I mean, I never knew really what it was to be "obsessed" until very Recently when I finally admitted it. Sure, I haven't been a huge DMB fan that long... but hey, it didn't take Alexander the Great too damn long to whoop damn near everyone in the entire Eastern Hemisphere's ass, now did it? Not that I'm comparing myself to Alexander the Great, mind you. But you get the point...
I only first heard our beloved DMB on the radio in the fall of 1994, and of course the song was What Would You Say, abbreviated by the core followers as WWYS, most lovingly, I might add. I very much enjoyed the song, but as I am with many new bands I've never heard of, I decided to either find a friend with the album or wait for the next single. I settled for the second. That, of course, was the phenomenal Ants Marching. Now, that is a helluva song. I finally did find a friend with the album, Mike Dendinger (What up BOG?) and he let me borrow it (for all of maybe 2 hours) but I knew then I had to get it. I did, through a CD club, no less, but I had it. Unfortunately, the date was March '95. Turns out they were in Ft. Wayne to do a show about a week after that, but I never knew about it, so I missed it.
Thus began my whirlwind of DaveMatthewsBAND, please notice emphasis on BAND, as there ARE 4 other guys there also. Many people often forget that. The time flew, and I began listening to the entire album in one shot, noticing that many of the songs on the album Under The Table And Dreaming (UTTAD) are actually stronger than the singles. Well, in my honest opinion. I especially liked listening to the album while driving to Purdue University during the summer to try to fix up my house at the time. I just about had it memorized by August.
So, I started my senior year at Purdue, and all was well. I had a girlfriend (What up CMW?) at the time who was new to DMB, but who (of course) I converted. Then, on a freaky kawinkidink, I happen to be checking the local record store's DMB section, checking for singles or import titles that had songs I hadn't heard yet. That's When I came upon the glorious Remember Two Things (RTT). This of course being the first album put out by the band's own label, Bama Rags. I also noticed at the time (actually just a couple weeks before Christmas) several concert CD's for sale at highly unnecessary prices, and was tempted to blow a load for one, but didn't. I was content with RTT, and besides it was mostly live anyway. I am a person who truly feels that you cannot really know a band until you've heard them live. Call me crazy.
That was then it started, for real. RTT was (is) amazing...especially the song Recently which clocks in at a nice 8 minutes. (This would later become my favorite DMB song, more on that later...) Anyway - I of course began to understand DMB a little more, a little better. They were incredible live and delivered such energy and beauty without taking anything away from the songs. I was in heaven. And I couldn't explain it. I tried, really I tried, but no one seemed to get it. Too bad for them, eh?
So, I was chilling along with my RTT and my UTTAD and thoroughly enjoying my DMB. Isn't that just TQFY? (If you know, you know.) So, a few weeks pass, and lo and behold it is January. I even bought a copy of RTT as a Christmas present for my BOG! School started back up, and there I was, yet AGAIN finding myself in the record store (Man, I could live there...). That's when I saw the marker board at Karma Records. It said, in the most beautiful red ink you could ever see... "Dave Matthews -- Indiana University -- 2/1/96..."
I was amazed, shocked, bewildered, soiled. WOW! I have a good friend, the afore mentioned "BOG" who goes to IU, and he likes DMB too. SO..... I called him later that day, and he had just found out as well. He said "You wanna go?" and I was like "HELL YEAH" so that was that. He was gonna get me a ticket and it was gonna kick ass! Funny thing is, Mike was in line to get them, with three of his buds who were also getting tickets, and then the store said "CASH ONLY"... and they about dropped a load. They didn't know that was the rule, and they only had enough for 5 tickets, four for them and one for someone else. Mike is the one who had the extra money for the 5th ticket. They planned on getting at least 6... and it came down to this: one of his friends said, "well I think my friend should get the extra..." and Mike said, "Like hell! It's my money, so OB is going!" Fuck yeah! Rock on Mike! So I got a ticket and I went! Check out my review of the show.
Well, I got the Recently CD, it's all that. I got to see Dave Live, albeit not with the band, but hey, Dave & Tim is a whole different and moving experience. I consider myself lucky, as D & T only did a month or so of shows at Colleges, so not many got to see them. Anyway, after the show, I was surfing around the web and the DMB sites and also noticed there was a DMB newsgroup where people discussed the band. So, after hearing Halloween on the new DMB CD I had, I was very interested in getting a copy of the lyrics which I was unable to find on the WWW sites. I posted the question, and I got a response from a certain Chris Primus, who just happened to go to Purdue as well, and asked me if I had any live shows, and if I wanted some to just call him. Hmm. That was probably the quickest phone call I ever made.
