Dave Matthews Band
Hordern Pavilion
Sydney,Australia
May 5th 2007
by H.notes Staff Writer mmm_marica@hanson.net


I can’t help the feeling that Dave Matthews spoiled us, the Australians. In 2005 we had the privilege of seeing him and his band in small venues – to the great envy and chagrin of his American fans that normally see them in arenas.

So after the historical Art Deco, gorgeous, 2000 seat State Theatre, Hordern Pavilion, a cavernous, 4000 capacity, nondescript venue looked like a hangar. Who would have thought that it would offer me one of the best concerts I have ever attended?

My daughter, a mega-fan and I made sure we were in and on pretty good seats on the bleachers, before the opening act. And we were not disappointed. As he normally does on every concert - the man himself came out to introduce the opening act. This time it was the local talent Xavier Rudd. It was a bit surreal – the half empty venue and Dave Matthews on alone on stage albeit for a minute. The people in the crowd who do not know about this habit of Dave stared in disbelief.

Dave introduces the opening act in Hordern

Xavier Rudd wasn’t bad at all and he did a nice job of that thankless job, opening for one of the biggest rock bands today. He is a one band man in the true sense of the word, playing guitar, percussion, didgeridoos, harmonica and a few more. Style? Very rhythmic, environmental, world music type of thing.

Dave and the guys came out at 8:15 pm and stayed on stage for 3 full hours. Can you believe that? That’s what I love about this band. You can see... No. You can FEEL that they love playing with each other, love performing, love jamming. Sometimes I think that they forget that they are on stage, they are having so much fun. Ten minute jams in every song are living proof of that.

The concert started inconspicuously with a jam that turned into Crush, one of their biggest hits. Do not mix it with Crash that was on the charts way back in 1997 together with MMMBop! It was followed by one of their least performed songs, Seek Up. Good to have a Dave expert next to me. It was a mixture of their greatest hits, if you can say so: Too Much To Say, Too Much, Dancing Nancies, Ants Marching and less known stuff to a casual fan like me – such as Jimi Thing, Lousiana Bayou, The Maker. Dave also gave a haunting solo performance of Sister – a song dedicated to his sister Anne who tragically died awhile ago and it was definitely a solemn moment when the entire crowd went totally quiet.

And then Xavier Rudd (Remember him? He was the opening act) – joined Dave and the guys on stage and the expert next to me shouted in my ear, “Watch for Don’t Drink The Water!!!” And surely enough, a performance of DMB’s lament over the slaughter of the Native Americans and destruction of their pristine environment followed; with Rudd on didgeridoo. They also played Down By the Riverwith Rudd on steel guitar. It was really great how they incorporated the opening act.

For the encore, Dave played his second solo Gravedigger and the concert finished with Stay which is my daughter’s favourite song of all time and eternity and that was the first time she saw it in concert so she declared she could, “die happy now”.

What to say about Dave and his band mates as musicians and that hasn’t been said before? Virtuoso is the only term I can think of. From the white gloved Carter Beauford on drums and show-stealing Boyd Tinsley (if you haven’t seen him on stage, you don’t know what stage presence is) on violin and the kid in the band Stefan Lassard on bass to the pretty static but fantastic LeRoi Moore on sax. We also need to mention the adopted member Butch Taylor on keys and the big fella Rashawn Ross. You could barely see the trumpet in his hands, but boy, did he put some mighty fine licks - just adding to the whole band feel.

Of course – the man himself. Dave Matthews. He had a cold – you could tell that when he spoke, and in the beginning he said that he would shout out the concert if needed. Maybe because it was the last concert of the tour, Dave didn’t spare himself. But I doubt it. His distinctive husky voice did absolutely everything he wanted. It didn’t falter anywhere and it didn’t miss a note. And it still doesn’t cease to amaze me how a single plain acoustic guitar can be so dominant part of the sound that (at one point) 8 people on stage were making. Amazing stuff.

Setlist

Intro
Crush
Seek Up
Tripping Billies
Dream Girl
Jimi Thing
Louisiana Bayou
Sister
So Much To Say
Anyone Seen The Bridge
Too Much
Dancing Nancies
The Maker
Still Water (Tease)
Don’t Drink the Water
Down By The River
Ants Marching

Encore:

Gravedigger
American Baby Intro
Stay