Dave Matthews Band at Air Canada Centre – 12/07/12

Photographs by Sean Chin

On the Friday night, I experienced my 3rd Dave Matthews band concert. This time at Air Canada Centre, to support their eighth studio album, Away from the World, released on September 11, 2012.

Right at 7:00PM, Dave Matthews himself stepped on the stage to introduce the opening act, “the legendary Jimmy Cliff”. After 45 minutes of dance, reggae, funk and disco provided by Jimmy Cliff and his band, it was time to setup the stage for the main show. As the stage was being prepared, hundreds of crowds were filling up the arena, building up the energy to welcome perhaps the best live band in today’s music scene.

The lights went out at 8:20PM, creating that special moment and atmosphere with cheering and screaming crowd before the start of the show. Dave Matthews Band entered the dimmed stage and started their set with the rocking “Seven” from “Big whiskey and the GrooGrux King”. Right off the bat, the air-tight performance of a genius theme in 7/8 was a promising start to a groovy night of great music, great performance and musicianship. Drummer Carter Beauford’s short yet tasteful introduction, shifted the direction and the mood to “Gravedigger”, one of many memorable pieces for any DMB fan. After “Rooftop” from the newly released “Away from the World”, DMB performed a new interpretation of “Don’t Drink the Water”, accompanied with a pre-recorded video, projected on three triangular-shaped screens on the stage, which later turned into a combination of live and pre-recorded videos for the rest of the show. “The Dreaming Tree” was next, with it’s haunting vocal melody, incredible drum pattern and the amazing Saxophone player Jeff Coffin’s flute improvisation.

In the 2 hour plus set before the encores, DMB took all the fans on a journey of songs, from “Proudest Monkey”, “Satellite”, “If Only”, “You & Me” and “Jimmy Thing”, to crazy jams and improvisations, all the way to singing along with the classic “Everyday” and the national anthem of this beautiful country of ours, “O Canada”, performed by the bass player Stefan Lessard.

The set was finished by DMB version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, the band was out of the stage, but the crowd were standing, cheering and asking for more. And so we were given more. 40 minutes more of DMB pure musical magic, started with “Christmas Song”, followed by “Drunken Soldier” and finished by “Two Step” with perhaps one of the craziest jams that I’ve ever experienced in any live performances before.

Dave Matthews Band love Canada, and Canada loves Dave Matthews Band. With some of the greatest musicians in today’s music industry, from the sax player Jeff Coffin, trumpeter Rashawn Ross, violinist Boyd Tinsley, and guitarist Tim Reynolds, to the founding members of the band, Dave Matthews, Carter Beauford and Stefan Lessard, each of DMB performances is a universe by itself, experiencing the possibilities of music, words, ideas and emotions that can be shared and explored by the band, and the audience. And so we will wait, until the next time to, once again, get our minds blown-away and our hips shaken by the special groovy kind of magic that is DMB. Thank you DMB, and thank you Dave. Glad that you enjoyed our pre-winter chill, and by the way, you looked lovely as well, indeed.

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