Show Reviews

    Dave Matthews Band at Madison Square Garden


    New York City

    November 29 2018

    by Jeffrey Winick

    DMB Returns to MSG after 8 year Hiatus.

    I was invited as a guest 24 hours before DMB played their first of two shows at MSG, so this show was a complete surprise for me. Looking back at all the jambands I’ve seen over the last three decades, it is hard to believe I’ve never seen DMB live. I know I had a moment in time when “Under the Table” and “Crash” came out that their music was in heavy rotation in my life track, but by the time “Before these Crowded Streets” was released in 1998 I kind of lost track of the band unless they were in the news, for tour bus incidents, the passing of a member, or early 2000 radio hit likes “Everyday” and the “The Space Between”.

    This is the first of two sold out nights at MSG, a room they haven’t played since 2010 which they mentioned had been way too long. A very clean stripped down black stage with minimal or hidden equipment, and black background curtain treats the crowd to two heavy jazz style opening numbers, “Seek Up” and “That Girl is You” that really let the two horn players shine (Jeff Coffin on saxophone and multi-instrumentalist Rashawn Ross on trumpet and backing vocals).

    The 40 foot black background curtain drops to reveal a multi-hexagonal projection white board as they rip into “Why I Am” which seems to be the fans’ first favorite. #41 two songs later treats fans to another dance party and my friend mentioned to me, “Sometimes it’s like you’re in a jazz club talking with friends and DMB is the background music, then 5 minutes later you’re right back at the rock concert loving the moment” which seems definitely on point tonight. “Satellite” is the next big hit and fans knew from the first note what they were getting, I kind of did too.

    Two song later we get our first and only cover “Sweet Emotion” from Aersomith and the crowd is just as appreciative but you can tell, they came for the big DMB hits.

    Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but now we have two guitar players, as Eric Krasno has come out to join Dave for “Lie in our Graves.” Kraz started with a drippy Mark Knoeffler type of solo, Dave steps aside, stage right and gives Eric a solid five minute solo that shows everyone at MSG, this man can really play the big room. (I think I just became an Eric Krasno fan tonight too).

    From the video channel of Gregory Marcus

    Krasno’s solo gives way to Buddy Strong on keys with a Hammond B3 solo, draw bars set to replicate that hollow jazz organ sound from the early 70’s. Buddy and Eric start trading licks and now all of MSG is clapping in time as “Lie in our Graves” stretches to 13 1/2 minutes mark. Buddy Strong is new on keyboards, they haven’t had a keyboard player in 10 years since Butch Taylor left the band and it also fills the void left with Boyd Calvin Tinsley, (fiddle player) who was asked to leave the band in May of 2018 for personal reasons.

    One song later and we now have the monster hit “Typical Situation” which I actually forgot how much I enjoyed. Even the most casual fan is up and dancing now, (yes I’ve been watching your lack of enthusiasm.)

    Dave and Company finish out the set with a strong version of “You Might Die Trying” slow and thoughtful on acoustic at first, as the band fills in layer by layer until we have screaming sax and trumpet solos.

    Closing out with a double encore, “What You Are” seems serviceable compared with a ripping eleven minute version of Ants Marching, starting with those 6 notes and single drum beat, which sends the crowd into a frenzy one last time, before hitting the late November cold streets of Manhattan.

    Many hardcore fans will be back to tomorrow night, as they’ll get a second show with lots of hits and likely no repeats.

    From the video channel of DogTube Concerts.

    Set List 11/29/18 DMB at MSG

    Seek Up
    That Girl Is You
    Why I Am
    Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)
    Kill the King


    Again and Again
    Sweet Emotion
    (Aerosmith cover)
    Can’t Stop
    Lover Lay Down
    Lie in Our Graves
    (with Eric Krasno)
    Sleep to Dream Her
    Typical Situation
    Funny the Way It Is
    You & Me
    You Might Die Trying

    What You Are
    Ants Marchin

    From the video channel of Michael Lores