Dave Matthews Band At 3Arena – Review & Photos
This Dublin date, the finale of a six week European tour, Dave Matthews Band took to the 3Arena on Friday evening for a lengthy set, flirting with the three hour mark. With a healthy North American contingent present in the audience and in full booming boisterous voice, the group took to the stage early and with no support.
Beginning with ‘Big Eyed Fish’ from 2002’s Busted Stuff, acoustic guitar eases into it, with picked violin joining in with a forlorn melody offering a subdued start. The first song bleeds seamlessly into the second, drums and bass creating movement and casting musical shades while playing dynamically and with immense technical precision. The group create a massive and varied sound, aided by violin, saxophone, trumpet, and a deft, innovative lead guitarist.
‘So Damn Lucky’ provides rhythmic repetitive patterns on guitar, widened with reverb. Dave’s voice soaring, singing ‘take me back’, stepping slightly away from the microphone. Turning into an extended jam with slide guitar screeching at the end, the crowd begin to sing ‘thank you for letting me be myself again’, as the band introduce a brief Sly and the Family Stone outro.
Dave is in jovial mood and in flying form, thankful to the crowd throughout. His wit and humour comes across when talking about traditional Irish music, speaking about the rhythm and sound of a Bodhrán, he notes, ‘that’s a funky drum’, much to the amusement of the Irish in the audience. As Dave attempts to Irish dance onstage, the band breaks into ‘#41’. Introducing a very measured intro, acoustic guitar jangles, bass and drums backing it as the horn section spin some ethereal sounds and the singing drops in. When the chorus breaks, it sounds huge. The crowd cry out loudly joining with Dave, horns preceding them sounding out together, swinging with swagger and soul as violin kicks in a little country roots to the funk rock feel. A guitar solo grinds right into the mix as a walking bass line bounces to a massive build. Thrashy drums groove matching the frantic guitar solo as the horns stab. The crowd are raucous in response.
‘Tripping Billies’ showcases astounding virtuoso musicianship, Carter Beauford’s frenetic drums full of movement and power, horn section joining together, slicing during an extended violin solo as Dave sings ‘eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we’ll die’, the frantic pace of the music mirroring the quickened beat of modern life, the lyrical advice in the middle of it all to settle in and enjoy it, son.
New song ‘Blackest Blue Bird’ sits well in the set as does ‘Mercy’ from 2012’s Away from the World, Dave prefacing its performance stating, ‘my momma likes this song’. It’s easy to see why with its falsetto backing vocals and uplifting lyrical theme, deep saxophone blowing subtly as lead guitar gently lends its lot to the easy air. It is, however, more established tracks like ‘Grey Street’, including a fierce vocal performance, and ‘Don’t Drink the Water’, with its self assured swagger, that please the crowd the most and really rattle the roof of the arena.
With an encore performance of ‘Two Step’ lasting almost twenty minutes, the band depart. Drummer Beauford staying onstage ten minutes afterwards throwing drumsticks to the crowd, a graceful display, grateful to those gathered, giving a little bit back. Pleasing to see.
Review by Andy Guyett
Photos by Tudor Marian