As Dave Matthews Band shows go, Friday night’s was not one for the record books. Twenty years from now, no one will dig into their archive of “Dave” looking for their copy of “DMB 2013: Live From Commerce City feat. Snoop Dogg & Tha Snoopettes.”
To sum up the first part of the DVD would be simple: Insert every exhausted, cliched pot joke and you have opening act Snoop Dogg.
Then on to Dave Matthews Band, a group whose draw in Colorado is as strong as anywhere else it could go. If there were ever a DMB show at Red Rocks in the dead of winter Colorado would sell it out. But Friday’s show at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park seemed far removed from what Coloradans have grown to expect from Dave. Is it unfair to draw comparisons to legendary shows such as 2001’s “Live from Folsom Field,” or “Live at Red Rocks 08.15.95?” Yes, but comparisons are how the true DMB fan measures his or her love for the band — song to song, album to album and live show to live show.
Friday night’s show — blame it on the venue, the weather, or the rows and rows of empty seats — did not capture that Dave Matthews Band magic. Bottom line. Blame it on the venue.
Thank you to Commerce City for hosting, but your stadium, which blocks a perfectly good view of the airport, has no business as a concert venue. As proved from DMB’s Mile High Music Fest, the dried up pastures on the outside of the stadium are more welcoming than the cold metal seats inside and plastic floor brought in to protect the Rapid’s soccer field. At least when the show is on the outside the smells match the setting.
As far as song selection and execution of the music goes, there is no argument. The Dave Matthews catalog is time-tested. He continues to find new ways to write the same music. He and the deft backing band of musicians caters to the audience’s hunger by building anticipation with a soft guitar lick or a fiddle riff that ends in the blasting crescendo of a horn section.
The songs that will be talked about the most from this show will be the band’s cover of Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” the two monkey songs “Proudest Monkey” and “Shake Me Like a Monkey,” a darker than to be expected “Don’t Drink the Water” and the encore of “Ants Marching” and “Halloween.”
Evan Semón is a Denver freelance writer and photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work.
Joshua Lowe is a Denver-area photographer and new contributor to Reverb.