I got in touch with Chris, and tried to not sound too overly anxious but he was very nice to me, and offered to spin basically as many shows as I wanted. I gave him 4 tapes at first (which later turned into 8) and we met on campus (in the Union actually). Chris is a cool guy. To this day, 3 of the shows he gave me are still some of my best, and of course, some of my favorites. Thank you Chris, wherever you may be (probably in Seattle.)
I found out more and more about tape trading on the web, and since I had a couple shows, I was able to ask people if they wanted to trade. I met some really nice people and even got a couple shows by sending blanks and postage. Mostly I traded though, since I was lucky to have some good low generation shows. At first I thought all I wanted to do was get a live version of every song, and then stop. Yeah right! That didn't last too long...the more you get, the more you want. Its like a sickness. You see all these people with tapelists a mile long, and you drool. You fathom the thought of owning 50 hours. 100, even. Or maybe like some crazy nut, 600 hours.
The problem with getting so many good live shows on tape, is: when you do get to see the band live, you expect them to live up to your expectations. And you expect them to play as crazy and as good as they did on the tapes. And you expect them to play songs you are used to hearing, even though they may have stopped playing them years ago. I saw the boys 4 times in '96. By the time the last show rolled around, which was NYE at Hampton, VA... wow, that was nuts. Anyway, the show was phenomenal, they played amazingly. BUT. Frankly, they played the same songs they played earlier in the year. I basically saw the same show every time, because more and more DMB is becoming a mainstream band. The tapes from '92 and '93 are by a club band, a local band, a not-strained-by-the-task-of-playing -for-thousands-ok-millions-of-radio-fans-band. Setlists in the past year were more and more stagnant. I just think David et. all need a rest. Non-stop touring basically from May till Dec. and David is still on tour now with Tim - which I think is fantastic, but the man needs rest. There have been a couple new songs on the new tour, and he's playing some of the tunes the band USED to play, which is great. Really great. Let's hope by the time they come back out as DMB this summer, we'll get some revitalization. And with a new album being recorded in the fall, let's hope for Deed is Done and Get In Line!
Ok, enough of my rantings. Dave Matthews Band is the best band of the '90s. Of the '00s hopefully. They are magnificently talented human beings. Let's hope they continue to grow and teach us how wonderful they really are.
Well... ok, the summer came and went. DMB did a pretty decent job of reinventing themselves in the short time they were actually playing. A couple new songs (including a new cover) and some new twists to old tunes, and very energetic playing gave all crowds a good show... lots of guests, too. They took a big break for most of the year, though... a very helpful one, apparently. In the fall of '97 they started their next album Before These Crowded Streets... and it is virtually brand-spankin' new material. I've now heard four tracks off the album... and I like what I hear, but at least for the time being, I'm not all that hyped up like I used to be. I've only got one confirmed show (with the possibility of another) and I've also slowed down my trading a whole lot since I've been at Bucknell. These things may seem to indicate a lack of enthusiasm of the band, but on the contrary.. I'm just relaxing a bit and letting the band do what they do. I think I've simply calmed down. I'm as thrilled as the next person to hear the new album. I'm psyched for the new tour. I've just got some other things I need to be worrying about at the time being... you know how it is!
But... also, I just started playing guitar - literally a week ago. I've got a dozen or so DMB songs I can play parts of, and it's so much damn fun to be able to recognize a song you love so much, and actually be playing it yourself! What a concept! If I continue to learn at the pace I am now, I'll be Tim Reynolds in about 3 months. Heheh... ;-) Ok, maybe 3 decades.
Ok, ok - new album, new songs, new energy. I was lucky enough to catch 6 shows this spring and summer, and they were all very good. I even managed to catch Seek Up, Granny, #36, and Recently in ONE show at Deer Creek. Wow. The shows were tight, and I even saw Herbie Hancock and his headhunters jam on a couple shows. I am finally trading for a few newer shows and I'm definitely looking forward to this year's NYE. The best part about the shows I saw over the past year is all the very cool people I've been fortunate to meet and hang with. It's been a blast.