Everyone got to hear their favorite song at St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater in Lakeview on a rainy Wednesday night.
Dave Matthews Band performed a two and a half hour set filled with hits, fan favorites, a brand new song and even a few covers. Dave Matthews took the stage first at 7:44 p.m., eager to get the party started, but the rest of the band took their time — either due to concerns about the weather (the sound board guys frequently checked the radar on a laptop) or to make sure as many DMB fans could enter from the parking lot so no one missed anything .
The show started with “Pantala Naga Pampa” and an energetic “Rapunzel”, followed by “Funny the Way It Is”. Then, some fans started singing along to “JTR,” and the group was happy to oblige.
Dave’s mainstream fans then heard “So Much to Say”, and the nearly sold-out crowd – nearly 17,000 fans – sang along enthusiastically. Matthews started to go wild on the last “little baby” line as they followed up with “Anyone saw the bridge”.
I got to hear my favorite DMB song, “Too Much,” which takes me back to my early teens when I was raiding my older sisters CD collection and turning up the volume in my bedroom.
Then Dave Matthews Band kinda let the air out of an outdoor amphitheater playing “Squirm,” perhaps aptly titled. Everyone had been singing and dancing, but the tune from the 2009 album “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King” apparently isn’t anyone’s favorite as most of the crowd stood silently.
But don’t worry, DMB has taken things into their own hands with a 13-minute version of “Crush” for the romantics, a stunning performance of “Dancing Nancies” and the Syracuse debut of new song “The Only Thing.” The couples kissed for “You & Me,” the brothers gave a high five during a jam-tastic “Jimi Thing,” and everyone went “woo!” during “Warehouse”. Die-hard fans who love rarities could hear them dust off “Captain” from “Busted Stuff” (and the “Steve Lillywhite Sessions”).
Band members were also able to play their own favorite songs. Guitarist Tim Reynolds and keyboardist Buddy Strong had a duel on “Jimi Thing”, saxophonist Jeff Coffin had a huge sax solo on “You Might Die Trying”, bassist Stefan Lessard and trumpeter Rashawn Ross were featured on “Crush” and drummer Carter Beauford smiled through each of them. (Lessard, by the way, wore a bead of courage pinned to his shirt in solidarity with pediatric patients in the program supported locally by the nonprofit Maureen’s Hope Foundation.)
But perhaps no one enjoyed it all more than Matthews himself. The band was originally scheduled to perform at St. Joe’s Amp in 2020, but the concert was postponed – twice – due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s nice to be back here with you,” he told the crowd, who cheered in agreement.
Even if you don’t like Dave Matthews and were only there to appease your boyfriend/girlfriend/parents, you still need to hear other songs: they briefly covered “I Want a New Drug” by Huey Lewis and the News, then everyone shouted “you sexy motherf—er” while having fun on Prince’s “Sexy MF”
At 10 p.m., the band seemed surprised that they had already played for more than 130 minutes and seemed ready to conclude with “Louisiana Bayou”. Then they added two more for long-time fans seeing their eleventh DMB show: “Grey Street” and “All Along the Watchtower.”
Ultimately, the best part of a Dave Matthews Band show is that you don’t know what songs to expect, but you know you’re going to hear what you want to hear.
Dave Matthews Band Set List for August 18, 2021
At St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater in Lakeview, Syracuse NY
Pantala Naga Pampa
It’s funny like that
so much to say
Anyone who has seen the bridge
do you remember
The only thing
You could die trying
I can not stop
I want a new medicine (cover of Huey Lewis & The News)
Sexy MF (Prince cover)
All along the watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)