Did you know that Dave Matthews has a wine company? He does. We even wrote about it. It's called The Dreaming Tree, and thank God for it, because without it, the concert conditions at Molson Amphitheatre would have been difficult to endure.
The TTC's asinine lack of transportation to the outdoor venue makes an otherwise great space worse than the Sound Academy if it's raining. And Tuesday it wasn't just raining, it was about as torrential as our city gets. The closest streetcar drop-off is about a klick away from the seating area, meaning that despite rain slickers and umbrellas, one is thoroughly soaked before a concert even begins.
Bless Dave Matthews, then, for being prompt after openers Moe. warmed up (figuratively) the crowd, and for not ignoring the conditions. "Thanks for coming out, even if there was a slight chance of precipitation," he said, and later, "we're going to try and brighten this bitch up!"
Hearing Matthews' stage banter is like watching Dave Matthews do a bad impression of Jimmy Fallon doing Dave Matthews. It's jerky and froglike and strange, but for fans - famous for seeing him live whenever possible - this wasn't out of the ordinary. They were there for the famously improvised renditions of DMB classics from nearly two decades ago.
And Dave gave it all he had. From E 31, I could see the veins popping in his head, as the seven-piece performed You Might Die Trying (great guitar solo by lead guitarist Tim Reynolds), Squirm, Belly Belly Nice, The Stone and Dreamgirl.
Having just defended the Rolling Stones for playing their greatest hits catalogue, I won't criticize Dave Matthews Band for its lack of new concert material, but I am curious why they are set on wearing the same oversize plaid shirts and baggy jeans from the mid 90s. The screen projections, too, had a weird, 90s-like lowbrow animation vibe, but maybe that was for the benefit of all the stoners in attendance.
You gotta hand it to the band for giving people their money's worth in such adverse weather conditions, but their set was a little bloated. Two hours in, the faithful were stoked for the band's signature live song Ants Marching, and that would have been a good ending. It kept going and going and going, however, Matthews, the inexhaustible acoustic-guitar strumming, piano-playing Energizer bunny.
If Matthews does ever tire of the tour grind, he's got a future in winemaking. The red blend, Crush, wasn't just it'll-do concert-wine good, it was downright raspberry-tinged enjoyable. Cheers, Dave!