Saturday, July 30, 2005

Pantala Naga Pampa

(Finally! I can't think of a year when my first DMB show has been so late in the season than 2005 - the last time I saw the boys was way back on October 2nd, 2004. If you think it's odd that I can rattle off that date so easily, you obviously don't know me very well. Let me give you a little backstory...

It all started in the fateful fall of 1998. A naive Brian was in his Junior Year of High School and was not the musical conessuier you know and love today. Sure, I had heard some DMB songs such as "Satellite" and "Ants Marching" before the year 1998 AD, but they had little impact on me. Back in those days I was "cool". I listened to the Tupac rap music or the Bush rock and roll. I was a general badass. Bluegrassy-folky-acoustic-jammy music? No thank you. I was too cool for school. Then something changed. All the sudden I realized that I could care less about listening to the "cool music" that everyone else was listening to (or "being cool" for that matter) and a lot of that music was pretty harsh and negative. Life wasn't all death and destruction and rage. There's also puppy dogs and ice cream and this crazy little thing called love. I craved something more in my musical diet.

Enter the Dave Matthews Band. Somewhere around the summer of 1998, Crash became the greatest CD ever. Suddenly the music stylings of the Dave Matthews Band spoke to my heart. The sweet guitar plucks and violin melodies made me bob my head in my now-famous "white guy dancing" fashion and the lyrics offered great life lessons. The other great thing was that I found this whole Internet community that was completely obsessed about them (which fit well with my tendencies to obsess over stuff).

I'm not going to lie - I would spend hours a day reading old setlists. The website / message board was my homepage. I would download every version of every song I could find and spend hours discussing minute details of the band and their songs. No, I didn't have a girlfriend in the summer of 1998, why do you ask?

At any rate, before you knew it, I was Dave Matthews Band Fan #1 (at least in my region - there's some really crazy people out there!... that I'm jealous of and would like to meet and engage in DMB trivia). I attended my first concert on November 21, 1998.

Seven years later, here I stand. As big of a fan now as I've ever been. Some things have changed. The DMB Crew began posting real-time setlists on their website in 2000, letting me know exactly what songs were being played the precise moment that the band began playing them. Thus, a new summertime evening activity was born - watching setlists come up by maniacally pressing F5 to refresh the page, listening to the songs on the Winamp to feel like I was there. Technology improved and DMB fans got more clever. I have listened to shows I'm not at via people holding up their cell phones, calling friends back home, and having these friends broadcast it over the Internet. Crazy! I still write down setlists whenever I'm bored, thinking up new and crazy song segues and concerts that have different flows to them. DMB Internet Message Boards have been born and died ( --> --> but I've followed them along every step of the way and found them to be the greatest resource and knowledge base on the Internet. I'm not kidding.

I've now been to 27 Dave Matthews Band shows in which 518 songs have been played, an average of 19.19 songs per show. At these 27 shows, I have seen 123 different songs. I can easily rattle of the setlists and dates of each of these shows. They're almost religious experiences for me.

Which brings me back to my original post - the first DMB shows of the year 2005 for me were last week. Here is the full review!)

With the band currently touring in support of their new CD, "Stand Up", you have to slightly adjust your expectations going into a show. They're obviously going to play a more "Stand Up Heavy" setlist than if they were just going on a summer tour with no album to support. Having said that, there had been some questionable shows up until this point over the summer where the band played 9 or 10 Stand Up songs, leaving only 7 or 8 slots on the set open for tunes from their other 5 major studio releases. Not that I don't love Stand Up, I do - it's just I'm much more a fan of "equal representation of all CDs" at a show... except Everyday, of course :)

7.21.05 - Riverbend Music Center - Cincinnati, OH

One Sweet World
Don’t Drink the Water
American Baby Intro -->
Dream Girl
Steady As We Go
Louisiana Bayou
Too Much
You Never Know
Hello Again
Stolen Away On 55th & 3rd
So Much To Say
Smooth Rider
Hunger For The Great Light
Ants Marching
Out Of My Hands
Pantala Naga Pampa -->

I was extremely pleased with the setlist choices tonight! Check out the spread across the board:
9 Stand Up songs
3 Before These Crowded Streets songs
2 Busted Stuff songs
2 Crash songs
2 Under the Table and Dreaming songs
1 Remember Two Things song


1. Louisiana Bayou - fantastic, fantasitc, fantastic song off of Stand Up. I've heard people rave about it all tour, and I'm not a card carrying believer as well. The jam at the end goes on and on and I didn't want it to stop - ever. There were no words, I was just singing the instrument chords... and loving every minute of it.

2. Hello Again - this song was a monster last summer - but now that everyone else in the crowd knows it, it's gotten even better. Carter's jam was sick.

3. #34 - are you kidding me? I was sure I was going to die before hearing this song live. Before they started playing it a few weeks ago, it hadn't been played in a live setting since March 23, 1993. Over 12 years ago. Beautiful song (could have gone for Dave singing the 3.23.93 lyrics of "lean upon me, I'll lean upon you, we'll be okay" - but who am I to complain?)

