Proudest Monkey Satellite You Might Die Trying Funny The Way It Is Seven Squirm Crash (Into Me) So Damn Lucky Lying In the Hands of God Why I Am Dancing Nancies Shake Me Like a Monkey Jimi Thing Burning Down The House You and Me Donít Drink the Water -------------------------- Baby Blue Everyday Ants Marching
My views as a music listener are naive in many ways and I would like to explain them to you in a free 'thought association'. I am a fan of classical and jazz music and I'm used to listening to these genres live in their typical environment, which are mainly clubs, theaters, and sometimes city squares as far as jazz is concerned, and for classical music, well, you know, is has its shrines in Milan, like the Conservatorio (Academy of Music) and the Teatro alla Scala with its concert season. These are locations that are very different from the Palasharp where for the first time I attended a concert, and what a concert! The DMB live, a baptism of fire! Music for me is a feeling that materializes in the usual naive and spontaneous question, which I ask myself everytime: 'How do they do it? How is this possible?'. For me, to be amazed like a child when confronted with something that seems magical is the 'litmus test' on the quality of any musical production. The spell was immediate, with ensuing dissolution of the temporal dimension, and the concert came to an end, song after song, in too short a time. What else to say? All members of the band are exceptional musicians, the saxophone player has superlative technique and improvisation, there were remarkable solos by the exquisitely rock guitar player, by the violinist (who is certainly far from the aesthetic standards of the first violinist of a symphony orchestra), and by the outstanding trumpet player, who offered a striking solo from the Miles Davis of the evenings at the Cellar Door; and then the sheer joy of playing printed on the drummer's face, a joy that is as amazing as his virtuosity. I have rarely seen a musician seem so at ease during a live performance, and in such a blissfully serene and joyful relationship with his music. In my opinion this is the same experience Mozart might have had in writing and playing his most sublime and light music...
Dave is certainly the alchemist, the wise wizard who has the right ingredients for a potion that creates a different spell with each song... a great band! Thanks Corsina!!
Lying In the Hands of God Shake Me Like a Monkey Funny The Way It Is Seven Warehouse Alligator Pie You Might Die Trying The Maker Donít Drink the Water Why I Am Crash (Into Me) Crush Spaceman Grey Street Two Step -------------------------- Baby Blue Jimi Thing
The Dave Matthews Band had never been in Rome. The concert in Lucca and the 2010 tour with three dates in Italy made us all drunk with happiness and I still can't think straight about it. Occasionally, however, I shake myself and remember that only ten months ago, I fantasized about a concert in Europe as being one of those highly unlikely things that I would never miss if I had the chance. And now...I left my house and after twenty minutes I was at the concert, where the magnificent seven would give me great emotions.
The day is incredibly warm, just like an early spring. I get inside the Palalottomatica. Im am close to the stage on which Carter Beauford's prodigious drum set dominates the scene: it seems a spaceship, but then, he's from another planet, you know. People get in, more and more of them. Eventually the arena is full, and I tell myself 'My God, look how many people now know! Look how many understand the greatness of this band!'. While waiting for the beginning of the concert I notice that there are some people who don't know the band well and have never seen them live. Well, I think, at the end of the concert things will be different for them!. There is a special atmosphere in the parterre. It's that state of excitement we all have when we are moments away from an event we are looking forward to, and we know we're going to like it to death, and we'll be full of emotions and passion.
The opener band Alberta Cross goes on stage around 7 p.m. The audience seems to accept them, they're actually not bad. They play for about thirty minutes then go with the applause of the audience. In an incredibly short time the crew clears the opener's equipment and sets the stage for the band. Now everything is ready. Some more minutes go by and at some point the lights go out. It's the signal. An ovation welcomes the darkness: this is the best moment of of the wait, and it is one of trepidation. No one takes the stage yet, as if to prolong the magic. Everyone knows which way the band comes in and we all look to the same side. Then a roar welcomes the full band. There they are. They strap on their instruments, without any masks or any frills that attract attention and admiration of the public. They will do that with their music and their art.
How are they going to start? Most expert fans are wondering what the first song will be. Many, including myself, were in Milan the day before and the band surprised us a little with Proudest Monkey as opener. Rome starts with Lying In The Hands of God, from their latest album Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King. This song is really nice live and it makes us understand we have a great evening ahead: here's Jeff Coffin in a solo and Dave Matthews imitating the sax with his voice! They immediately begin with the new songs here in Rome, but the fans who know all their songs from the previous years are very many and they are waiting anxiously. Fans know that even though they have heard a song hundreds of times, when the DMB plays it live anything can happen. What was a violin solo could become a trumpet solo, and the electric guitar could come in with never heard harmonies in unexplored moments. Shake me Like a Monkey and Funny The Way It Is warm up the band that gets better and better. Then Seven, the song with the 'impossible' tempo that only the phenomenal Carter Beauford can play. Dave Matthews loves this song and it shows. Dave puts all his energy in this one and in all the songs; as if it were the last time he sings in his life.
But here it is. Warehouse had never been played in Italy. The audience explodes as soon as the first two notes are played and people know what to do: the chorus is powerful and steady at the Palalottomatica, and the shouting is almost liberating. There are people here who know the band well, and have know them for a long time. Alligator Pie, from the new album. The feeling the band transmits is a perfect amalgam of instruments that meet and chase each other without ever getting in each other's way.
