Dave Matthews Still Going Strong 25 Years In

in SF Concert Reviews by

It’s always an event when The Dave Matthews Band comes to town, which is often the case with these “Jam Bands” type of groups. Fans don’t just come to listen to the music. They arrive super early to tailgate, reconnect with old friends, pass some grass around (or probably a vape pen these days?) and reminisce about the good old times. It’s more of a ritual or ceremony type of experience than simply attending a musical performance.

Last night in Mountain View was no different. Matthews who’s been on the road for over 25 years now still looks like he’s enjoying himself up there on the big stage, and at no point during the night did the performance seem routine or mechanical. In fact, he looked to be especially comfortable on the stage of the Shoreline Amphitheater. “I like it here,” he said at one point early on in the show. “Thanks for coming out.”

A man of few words, he didn’t say much more throughout the performance and instead let his music do the talking. And boy did it. The Dave Matthews Band that consists of drummer Carter Beauford, guitarist Tim Reynolds, bassist Stefan Lessard, trumpeter Rashawn Ross, saxophonist Jeff Coffin, and new addition on the keys, Buddy Strong, led us all on a 2 1/2-hour voyage that had me feeling a gamut of emotions that left me speechless the entire night.

And that’s the power of Dave Matthews. No two songs are alike. His music is entirely his own and comes from deep within his soul. He sings from the gut and it connects with the entirety of your being. It’s the work of an artist who bares it all with his instrument from beginning to end.

Highlights for me included a vicious version of “Don’t Drink the Water,” which brought out a darker and moodier side of Matthews. This version was chilling and ironically had me reaching for a sip of water just to collect myself. That and two killer covers stole the show for me. One of the Summer of Love classic Zombies song “Time of the Season,” and the 60s Soul song with sexual innuendos, “SledgeHammer” by Peter Gabriel.

Photos by Louis Raphael

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Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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