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Could I have been...anyone other than me?
Monday, May. 28, 2007, 00:23

The Dave Matthews Band rocked The Point in Dubiln last Wednesday night, packing out the 8,000 capacity venue on the same night as the biggest European football match of the season.  There were a hundred or so people who preferred to hover in the lobby and listen to the concert while watching the game on TV but the rest of us decided to take the seats we'd paid for. 

The band have never had a chart hit in Ireland and their records receive no promotion at all.  Most Irish people who know the band know them through their travels in North America or have gotten CDs from friends. 

(links inlcuded below come from various shows and clips on youtube)

They hit the stage with a roar of applause and played intro song "Still Water" that segues in to 1998's "Don't Drink the Water" (a small bit of research from Dave could have led to him dedicating it to the people of Galway).  At that early stage the energy was obvious throughout the arena (in stark contast to claims in this pitiful review from the Irish Independent). 

Third song out of the traps was "Hunger for the Great Light" from 2005's decidedly poor album "Stand Up".  However, just like the songs from "Stand Up" that I heard him perform acoustically in Belfast a few months back, this sounded much better than on CD.  The lights show was great too, blinding us temporarily with a wall of full beams from time to time. 

"When the World Ends" and "Grey Street" are good tracks but not the most exciting live songs and "Louisiana Bayou" is a forgettable number from their last album.  The gig slowed a bit here as Dave also wheeled out the unrecorded "Sister", an uninspiring track that he performed in Belfast too.  He finished off this shaky period of the set with "Dreamgirl", a reasonable tune from "Stand Up" that might have seemed more palatable in better company.

The show ramped up at this point with some classics from the mid 90s: "What Would You Say" and "Dancing Nancies" (could I have been anyone other than me?) picked people up after the more restrained reactions to what had come immediately before.

A new track, "The Idea Of You" was next up, a song I didn't know and, despite the chorus sounding a bit un-DMB initially, I warmed to by the end. 

"So Much to Say" from 1996's "Crash" was followed by "Too Much" from the same album and, my personal favourite song, "Jimi Thing" that stretched in to a near 15 minute - "Jammy thing", you could say.

The nadir of their recording career so far is probably "Stay (Wasting Time)" although I may be on the minority on that one.  It closed off the show with the crowd hungry for more.  It had only been two hours after all.

The band returned with Dave performing his second solo song of the night, "Gravedigger".  For me it was the highlight of the night; a phenomenal track that Dave finally recorded for his solo album, "Some Devil" in 2003.  The full band returned for an inspired performance of the brilliant "Everyday" and finished off with fan favourite "Ants Marching". 

Some fans might look at the set list that followed in "Lisbon" with a pang of jealousy - a handful of extra songs including "Two Step" and "Crash Into Me" (the latter scandalously left off the Irish set list).  There's no doubt the Irish set list was a disappointment.

But I'm not going to complain too much because the band were on form, having a good time and very grateful for the turnout (although rumour has it that a huge percentage of fans were American). 

Full set
(Still Water)
Don't Drink the Water
Hunger For The Great Light
When The World Ends
Grey Street
Louisiana Bayou
What Would You Say
Dancing Nancies
The Idea Of You
So Much To Say
Anyone Seen The Bridge
Too Much
Jimi Thing
Stay (Wasting Time)

Ants Marching

Rating: ***1/2



Idea of You


Ants Marching

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