4. American Baby Intro - there are four words to this song, repeated many times, but it's freakin' INTENSE. Love it.

5. You Never Know - perhaps the band's best song to be released since Before These Crowded Streets, it's a powerhouse of music, lyrics, and jamming. Wasn't expecting it, enjoyed it immensely!


1. No Bridge - this is only the second time ever I've heard the band play "So Much to Say" without following it with "Anyone Seen the Bridge" and then another song. I absolutely love the bridge. Remember what I said about Bayou being my favorite jam ever? Well, I just realized I lied. The Bridge is my favorite jam ever. SMTS just seems like a tease without the Bridge to follow.

2. Out Of My Hands - this song is great on the CD, but in the live setting, it is a huge mood killer. I have nothing against slower songs, but this song kinda makes you want to jump off a building - it's so creepy and depressing.

All in all, very happy. Best show I've ever seen? No, but it's a tour to support a CD, so I wans't expecting it to be. Good times were had by all.

After a quick half day at work the next day, we drove to Indianapolis to see the Killers on our way up to Alpine for more DMB.

Quick Killers Review - good, but short. They only have one CD, and that's all they play. Their look is a little too "glam rock" for me, but they write a catchy tune and have good energy. The end.

So here's the story about Alpine:

There are basically three "meccas" for DMB fans: Deer Creek, The Gorge, and Alpine.

Deer Creek is located right outside Indianapolis, and I've been there four times (6.23.00, 6.24.00, 8.10.02, 8.11.02). Great place to see a show, surrounded by corn fields and campgrounds. Made famous by the Greatful Dead always playing shows there.

The Gorge is located in George, Washington. I'm heading there in August for the first time ever and couldn't be more excited about it. The venue is hours away from any major city, and the stage sits perched on the edge of a ravine of the Columbia River.

Alpine is located in East Troy, Wisconsin. It's also about an hour from any major city, and at least 40 minutes from any real civilization. It holds the distinction of being the freakin' biggest ampitheater in the country. Check it out:

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..and I don't even know if those do it justice. The stage is three times as big as any stage I've ever seen, the lawn is at least twice as big as any other venue I've ever been to, and being in the middle of nowhere - everyone is there camping and dedicated to the Dave Matthews Band, making for great crowds. People start filling up the parking lot (read: big grass field) hours and hours before the show, creating the best tailgating scene I've ever been a part of (even better than Who Dey Bengals Games!)

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So anyways, back to the story - this is the year I went to Alpine for the first time. I figure, it's about time I visit all three DMB Meccas before I die to see what all the fuss is about. We head up from Indianapolis the morning of the show in a light rain. No big deal, rain makes DMB shows more fun (6.23.00, 6.24.04). As we set up our tent at a local state park, the rain let up and I made the mistake of saying "Oh good, the rain has passed us." Inside the tent, putting on my shoes, all the sudden the worst storm ever hit.

I'm talking buckets of water pouring into the tent. Thunder cracking loud overhead, lightning causing the tent to light up to the point where you could feel the heat. Suddenly the tent began lurching back and forth wildly, lifting up at the corners. I really thought I was going to die. We dove back inside the car, drenched, and watched as the tent collapsed into a pool of water. After about 15 minutes of calling our loved ones to say goodbye (just in case), we figured there was nothing we could do there and headed off for the show. A little near death experience wasn't going to hold us down!

As we got closer to the venue, cars were just parked in the middle of the road, and along the highway. No one was moving. Bad traffic? No, we found out that they were not letting anyone into the parking lot because there was a Tornado Warning for the area, and they wanted us to take shelter. But, seeing as it was only lightly raining at this point, DMB fans did the next best thing - start tailgating in the middle of the road.

Cornhole boards were setup, beers were cracked open, frisbees and footballs flew. It was great. After about an hour, they began letting cars in the parking lot, where the same scene continued for a few hours. Then it was showtime!

7.23.05 - Alpine Valley Music Center - East Troy, WI

#41 (Everyday)
One Sweet World
Louisiana Bayou
Hunger For The Great Light
American Baby Intro -->
Say Goodbye
Dream Girl
Time Of The Season
You Might Die Trying
Rhyme & Reason
Smooth Rider
Lie In Our Graves
Lover Lay Down
Pantala Naga Pampa -->
Best of Whats Around
What You Are

Another fantastic show. Before each show, I always try to predict the opener, and usually I'm way off because I unrealisticly hope and dream for songs like Two Step or Tripping Billies. Tonight I guessed #41, and was right!


1. #41 - I heart this song. Great opener. Everyday outro sung fantastically by the crowd.

2. American Baby Intro --> Say Goodbye - I hadn't heard Say Goodbye since 6.26.00 and it was sweet to hear it segued with the American Baby Intro.

3. Time of the Season - this year's cover, an old Zombies song. Very fun, with Butch hitting the high notes and doing the staccatto clapping. Plus, it's got the line "What's your name, who's your daddy?" which is very fun to sing!

4. The Crowd - best crowd I've ever been a part of. OAR opened up for DMB, and the crowd knew all their songs. Fun. The crowd sang along to every DMB song, not just the radio hits. Fun. Between OAR and DMB, the house music was Sublime. The entire crowd was singing and dancing along to it. Very fun.

