Posted - 08/05/2008 : 12:40:40 AM
| Dave Matthews Band finds its guitar hero
by David Lindquist
Posted: Jul 26, 2008 in Music
Red is the color of the concert the Dave Matthews Band played Friday night at Verizon Wireless Music Center.
Red matched blood in the water of the show's opening number, not to mention the devil primed for a beatdown in the song "Eh Hee," the stripes in drummer Carter Beauford's soccer jersey and the Stratocaster guitar played by Tim Reynolds that generated so much heat onstage (although the guitar's true color may have been burnt orange).
Matthews led an amped-up, go-for-broke production unlike any other in his band's 17 years of live performance.
A shakeup in personnel led to the evolution in sonic aggression. Touring keyboard player Butch Taylor exited the lineup earlier this year, making room for Reynolds -- best known until now as an unplugged sidekick when Matthews plays solo shows.
Meanwhile, saxophone player Leroi Moore is missing this summer's tour while he recuperates from an ATV accident. Jeff Coffin (of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) is filling in, but his contributions were meager when compared to the steady flow of Reynolds highlights.
If you've ever wondered what a six-string electric gunslinger could accomplish in the context of the sax/fiddle/acoustic guitar framework of the Dave Matthews Band, this is the year to catch the experiment in all its glory. (Friday's estimated audience was 20,000, while tonight's show at Verizon is sold out).
Reynolds dominated Friday's rendition of "So Damn Lucky," from slide-guitar accents to a recursive pattern of notes that brought the song home. During the yet-to-be-released "Corn Bread" -- a rapid-fire assortment of sex rhymes -- a blistering solo from Reynolds caused Matthews to surrender to a puppet-on-a-string dance reminiscent of Justin Timberlake's free-stuff Pepsi commercial.
Matthews didn't budge an inch, however, when outlining man's shortcomings within the lyrics of "Eh Hee": "We're just a collection of cells, overrating themselves."
Equally mystic was a Reynolds solo evocative of Carlos Santana during a version of 1996 track "Two Step." Perhaps reflective of his short history with the band, Reynolds wrapped up abruptly to leave drummer Beauford somewhat high and dry.
But thanks to pinpoint striking and lively expression wherever he lands a drum stick, Beauford doesn't need a solo showcase to prove his skills.
Given the opportunity, he tricked out and expanded "Two Step" before eventually bringing all of his band mates together for a wall-of-sound climax.
The passage impressed to the point of asking, "Are you kidding me?" -- and it was just one of the night's several jaw-dropping moments.
Peace & Keep the Faith
"THE MUSIC BUSINESS IS A CRUEL AND SHALLOW MONEY TRENCH-- A LONG PLASTIC HALLWAY WHERE THIEVES AND PIMPS RUN FREE AND GOOD MEN DIE LIKE DOGS. THERE'S ALSO A NEGATIVE SIDE..." -Hunter S. Thompson