You Might Die Trying is one of the band's historical songs and they like to play it live so it explodes with all its power. The audience sings, of course. They know the songs by heart. This evening's cover is The Maker by Daniel Lanois, a beautiful song that some guys around me did not know and they were stunned. A big roar welcomes Don't Drink the Water, which all the fans in the first rows sing, jumping and dancing. This is maybe the hottest and most excited moment of the concert, along with the amazing Two Step finale. Why I Am, dedicated to LeRoi Moore, and Crash Into Me, probably their best known song in Italy, come before what is the longest song of the evening, Crush. This too is a historical song and was much awaited. Great solos and raptured audience. Violin, sax, electric guitar and bass follow each other in a unique jam that only the DMB can do. The really extraordinary thing this band can do is play and sing songs that last 16-18 minutes, with incredible solos and jam sessions, but never falling into mere virtuosity.
After Spaceman comes the superb Gray Street. The feeling was that the audience was expecting the new songs and was in great trepidation to see what would be the choice of historical songs. There were those who waited one and the other. I think nobody was disappointed.
The grand finale before the encore: Two Step. His majesty Carter Beauford. Even after having seen and heard him dozens of times, he always surprises us because no one knows how he can play like that.
They go, but everyone knows they will come back. After a while, Dave is back on stage alone, with a small red guitar, to sing a moving Baby Blue. Jimi Thing, another historical masterpiece closes an amazing concert, full of warmth, energy and fun.
There it is. It's over. The notes are still under our skin and we all look at each other feeling happy and blessed. We had filled ourselves up with emotions, but they were not enough. I am sure that before starting our cars' engines we all turned on the stereo first, to start the music again.
One Sweet World Satellite Spaceman Seek Up Funny The Way It Is Seven Donít Drink the Water So Damn Lucky Why I Am Lying In the Hands of God When The World Ends So Much To Say Anyone Seen The Bridge Too Much (Fake) Ants Marching You and Me All Along The Watchtower -------------------------- Baby Blue Sledgehammer Shake Me Like a Monkey -------------------------- Two Step
The last Italian date of the Dave Matthews Band's European tour is the indoor arena in Padua. It's the smallest of the three venues (although it would be kinder to say the most intimate), and perhaps one that seemed less suited to contain the explosion of sound the band from Charlottesville is used to giving during each concert.
But we know that these are the only venues suitable - or rather, adapted - to host rock concerts that attract a good number of people. During the concert, the same Dave Matthews joked about this, but ultimately the work of all the musicians and technicians made sure that everything was good at the event. The concert was an uninterrupted succession of emotions and surprises, beginning with One Sweet World, the song that opens what I think is the most beautiful live album in history, Live at Luther College. For this reason it is and it will always be my favorite opening to any concert, which from then on can't be anything but perfect. My thesis was soon confirmed by a stunning Seek Up, with Rashawn and Jeff talking, arguing, screaming and then finally making peace and finding the perfect harmony in a complete improvisation on Dave's stubborn riff. Then the joy of singing loudly So Much to Say, so often heard but never fully experienced and enjoyed as I did in Padua.
The energy of the new songs, each time more beautiful and fluid live, has been the glue between the many facets of the Dave Matthews Band. From Spaceman (embellished with the pitch high notes of Rashawn's final solo, notes that reached the limit of human hearing range and perhaps went beyond - who will ever know?) to the bouncy Funny the Way It Is all the way to Seven, which Dave likes and he never fails to remind us, via Lying In The Hands of God, absolute masterpiece, nothing is misplaced or incomplete. The musical technique, improvisation and rhythmic precision are only prerequisites for this to become a perfect alchemy of sounds and genres, but what comes across and directly reaches each viewer is mostly the fun and the desire to play that the whole band brings on stage. One cannot avoid getting 'infected' and joining a concert that soon turns into a veritable party.
With All Along the Watchtower, we were finally able to set free that shout that emphasizes the line 'too much confusion' of the initial verse - a shout strangled in our throats for many years - with the knowledge (or is it threat?) that the other Con-Fusion, the hyphenated one, will never be 'too much', or enough, to thank the band for everything they give us at times like this.
Beautiful ending with Sledgehammer and Shake Me Like A Monkey, father and daughter, a comparison between the old generation that had the strength to look to the future and the new one, able to capture the beautiful things of the past to give them a new, modern splendor.
And then, the final gift: like last year in Lucca, the Dave Matthews Band has decided to reward the persistent dedication of the Italian fans with a double encore, and to add Two Step to a setlist that was already perfect and exciting.
One only had to be in Padua in the early afternoon to realize that this gift to the fans was well deserved: the line formed by Con-Fusion members was the more substantial, and in spite of knowing they were granted early admittance, very few fans took it easy: even after four days around Italy, they were there to be the 'earliest among the first', to demonstrate from the front row all their love, enthusiasm and passion for this wonderful band.
Dave came out to greet them, exchanging a few jokes and taking pictures with them. A true gentleman. Because gentlemanliness is not an acquired quality, you have to have it from birth. And Dave, quite simply, has it. [translator's note: the last sentence is a free adaptation of a quote from a movie by the famous Italian actor/comedian TotÚ (1898 Ė 1967), a very wise and funny man. The quote goes: 'Perché signori si nasce e io, modestamente, lo nacqui', which means 'Because you have to be born a gentleman, and modestly, I was'].