On night one of a two-night stand at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ, the incomparable Dave Matthews Band took the stage for a long and beautiful evening of music. Camden is one of the few stops on the band’s second Summer Two Sets Tour to feature back-to-back shows. Shortly after seven o’clock, Dave strolled out onto the stage, strapped on his guitar, and kicked off the opening acoustic set with a soft, warm and gorgeous rendition of John Denver’s “Take Me To Tomorrow.”
From there, Dave was joined by guitarist Tim Reynolds on the third song “Bartender” and then the rest of the band took the stage to finish the acoustic set strong. The treated fans to tracks like “One Sweet World,” “Two Step,” the rare “Raven” (which the band played electric last summer in Camden), and more. They finished up their unplugged time with “What Would You Say,” leaving the crowd hungry for the second helping that was to come.
After intermission, the band took the stage for Act II. Electrified this time, they kicked off the second set with “Minarets,” a cut from the band’s 1993 studio effort Remember Two Things. Just like last summer, I had the privilege of photographing the band at the beginning of their set. We were in the pit for about a half hour, and the seemingly endless jams allowed me to capture some great moments, as well as stop enjoy a few bars without looking through my lens.
To spice things up, some very special guests were brought out to jam. “We’ve got a friend here with us tonight,” Dave said casually. “Mr, Warren Haynes.” Haynes joined DMB for a cover of Neil Young’s “Down By The River,” during which he layed down a dazzling guitar solo on his cherry burst Gibson Les Paul. “That’s Warren Haynes,” Dave said after the song. The crowd erupted with praise for The Allman Brothers Band great. Haynes stayed for a performance of “Smooth Rider” which also featured an appearance by renowned trumpeter Matt Cappy. It was the first time the band had played the song in full since 2009. Vocal troupe The Lovely Ladies also provided some beautiful harmonies on several tracks throughout the evening. Happy rejoined the band towards the end of the set for “Jimi Thing.”
The band closed out the set with the fan-favorite “Granny” and returned for the encore of “You Might Die Trying” which the band debuted live a decade ago nearby in New York City’s now-closed Roseland Ballroom. Dave Matthews Band proved once again why they are one of the best live acts in music history, and a treasured summer tradition for casual fans and diehards alike.
Dave Matthews Band formed in 1991 and the band released their debut album, Under The Table and Dreaming, in 1994. The album produced five hit singles, and still stands as some of the band’s best work. The follow-up, 1996′s Crash, has been certified 7x platinum. It once again gave the band five hit singles, including the title track “Crash,” which is one of the biggest hits of their career. In 1998, Dave Matthews Band’s third album, Before These Crowded Streets, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and sold over 421,000 copies in it’s first week of sales. In the new millennium, the band released their fourth album, Everyday, in 2001. Debuting at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, it spawned three smash-hit singles and sold an astonishing 755,000 copies in it’s first week of sales.
In 2011, Dave Matthews Band celebrated their 20th Anniversary with The Dave Matthews Band Caravan – a summer festival tour comprised of artists selected by the band. In 2012, the band co-headlined the Hangout Music Festival alongside Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jack White. That same year, they released their eighth studio effort, Away From The World. The disc debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, giving the band their sixth consecutive number one album. Throughout their career, Dave Matthews Band has released 18 live albums. The band prides itself on it’s live performances and touring relentlessly, and their live recordings hold a special place in fans hearts. To date, the band has been nominated for three American Music Awards and fourteen Grammy Awards. In 1997, they won the Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance by Duo or Group for “So Much To Say.” Over the last few months, Dave Matthews Band have been reportedly working on new music with producer Rob Cavallo and are supposedly putting out a brand new studio album later this year. – by Matt Bishop