In all probability Dave Matthews has experienced every situation one could possibly encounter on a stage. There is also a strong possibility that the bulk of his fans have witnessed him encounter all those situations. An enthusiastic fan front row center at the Shoreline Amphitheater was telling everyone within ear shot that this was her 362nd Dave Matthews Band show. The teenage security guard posted at the front of the stage looked at her in disbelief. When Matthews strolled onto the massive stage he nodded his head her way. With that acknowledgment came a shrill scream form the woman. Matthews is probably used to those types of greetings by this point. Even from fans that have seen him 362 times.
Allen Stone had the privilege of being the only opening act for Matthews and company. He took full advantage of that opportunity. He has a unique voice, one that might be compared to those found on old blues records. Odds are Stone has worked a few small rooms in his career. Maybe even some bars, parking lots and frat parties. He transformed the cavernous amphitheater into a smoky pub while he was on stage. His conversation was effortless and light. He connected to the audience immediately. Whoever hired Stone as the opener for the DMB summer tour deserves a raise.
The only thing that rivals Mathews vocals are his faces. The many faces of Matthews were ever present in Mountain View has he winced and smiled his way through an epic set. He opened the show strongly with “Grave Digger,” being played in the top three numbers. The many that have come to regard Matthews and crew as a “jam band” are partially right. But the show is much more than that.
Matthews quick interludes throughout the performance elicited laughter from the fans. “My momma likes this one,” was one random thought. At one point a sailor’s hat made its way to Matthews who donned it for a few numbers. Although this was a major tour, the lighting rig and stage set behind Matthews proved that, the set was very informal.
Fans lugged in microphones to record the show, something DMB allows, and the parking lot had the feel of a Grateful Dead concert rather than a modern rock show. The amount of recognizable songs that Matthews performed was staggering. It’s easy to forget the huge presence he’s had in the music industry and just how many years he’s had it. Matthews was both professional and fun – a master musician and worldwide celebrity who doesn’t seem to know just how famous he is. He gave thousands of people a chance to grab a drink, relax with friends and listen to a few hours of excellent music.