Dave Matthews Band: Live at Saratoga
by Thomas Dimopoulos
SARATOGA SPRINGS - Six hundred twenty-two thousand Dave Matthews fans bought the group’s new CD, “Busted Stuff,” this week and it seemed as if every single one of them was in a car on the way to see the band perform at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Sunday.
Under a haze of red lights, Matthews and company took to the stage.
Complemented nicely by LeRoi Moore’s tasteful saxophone licks, the group plunged bass-first into the lazy, funkified rhythms of their opener, “What Would You Say.”
For the next tune, “Song That Jane Likes,” it was violinist Boyd Tinsley’s turn to shine. Slicing through the thick sheets of rhythmic density, Tinsley’s electronic riffing was one of the musical highlights of the night.
Matthews sang, chanted and stretched his vocals wide enough to be welcomed into the big arms of the show’s sold-out crowd, which lapped up every wail, note and solo like hungry lemmings in a musical sea.
They sang along to “When The World Ends,” and nearly drowned the singer out altogether during “Crush” - with nearly 25,000 pairs of hands alternately pointing skyward, and then toward the earth to the soundtrack of Matthews’ key vocal segments:
“Am I right side up - or upside down?”
The band was pumping on all cylinders.
“The show tonight is one of the best that I have seen by the band,” said Christine, who like many in attendance journeyed here for the pair of shows. “This is my 25th Dave Matthews concert, and this place (SPAC) is a great place to see a show,” she added. “It’s a real bonding experience,” said the young woman, alongside her brother Richard (who was silent but a pretty decent air-drummer). The pair made the trip from Bergen County, N.J.
“It’s my 13th or 14th time,” said Paula Efteriadis, who made the trip from Long Island with her friend Dorothy Kyriannis. “Last year we went to the Tweeter Center in New Jersey,” Efteriadis said, “and this show is much better,” said Efteriadis, before turning back to the action on the stage. She and her friend cupped their hands in unison and cried for their favorite, “Seek Up.”
And while they didn’t get that wish Sunday night, they did get a 15-song set plus an encore that featured about a quarter of material from the new CD.
The pavilion shook and shimmied as the crowd sang along to the sound pushed forward by bassist Stefan Lessard and accented throughout by virtuoso solos via reedman Moore and violinist Tinsley.
A large video screen inside showed the band from several angles, although from percussionist Carter Beauford’s seat, his appearance as a tiny dot at the bottom of the massive screen looked overwhelming at times.
As Matthews appeared on the screen, it looked like he was massaging the drummer’s skull- or at least administering periodical noogies to his head while strumming his acoustic guitar.
The smart ones began their journey well in advance of the 7 p.m. starting time, which also featured Venezuelan funksters Los Amigos Invisibles.
“Oh, I got here early,” said Albany resident John Foshee, who has attended previous DMB performances at the venue. “I liked the opening band,” he said about the Spanish-singing group, “although I didn’t understand a word they said.”
The sound actually got better as it streamed out of the pavilion to the nearly 20,000 people on the lawn. They were able to view the goings-on from the multiple video screens mounted on the exterior of the amphitheater.
On the lawn, undaunted by the distance, the fans roared and shouted. Amid the delicate drizzle and heavy mist of the night, a rolling cascade of cheers reached a crescendo several times throughout the performance, both from those in the seated interiors of the pavilion, and on the grassy lawn outside.
published in The Saratogian, July 30, 2002