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Story and photos by Pete SchoenThe sky gave way to a glorious sunset at Wisconsins' famed Alpine Valley Music Theatre on July 25th. It was the perfect backdrop as The Dave Matthews Band opened its two night stand at the theatre with a solid performance in front of a sold out crowd.
The Virginia septet shook the tree with a hefty opening acoustic set, which allowed the band to stretch their boundaries and set the tone for the rest of the night. DMB performed songs such as "Little Red Bird," "Rhye Whiskey" and "Stay or Leave".
The energy didn't truly pick up until the sun went down and the electricity was plugged in. Matthews and friends played a few melding crowd pleasers during the beginning of the set including "Dancing Nancies" and a raucous whiskey soaked rendition of "Lie in our Graves." The tempo shift in some of the songs at times can give you whiplash but the crowd never really missed a beat. By the end of the night Alpine Valley had been transformed in to one large gospel gathering where everyone knew all of the words.
Matthews and his group have always been considered a jam band, that seems to be an arbitrary label upon the group by folks seeking to classify them and, more often then not, dismiss them as "stoner music." DMB is more accurately a group that takes Matthews' songs and expounds upon their possibilities. At times this results in transcendent expositions on the harmonic and emotional material. Sometimes, not so much.
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