also another song I’ve heard at pretty much every show I’ve been to.
Stolen Away On 55th & 3rd - Personally I think this is the worst song on Stand Up. I don’t get this song. It’s repetitive, doesn’t really have much of a structure, and is just boring. During the song Dave Matthews did something that I’ve never seen him do in any of the 7 shows I’ve been to – HE SAT DOWN! He didn’t really say why, maybe because he was bored. The rest of the crowd was too, because everyone pretty much sat down with him.
Stand Up - Back on your feet! How appropriate! Nice rendition live. At this point Robert Randolph took the stage, and played an awesome slide-guitar! He also lended the high pitched "Stand Up" you recognize from the CD! Butch Taylor offers the baritone voice at the beginning of the album version.
Louisiana Bayou - This was another one of those songs that I was looking forward to hearing live! The studio version has an awesome groove, but I could always envision the band taking it to the next level live – and they sure didn’t disappoint! Great song, and Randolph gave an awesome solo – at point he was playing the slide guitar with his tongue!
American Baby - Right before they played this song, Dave gave a big "Thank You" to all of the soldiers that are defending our freedom. I thought this song was a nice tribute to that!
All Along The Watchtower - At this point we were all still hoping for Two Step, but this song was good. It’s been sounding the same for the last 5 years – just different solos, so it gets a little bored. I like hearing the band getting "hard" though. Randolph came out and gave another awesome solo!
So those are some of my initial thoughts. I’m dropping the camera off tomorrow in hopes that I’ll get pictures to post later this week! Let me know if you have any thoughts and questions. I’ll add more on this concert as it all comes back to me
Dave Matthews Band FAQ – Everything you wanted to know about DMB!