Op-Eds Opinion

Dave Matthews Band Lights up NY Skyline

Matt Vaghi

Graphic Designer

After Dave Matthews Band announcedthey would be taking 2011 off from touring, fans began keeling over and feverishly thinking of what in the world they would do during a summer without Dave. Luckily, DMB saved their fans’ summers by embarking on a four-city tour called “DMB Caravan.”

During this tour, Dave Matthews Band played for an entire weekend alongside other various artists similar to the structure of music festivals such as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.

This past weekend, DMB hit their last leg of the mini tour:  Randall’s Island in New York City.  They were originally slated to perform August 26-28, before the wrath of Hurricane Irene took place.

Having already attended the entire weekend of DMB’s first Caravan in Atlantic City, I was eager for another impressive show despite the fact I only would be attending one night (Saturday).

The set up of Randall’s Island provided a breathtaking view of the New York skyline as the backdrop for the main stage. Between the main and second stage were lines of food stalls that offered an unimaginable variety of tantalizing tastes including cheesesteaks, chicken pitas, gyros, sausage, Thai and loaded cheese fries. A lengthy beer garden section, along with a Ben and Jerry’s truck, complimented the food.

In terms of music, each act provided the audience with a different style of music ultimately leading up to DMB taking the stage. Two bands, The Postelles and Rubblebucket, were New York natives who received last minute invites to play since many of the original acts could not attend due to Irene’s postponement. It was refreshing to get a glimpse of two artists who were able to showcase their musical abilities.

The more known acts included pop/country/folk songwriter Brandi Carlile, a solo show by the legendary Warren Haynes and Dispatch, whose members demonstrated their extraordinary instrumental skills by switching equipment with each other throughout the show.

Awaiting the arrival of DMB on the main stage, the crowd began chants such as “Oh Dave, oh Dave oh Dave oh Dave” in fervent anticipation. Standing amongst a colossal group of people was a physical strain, as I stood 30 rows back from the stage from 4:30 p.m. until the end of the show at 11 p.m. Suffice it to say, DMB injected my trembling feet and legs with a rush of adrenaline that kept me standing strong.

Notable songs in DMB’s set list for that night included “Crush,” “Two Step,” “Big Eyed Fish” and a rare treat with “Break Free.” Warren Haynes joined the stage mid-set to jam to “41,” where he and DMB guitarist Tim Reynolds dueled for a portion of the song. Haynes then performed Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” where he and Dave switched off singing verses.

What was most hospitable about the night was the courtesy of the crowd. There were barely any conflicts with fans jockeying for closer positions to the stage. Amidst the clouds of various smoke, beer cans scattered across the ground, and the token drunk guy stumbling around in the crowd, there was a unified ethereal bond of DMB fans who each were there simply for the music.

Matt Vaghi may be reached at mvaghi@springfieldcollege.edu

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