MTH-V: DMB 1992

I wanted to post this video last week for timing, but decided to wait and see the whole thing first (it’s LONG). Last Monday (02.13.12), Antsmarching.org tweeted this gem to commemorate its twentieth anniversary. It is the earliest circulating (mostly) full-length video of Dave Matthews Band in concert. Watching it over the last week has been a real treat. If you don’t know by now (or if you recently started following this blog), I’m a DMB fanatic. Between owning their entire output and more, seeing them 54 times and counting in concert throughout the country, and being able to fill a small closet with all of the apparel and merchandise I’ve purchased and collected throughout the years, I really should own stock in the band. 🙂

This week’s video is perhaps the most niche of the MTH-V series – serious DMB fans will get the biggest kick out of this. I try to take a generalist approach to most of these, but this is too good to pass by. Although some previous posts – e.g., ICTUS and Trio Mediæval – featured more specialized styles, they were at least clean and relatively produced recordings. This may be DMB, but it’s a 102-minute scratchy VHS transfer of a then-local band. This show took place at Virginia’s Bridgewater College. There’s a neat story about the video and performance, as well as a scan of the show’s poster, by a member of the other band that performed that night here.

As I mentioned, this was brought to my attention by Antsmarching.org, the biggest fan-site for DMB. While I have many strong philosophical disagreements with the various orthodoxies espoused by the site’s moderators, the site itself is an undeniably wonderful source of information. Want to know how many times “Best of What’s Around” has been performed, in what cities, at which point in each concert, and how rare a live performance is in comparison with others in the catalogue? Just look it up. (I love all of the hard data; I just wish they’d give the op-eds a rest. But that’s another post for another day. I’m still happy to have been a member for well over a decade now.)

Some notes on this video since it’s such a lengthy one – I’ll point out some highlights for those without the time/interest to watch the whole thing or freely browse. While some of these might be old hat to other die-hard Ants, it’s still worth mentioning here, as 1) it’s nice to have video evidence of the things heard on many tapes, and 2) this is likely new for many regular readers:
• Love this.
• It is GREAT to have such a nice video documentation of a lot of early LeRoi Moore. While the more hardline jazz influence is evident in a couple places, you already start to hear the direction he eventually went (that of a rock/pop musician as opposed to a “jazz saxophonist”). His solos on “Best of What’s Around,” “Recently,” and “Jimi Thing” are especially choice.
• Speaking of which, that “Jimi” outro is hip…maybe they should bring it back… 🙂
• The video lasts for almost 80 minutes, with the final 22 being audio-only.
• The band at this time included original keyboardist Peter Greisar. The duo performance of “So Much to Say” by Dave and Peter is a nice early glimpse into the song.
•  For those who enjoyed the mid-2000s “Louie Louie” interpolations at the end of “Warehouse,” here’s an early incarnation.
•  Hearing the juxtaposition of a much-slower “Best of What’s Around” and brisk “Satellite” is an odd switch. Although I think the latter is more due to nerves. (If only they would have played “After Her” instead…)
• Even though the band is still quite young (not two years old), it’s evident they’re already a unit. Keep in mind that their first performance was in March or April of 1991, less than one year prior. Armed with a catalogue of mostly original material (with a few tasteful covers thrown in for good measure), they musically give each other space and keep the audience on energized and engaged throughout. No wonder they’ve been the highest-grossing live act in recent pop history. Even though the tempo gets weird in a number of songs, Carter does his best to keep the band’s nerves in check back there.
• Again, great video evidence to illustrate the anecdotes of fans occasionally thinking Boyd Tinsley was Dave Matthews, as Boyd was initially more comfortable with between-song banter and crowd work than Dave.
• Speaking of which, Boyd gets two vocal numbers: “Angel From Montgomery” and “True Reflections.” They’re both quite rare in live performance nowadays, but luckily I’ve seen them both. “Angel From Montgomery” is especially elusive.
• Interesting introductory banter about the band and their material by Dave, then one of my favorites: “The Song That Jane Likes.” Enough said. 🙂

NOTE: Embedding functionality for this particular video has understandably been disabled, but you may view the whole thing here.

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