As mentioned in my previous post, this last week marked the fifth anniversary of LeRoi Moore’s death. To mark both this and the return of the video series after the summer hiatus, it’s only fitting that I highlight a few choice moments here. Believe me, it’s difficult to select only a handful out of the many favorites.
“Sugar Will” is one of the handful of then new songs debuted on the 2004 summer tour. Only one of which, “Hello Again,” was ultimately given a studio release. However, “Sugar Will” and “Crazy Easy” were my favorites of that group (which also includes “Joy Ride,” featured here). Here’s Roi getting down on “Sugar Will” at The Gorge on 09.03.04, one I regularly return to:
“Stand Up” isn’t a song that gets a lot of love. This particular solo isn’t anything profound but it always gets me moving without fail. The video is taken from the bonus DVD in the Weekend on the Rocks box set (from the 2005 run at Red Rocks Ampitheater, with this song coming from 09.11.05). And Roi’s lick at 3:41 is a treat:
Here’s a charming cover of the country ballad “Long Black Veil” by Dave Matthews and LeRoi. For this video, someone synced their home footage with the audio from the official Gorge box set release. (Good move.)
LeRoi Moore, Dave Matthews Band saxophonist and founding member, died five years ago today. He succumbed to complications from an ATV accident a few weeks shy of his 47th birthday. I’m sure there’ll be various remembrances throughout the DMB-centric corner of the internet, but I’d like to chip in my $0.02. It seems cliché but, although I never met the man, he and his music are with me each day.
Regular reader of this blog know my deep love of DMB’s music. (See below.) Not only does he play a large role in a favorite band, but I count him among one of my favorite saxophonists. I always include his name if someone asks who my biggest saxophonic influences are. Roi can’t be written off just as “the sax player” a la Dick Parry. It’d be presumptuous to say that Roi single-handedly changed how a saxophone was perceived in rock and pop music, but it’s notable that he served as the band’s co-lead soloist (along with violinist Boyd Tinsley). Sure, he was no Trane or Liebman, but he didn’t set out to be, at least not with DMB. (And, conversely, I don’t see either of them playing in Roi’s style the way he did.) For me, his playing is a near perfect blend of jazz-influenced, soulful rock and pop. It’s not to be compared to strictly jazz saxophonists because it’s not jazz. It’s a different aesthetic. And although he was a working jazz musician before DMB, he grew into something much more. In fact, looking back, while I’ve often gone through spells in which I aspired to be the next young jazz lion, the truth is that my aim has often been more in Roi’s direction – to be a high quality, stylistically flexible musician.
Though I knew of the band beforehand, it all really began with my purchasing Crash soon after its April 1996 release. As a young adolescent playing the saxophone, I was floored to hear a pop/rock band featuring the saxophone so prominently, and not just in the radio singles. At the time I was only tangentially interested in jazz, and most saxophonic pop references were of the “guest feature” variety, generally in a honky R&B style: Pink Floyd’s various sax cameos, 50s and 60s rock, etc. (I touch upon this continuing trend here.) Without this becoming a Crash-centric post, that album proved to be a real turning point for me. Roi’s solo on the studio recording of #41 is perhaps the first instrumental solo I committed to memory. And not because I made a conscious effort to do so; rather, I just listened to it all of the time. (Imagine my delight when I attended my first DMB concert and the band opened with “#41.”)
I remember the shock of learning the news the night he died. I was with my girlfriend (now wife) and she put up with my impromptu memorial service which included moping on my couch, teary-eyed, watching the Listener Supported DVD with a picture of Roi on my laptop screen. We fans knew that he’d been in critical condition, as he’d not been on the tour since late June (with Jeff Coffin – another of my favorite saxophonists, completely separate from his DMB association – filling in, later to be his permanent replacement). I’d spent every summer – and occasional winters – seeing him and his bandmates in concert since 2000, and I’ve missed him at every show since that night. Sure, I still have my hundreds of hours of recordings, but it’s just not the same. The band has taken a slightly different direction with Coffin now playing full time. It’s not worse or better, just different. I absolutely love what they’re doing now, but I miss Roi.
I made my annual pilgrimage to the band’s three-night stint at The Gorge Ampitheatre ten days after his death and it was an emotional weekend. After canceling a couple of concerts for the funeral, the summer tour resumed as normal that weekend in Washington. Watching the band, particularly Carter, play through “Bartender,” the weekend’s opener, in tears was moving. (There were many tears throughout that weekend.) On that first night, the crowd launched into an impromptu tribute of cheers and glow sticks for Roi between songs partway through the set. The crew flashed a picture of Roi on the screens and Dave told the band and crew to hold off until the crowd had finished. It was a memorable six minutes before the band launched into a special “#41.” I’ll never forget it. For those that may have been there, and other fans who weren’t, here it is in two parts:
And the tribute video shown before the encore each night brought a tear every time:
I still listen to Roi all the time, but he’s been getting some extra attention over the last week as the five year mark approached. It really does seem like just the other day I was enjoying his playing on the first part of the 2008 tour in Chicago, Detroit, and Buffalo. But at least I can still enjoy the wealth of great music he left behind. And to cap off this humble tribute, here is perhaps my single favorite solo of his from an official release: the flute and saxophone solos from “#41” on 1999’s Listener Supported:
Breaking the streak of Wagner posts (here, here, here, and here; more here) is a little DMB. There’s some symbolism here as well, considering that DMB is what snapped me out of my Wagner haze that settled in around the time of the composer’s birthday. If anything will distract me, it’s a run of three great Dave Matthews Band concerts.
