Dave Matthews Band at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, 8/23/13

Categories: Concert Reviews

Eric Gruneisen

The skies were dark over Commerce City on Friday night as fans tailgated in the parking lots outside of Dick's, cracking beers and playing their favorite Dave Matthews Band tunes. But the threatening clouds didn't dampen the excitement for this show. As the band took the stage, the bowl filled quickly with cheering fans. "That's nice," said Dave Matthews in his easy going drawl, as the act started its set with the rousing, backwater-inspired "Louisiana Bayou," a track off of 2005's Stand Up. With screeching violin from Boyd Tinsley and gravelly vocals from Dave Matthews, the song is decidedly more raw live.

See also: Before I outgrew him, Dave Matthews was a big part of my life -- looking back, I guess he still is

Eric Gruneisen

The crowd went wild at the first lilting notes of "One Sweet World," the first track off Live at Luther College , an album recorded with fan-beloved guitar master Tim Reynolds. "Big Eyed Fish" a dark, melancholic ballad from Busted Stuff was received just as warmly, with the exuberant crowd singing along. Matthews always manages to be captivating to his audience, even in a venue this size, which, spatially, makes it hard to feel intimate.

"Granny," a track that was dropped as one of the intended singles from the cult-favorite album Under The Table And Dreaming, but could also be found on several of live albums, made an appearance in the set. Another treasured choice, the tune energized the crowd with pleading vocals from Matthews and sparse percussive bursts from Carter Beauford.

Eric Gruneisen

"Belly Belly Nice," the first song of the night from the band's last release Away From The World, was a funk-ridden, saxophone-heavy track that recalls earlier Dave Matthews Band sound, especially with the return to producer Steve Lillywhite, who produced 1998's Before These Crowded Streets. Based on the crowd's reaction, the song was a welcome inclusion in the set.

The band continued with a high-energy rendition of "Why I Am" (with cheers when Dave Matthews referenced the "Groo-Grux King," former saxophonist LeRoi Moore) and a sultry, hard-hitting take on "Rooftop," followed by a beautiful rendering of Crash's "Proudest Monkey," which received an explosive reaction from the crowd. Up next was "Satellite," and as expected, the tune evoked the most raucous response of the evening.

Eric Gruneisen

Elsewhere, the outfit broke up the set with a surprising, masterful cover of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult, and that was followed a pair of heartrending tunes from 2002's Busted Stuff, "Digging A Ditch" and "Grey Street." As hard as it was to understand what Dave Matthews was saying to the crowd between songs, when Tim Reynolds was introduced, the crowd gave him a long, hearty applause.

"My momma loves this song," Matthews noted before playing "Mercy," which, with its pleading, we'll-work-it-out sentiment, has properties of John Hiatt's "Have A Little Faith In Me." The steady beat and underlying twang of banjo (originally played by Bela Fleck) on the shadowy "Don't Drink The Water" was followed by the upbeat, catchy love jam "You and Me."

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