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Monday, April 22, 2024

Dave Matthews Band's Epic Return After a Decade: A Thrilling Musical Odyssey

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In a triumphant revival reminiscent of a prodigal son's return, Dave Matthews Band shattered a ten-year hiatus in spectacular fashion at the Sunbet Arena in Pretoria this past Sunday. While the band's performances in the Republic have been infrequent, their recent show proved worth the wait, leaving audiences spellbound with a musical extravaganza spanning over three electrifying hours.
Seemingly lured by the festive season and perhaps drawn by connections to friends and family, the band, known for their jam-packed performances, made up for lost time with an unrelenting display of their expansive sound. Their songs morphed into sonic journeys, traversing various musical landscapes within the same composition.
The concert unfolded with a vibrant explosion of rippling trumpet and saxophone solos from Rashawn Ross and Jeff Coffin, igniting a fervent rendition of "Fool in the Rain." This evolved into a progressive, jazz-rock symphony, marking merely the inception of the night's extended improvisations. Carter Beauford's dynamic drumming resonated crisply, intertwining seamlessly with Stefan Lessard's playful basslines, providing a stable foundation throughout the evening's performance.

Despite their monumental success globally, Dave Matthews Band has always divided audiences, harboring a devoted yet polarized fan base. Surprisingly, the concert witnessed a lower turnout, leaving the upper seating levels unoccupied—a stark contrast to their sold-out Dome concert, a decade ago.
However, the band's influence is undeniable. U2, Metallica and Dave Matthews Band are among the top-touring artists of the last 40 years. That is according to concert industry publication Pollstar, which tallied the best-selling and highest-grossing artists in its 40-year history, specifically between July 7, 1980, and July 1, 2022. U2 is number 1 on the list for most tickets sold, with a total of 26,178,043. DMB follows at number 2 with 23,279,056. The talent in the versatile seven-piece unit is impossible to deny and when they are in full swing, like they were on Sunday.

Although the band's amalgamation of genres, rooted in rock, funk, blues, and jazz, would seem more at home in vibrant locales like New Orleans, instead of Pretoria, they were well received. Their free-spirited, improvisational style received an additional boost with a cameo appearance by local legend Vusi Mahlasela, known as the Voice of South Africa, adding a spirited flair to their rendition of "Everyday."

While their setlist featured fan-favorites like "The Space Between," "Crush," "Ant Marching," and "So Much," notable omissions of chart-toppers like "Crash into Me" and " Dont Drink The Water" left some concert-goers disappointed. However, this exclusion revealed Matthews' evolution as an artist, his concerns now revolving around impermanence and liberation, reflected in the band's newer material, such as “ Madman’s Eyes”, a song about guns in his native USA.

Remarkably, the band's spontaneity shines through in their ever-changing nightly setlists, diverging from the conventional pre-production patterns. Embracing improvisation mere hours before the show, each performance becomes a unique experience, a testament to their artistry and dedication to providing fans with an unparalleled live encounter.

In collaboration with Big Concerts, Dave Matthews Band's triumphant return to South Africa was nothing short of a musical odyssey, a testament to their unwavering commitment to evolving their craft while delivering unforgettable live experiences to their fervent fanbase.

Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer ( Media Manager)

[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]

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