I attended two cold but amazing shows at Saratoga, NY’s SPAC, followed by a great performance the following weekend in Cuyahoga Falls, OH outside of Cleveland. (For the former, DMB’s the only reason I’ll camp in 30-something degree weather…) This summer’s tour has been rife with jaw-dropping surprises. While the band is known for varied, relatively unpredictable setlists, this summer’s tour has taken things to another level. Many shelved oldies have been dusted off, and some forgotten tunes (notably “Captain” – largely neglected after 2002…and they’re playing it right now in Mansfield, MA as I type this!) are now in regular rotation. Below are some select rarities I saw over the course of those three shows.
“Joy Ride” — One of five songs debuted on the 2004 tour, it all but went away after 2006 (save for one 2011 performance).
“The Idea Of You” — Not as forgotten, as it’s gotten some live release love. One of the 2006 song debuts, it’s been been played few times since 2010. (But it used to be played quite a bit, giving it less mythic status than its sibling “Shotgun.”) Still a pleasant surprise.
“Oh” — A DMB debut. It’s a Dave Matthews original, but this was the first time it’d been played at a full-band show. It’s usually only played by Dave Matthews solo, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, or Dave Matthews & Friends. A nice little song off of Some Devil, Dave’s 2003 solo album.
“Captain” — This was my first “Captain” in over a decade, with the last being in December 2002.
And even though it’s a rare song, this particularly “Halloween” from SPAC night 2 is especially noteworthy as it was a double encore, which almost never happens (my first and only in 61 shows)…
Past DMB-centric MTH-V posts here, here, here (SPAC 2012 goodies), here (from 1992 — watch this if you haven’t), and here.
Regular readers know I’m a DMB fanatic and I’ve written about the group at length before and in three other MTH-V entries (here, here, and here). Simply enjoy the debut single’s video (“Mercy,” which features much many fan contributions) and get your copy ASAP. (My “super deluxe edition” should arrive any minute…)
Though I’ve tried to temper the references and/or devoted entries since the blog’s inception, regular readers may be familiar with my deep love of DMB. Besides keeping company with the rest of my Top 5, I’ve seen them far more than any other act (56 times and counting) and only Miles Davis comes close to rivaling them in my record collection. (Thank you, Complete Columbia Recordings box sets…)
This past Friday and Saturday I attended their two-night stand in Saratoga, NY. SPAC is one of the four coveted venues for a DMB fan, the shows at which always result in top-notch setlists, rare performances, and a hardcore fan base. (The other three venues are The Gorge in George, WA, Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Morrison, CO, and Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Elkhorn, WI. I’ve seen 21 shows at The Gorge but have yet to attend the other two.) It’s also one of the band’s favorite venues (along with the other three), hence the “historic” performances (in DMB lore, that is).
This was my second trek to SPAC, with the other being in 2009. I briefly discussed that experience here. That night’s concert in question was one of the best DMB shows I’ve attended. “The Stone” was beyond epic, “Halloween” was out of nowhere, and the band was on fire. While I don’t think a single night from this past weekend beats the 06.13.09 show, the diverse setlists for both nights probably elevated over my previous trip as a whole. Rarities, new songs, and guest musicians (Lettuce‘s Eric Krasno and The Shady Horns) sprinkled both shows for a solid weekend.
I often try to “connect the dots” with these video posts, and I can do so again here. First, it’s a somewhat timely follow-up to the aforementioned “Stifle Yourself” post. I once again saw “Halloween” at SPAC, only this time my phone remained firmly in pocket all the while. This time I just soaked it in. I considered taking a picture of all the other fans taking pictures and videos, but figured that’d open up a meta-can of worms that’s best kept closed. Second, like last week, it’s a nice reminder of a great live musical experience.
The audio on some of these could be a bit better, but the video quality is pretty good. Not all songs from both nights are up, so it’s somewhat of a random sampling, but enough to give you a good taste. (And the best part is that I got to top the weekend off by seeing Radiohead in Detroit Monday night… 🙂 )
N1: Finale, “Halloween” into “Tripping Billies”
N1: “Seven” — FUNKY mixed meter goodness in all its glory. (My favorite song from Big Whiskey…)
N1: “Can’t Stop” (w. Eric Krasno & The Shady Horns) — One of the “lost” 2006 tunes starting to enjoy a gradual comeback. (Please do the same for “Break Free”…)
N2: “Two Step” — Finale, and the crowd chanted for it all night long (until they gave up and started chanting “Last Stop,” which is heard at the beginning).