Dave Matthews Band Delivers 3-Hour Set at Milwaukee Summerfest


For decades it was evident that Dave Matthews Group performed an annual show in Wisconsin – often at the Alpine Valley Music Theater, sometimes at Summer festival.

But as COVID-19 has taught us, there is no data.

So Dave Matthews Band’s tour of Milwaukee ended on Wednesday – a show originally slated for 2020 – was especially enjoyable for fans who packed the American Family Insurance Amphitheater to capacity to kick off the third and final weekend of the Summerfest.

And you got the feeling that the band, too, had a new appreciation for not taking all of this for granted.

Dave Matthews Band covers the American Family Insurance Amphitheater during Summerfest on September 15, 2021.

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It was a much bigger set than the band’s last time at Summerfest in 2018 – when they slowed down the momentum of the show’s first half with lots of songs from their latest album, while skipping some of their more. big hits like “Ants Marching.”

They skipped “Ants Marching” again this time around, but they filled their set with three hours of audience favorites, fun covers, a few never-before-seen gems and around 1,000 head-spinning solos.

Dave Matthews Band covers the American Family Insurance Amphitheater during Summerfest on September 15, 2021.

And Dave Matthews Band seemed excited to be playing as a full band again.

Earlier this month, drummer Carter Beauford and bassist Stefan Lessard – along with Matthews, the band’s only remaining original members – had to take a few shows off after both testing positive for COVID-19, though ‘they have been fully vaccinated. They returned to the stage last weekend, and quickly won on Wednesday night.

During the second issue of the night’s “So Much To Sty”, Beauford’s daring percussion got Matthews moving like Pee-wee Herman dancing in a seedy bar to “Tequila”, her shoulders were hunched, childish joy on her face, tiptoeing across the stage.

And during “Seek Up,” at the start of the show, when Lessard took control of the jam, chilling a cathartic rock section for rumbling bass grooves, Matthews nodded back and forth, like an animated parakeet. .

“Seek Up” was a sprawling 20 minute, initially subtle, almost nightmarish stun, led by Rashawn Ross’ reserved trumpet, with Jeff Coffin’s jazzy clarinet cranking up the intensity as Beauford’s beats intensified just behind him. . By creating space for Buddy Strong and Tim Reynolds to impress on keyboards and guitar respectively, it foreshadowed the musical flexibility that would define the ensemble.

Dave Matthews Band covers the American Family Insurance Amphitheater during Summerfest on September 15, 2021.

Instead of the saxophone and violin solos that shine on the studio version of “# 41”, Wednesday’s 10-minute live performance was led by Ross’s swaggering trumpet work, at one point sounding like fire. fireworks whistling on July 4th. Then Reynolds took control with nimble, jazz-borrowed guitar work, his initial burst of notes fading as Reynolds twisted the sound, creating a menacing, almost apocalyptic vibe before ending the show with a smooth slide guitar. and tangy.

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About an hour later, for “Jimi Thing”, Reynolds and Strong went back and forth, drawing each other’s inspiration from the sunny riffs, and then Ross and Coffin did the same, the latter two both incorporating the funky melody of ” Flash Light “of Parliament in their improvisations.

Matthews’ brightest moment? Would you believe a cover of “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel?

By group standards, it was a relatively straightforward cover, but it was the one time Matthews wasn’t holding an instrument, giving him mobility for an endearing, jerky dance that looked like a puppet being roughed up by a 6-year-old. – old, without diluting the soul of his voice or the sweet fire of his falsetto.

Dave Matthews Band covers the American Family Insurance Amphitheater during Summerfest on September 15, 2021.

There were also a few other covers – including Huey Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug”, which crept into a somewhat stagnant cover of Prince’s “Sexy MF”. The 24-song set list also included “Sweet Up and Down,” a song that was never released on an official Dave Matthews Band album, as well as a brand new upcoming song written during the pandemic, “Walk Around the Moon “, with fantastic lyrics reminiscent of Lewis Carroll.

And there was another unreleased song, “Singing From the Windows,” which Matthews played alone on acoustic guitar at the start of the encore, inspired by videos on the dawn of the pandemic of people in Italy singing on their balconies, looking for to connect while remaining a part.

Dave Matthews Band covers the American Family Insurance Amphitheater during Summerfest on September 15, 2021.

“Sometimes it’s a lot easier to find what divides us than it is to find what brings us together,” Matthews said Wednesday during a rare moment of dialogue with the crowd. “I’m just looking for hope everywhere.”

Wednesday in Milwaukee, thanks to the great music and friendliness, Matthews and Matthews fans found it.

List of Dave Matthews Band sets

1. “Search”

2. “So much to say”

3. “Whoever has seen the bridge”

4. “Too much”

5. “This girl is you”

6. “I can’t stop”

7. “Grace is gone”

8. “Soft from top to bottom”

9. “# 41”

10. “When the world ends”

11. “You never know”

12. “Kill the preacher”

13. “Why I am”

14. “You and me”

15. “Walk around the moon”

16. “Sledgehammer” (cover by Peter Gabriel)

17. “Jimi Thing”

18. “I want a new drug” (Huey Lewis and the News cover)

19. “Sexy MF” (Prince cover)

20. “Every day”

21. “Dancing Nancy”

22. “Rue Grise”


23. “Singing from the windows”

24. “Shake me like a monkey”

Contact Piet at (414) 223-5162 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @pietlevy or Facebook at facebook.com/PietLevyMJS.

Piet also talks about concerts, local music and more on “TAP’d In” with Evan Rytlewski. Listen to it at 8 p.m. Thursdays on WYMS-FM (88.9) or wherever you get your podcasts.

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