When the Dave Matthews Band rolled into the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Friday for the first of two nights at Nippertown’s most glorious amphitheater, it wasn’t just another concert. It was an awe-inspiring event with thousands upon thousands of people from all over the country taking part in what has become an annual summertime ritual.
If you walked through any of SPAC’s parking lots, you would have seen license plates representing almost every state in the union from Maine to California.
If you stood at the very front of the stage and looked back at the crowd, you would have seen that every seat in the house was filled. On the lawn, not a blade of grass was visible. Every inch was spoken for with someone standing there in anticipation of the band’s opening notes.
If you turned back around to look at the stage, you would have seen the busy-bee techs buzzing around the amps, mics and instruments, every connection being checked and then re-checked again.
If you looked around the orchestra pit you would have seen people enthusiastically chatting about how many DMB concerts they had attended: where and in what state. Some were proclaiming their love for one album or another, one song over another. Or how many times they have listened to the band’s newest album, “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King.”
In that sea of voices, you would have also heard many fans lamenting the fact that Matthews and his band was taking a sabbatical from touring after this year: so no return visit to SPAC in 2011.
And at some point, you would have heard a distant rumble of applause explode into a megawatt thunderclap rolling over you to greet drummer Carter Beauford, saxophonist Jeff Coffin, violinist Boyd Tinsley, guitarist Tim Reynolds, trumpeter Rashawn Ross, bassist (and birthday boy) Stefan Lessard and, of course, Dave Matthews as they stepped out onto the stage.
Matthews’ eyes slowly scanned the thousands of faces in front of him. Then with a quick glance at his bandmates and a nod of his head, the band launched into an emotion-laden set that traversed their 20-year career as America’s premiere arena roots-rockers.
WANNA HEAR IT?
THE DAVE MATTHEWS BAND SET LIST
Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, 6/4/10
Big Eyed Fish
Why I Am
Funny the Way It Is
Kit Kat Jam
So Damn Lucky/Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
Grace Is Gone
You And Me
Shake Me Like A Monkey