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Celebrating the anniversary of the greatest ‘live’ moment of Dave Matthews Band

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123 shows.  That’s the number of Dave Matthews Band concerts I have had the privilege of attending over the last decade and a half.  I’ve flown to Chicago, camped out in Wisconsin and road-tripped for weeks at a time, just to see DMB.  I’ve seen the band when they played in front of 700 and in front of 70,000.  I’ve seen Dave with the band, I’ve seen him solo, with Tim Reynolds and with his ‘friends’ like Trey Anastasio.  I’ve seen DMB open up for the Rolling Stones and I’ve seen Neil Young open up for DMB.  The best concert I ever attended was one that had DMB, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, REM, James Taylor and the Dixie Chicks all play on one stage.   I cried for days at the news of the death of band memeber Le’Roi Moore.

Inf act, I make the argument to myself all the time that my life changed for the better and worse when I met a fellow DMB fan who told me, at that point, he had been to more than 500 DMB shows.  At that point, I had been to one.  But I loved that guy’s sense of freedom and passion and decided right there and then that one day I would tell some new DMB fan about the 511 shows I enjoyed.

In the histography of Dave Matthews Band, there are countless magical moments from the band’s live performance.  That’s what they do.  They are the best ‘live’ band in the world.  Forget about Bono and his charity work.  Forget about Radiohead.  Even forget about The Boss.  Dave owns the road.

As difficult as it may be to pinpoint one specific time as the band’s greatest performance, there is one moment that, among the faithful, stands out.  Eight years ago, at Boston’s Fleet Center, Dave Matthews launched into ‘Bartender’ – the group’s magnus opus that often plays for twenty minutes on-state.  It’s a song that talks about man’s relationship with God, who, as you can guess by the title of the song, is a bartender.  Up to this point, the progress of the song moves to a crescendo of the beautiful and the guttural as Dave echoes against  pastiche of drums, violins and horns.  Never before and never since had Dave actually ennuciated the lyrics of what can only be described as begging before a God he doesn’t believe exists.  But on April 7, 2002, Dave made sure that the words he was singing were perfectly clear.  And with it, he defined his worldview in a way he had never previously revealed.

falling in alone
oh then we fall away
cause someday oh in my dream
before me there stood God
there spinning around
and around
he said there my son
what are you wanting
with your life
my belief
i want to believe
he said you’re there alone
but I don’t believe you’re real
cause you’re never there
never there
oh never there
oh i want to believe and i
i want to believe
don’t walk away
you believe in love
rain down on my lullaby
love i’d love to believe
your belief
oh there
you love me
love right
i’m right
you beat up all yeah
all yeah
if i’m wrong
cause i’ll fight
cause i’ll fight
cause i’ll fight

Dave ended up losing his voice because of his performance.  The band actually postponed their performance in NYC scheduled for the next day — something they rarely do.  But that was a small price to pay for this epic performance.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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