MTH-V: DMB at SPAC 2012

Dave Matthews Band destroyed at Saratoga Performing Arts Center this weekend. As expected.

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).

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