5. Best of What's Around - great placement as the E1 song, and totally unexpected.


1. What You Are - yes, this song is good - but it's not my favorite closer. Every time they play it my mind can't help but think "This could be Billies / Ants / Two Step / Too Much / Watchtower in this slot instead of What You Are", which are all songs I enjoy more. I'm nitpicking, I know.

2. Almost Dying - that would have been a bummer. We found out later that a tornado touched down less than a mile from where we were camping. Yikes.

So we head back to the campground, dry our tent the best we could, and wake up the next morning to the most oppressive heat to hit the region in 17 years. Heat index of 120, not a cloud in the sky, painfully hot. We instituted "No Shirt Sunday" and headed to the parking lot for 7 hours of tailgating. Apparently "open container" laws don't exist in Wisconsin. Or "you have to be 21 to drink" rules. An 8 year old sold us beer at the gas station. And you know who knows how to party? Drunk 17 year olds, because they comprised a good chunk of the parking lot. On to the show:

7.24.05 - Alpine Valley Music Center - East Troy, WI

Everyday (#36)
Dream Girl
Stand Up
Dancing Nancies -->
Warehouse -->
(Norwegian Wood) -->
Steady As We Go
Hunger For The Great Light
Jimi Thing
You Never Know
When The World Ends
(#40) -->
Out Of My Hands
What Would You Say
Too Much
Old Dirt Hill
Two Step

There are definitely some highlights in there, but this was my least favorite show of the three.


1. #40 - I love this song, and I've only heard it once before (6.26.00). The best part is that Dave hit ONE CHORD of it in between songs and the place went crazy. The crowd chanted for it between the next few songs, and then he busted out a full verse and chorus of the song.

2. Two Step - I could hear this every show and be happy. Intense intro and outro, best lyrics to sum up a DMB show ("celebrate we will, for life is short but sweet for certain.")

3. Numbers - This is the first time ever that all four numbered songs (#34, #36, #40, #41) were played in some fashion over a two night stand. That's pretty cool.

4. Dancing Nancies --> Warehouse - Quite possible the best segue the band has, and the best 20 minutes you can have at a DMB show. When Boyd hits the last high note of Nancies, it just feels right for Dave to hit the harsh chords of Warehouse to bring it back down. Love it.


1. The Opening - starting a show with Everyday, Crash, Dreamgirl, and Standup is questionable. All enjoyable songs, but you really need a powerhouse song early to set the tone for the show.

2. When the World Ends - not my favorite song.

All in all, it was probably the best two night stand the band has played so far this year. I'm kinda inclined to pick Cincinnati as my favorite show of the three, but Riverbend was easily the worst venue. I'm thinking I'll be an Alpine regular in years to come, but will probably stay in a hotel next year, even if it is an hour away.

So there you go. My DMB Summer Tour (thus far). I've got three nights at the Gorge coming up in August, which I couldn't be more excited about, but I'm off to a good start. It may have been a long time coming this summer, but it's been worth the wait.

I'll leave you with some more awesome pictures of the shows at Alpine. Cheers!

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Bo said...

So, yeah, ummm...huh...I've been thinking about it, and, ummm...yeah, I don't want you to come hear me play....ummm...ever. I used to think that I had issues when it came to music, and I did know that you were somewhat "obsessed," but I had no idea that it was this bad. You did get me to listen to "Stand Up" while I read your post though, and I've come to the conclusion that it's still sub-par. Please don't shoot me.
Much Love,

Brian said...

In defense of Stand Up:

1. Yes, it's a "different sound" for DMB. More "polished" or "produced" or something - but at its root, it's something the band hasn't had since Crash - upbeat, fun, summery feeling music.

2. DMB always shines much more in the live setting than in the studio setting. Louisiana Bayou and Hello Again are unbelievably good live.

3. There's some funky "different sounding" songs on their that are very enjoyable - You Might Die Trying, Smooth Rider, Hunger for the Great Light - high energy, angry songs. A good change of pace for the band.

I like music :)

Brian said...

I should clarify that not only was I making "goodbye forever" calls, but also "what's the weather look like?" calls, thus the calls are "Chicago-heavy" and "". They were as follows:

- The Parents
- Kate Brown
- Melissa Ferber
- Mike Currin
- Amanda Dickman

Note that the reception was not the best, so some were not completed, and some were called multiple times.

amanda said...

I fell into the category, and glad I could offer some, if any, help on the situation.

great time at alpine!! Wish that we could have attended saturday night too, but oh well. I thoroughly enjoyed sunday even though it was your least fav of the 3. I'm lame and was totally pumped about crush (i'm a chick, ok?), when the world ends, two step, #40 (sorry for almost knocking you over with excitement over this one. too bad we don't get the original lyrics, in which case I would die on the spot), old dirt hill and nancies/warehouse.

maybe I just liked it cause I'm not even close to as obsessed as you are :) It was nice to attend a show with such an avid fan...good times, my friend.

p.s. (longest comment ever)

Brian said...

I love...

my book of poetry...

a good scotch...

and of course, my dear friend Baxter.

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