I finally reached the third leg of my DMB 2018 Summer Tour! While the end of the summer tour is always a little depressing, this last group of shows had the promise to be the best yet. We saw four shows in six days – one in Bend, Oregon and three nights of “LaborDave Weekend” at the Gorge in George, Washington.
Going to the Gorge is a pilgrimage for most DMB fans. I’ve now had the opportunity to go three times, and it was just as amazing the third time as it was the first.
This third and final leg of my summer tour featured a venue I’ve never been to (Bend), a tailgate party we managed to pull off even though we were thousands of miles from home, and a huge group of DMB fans spending the weekend together to see their favorite band.
Keep reading to find out more about the last leg of my summer tour!
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ABOUT THE BAND
If you aren’t familiar with Dave Matthews Band, you can read more about their history in my article about my first set of shows. Click here to read more:
I wrote in my first two articles how energized the band seems to be this summer. With a new album out, new songs to play, and a new band member in Buddy Strong, they seem to be having the time of their lives on stage.
It was particularly fun to follow new band member Buddy Strong throughout the Gorge weekend. It was his first time playing the Gorge, and he seemed to be as excited to be there as all of the fans were!
DMB SHOW #8 – AUGUST 28TH – LES SCHWAB AMPITHEATER – BEND, OREGON
This was my first time seeing a show in Bend, OR. I knew that the amphitheater was small and was all general admission, but I didn’t realize how small until we got there.
Bend is a little town in Oregon that is well known for its outdoor activities and its beer scene. I’ll be writing later about our travel adventures throughout Oregon and Washington for this trip, and I’ll include information about the town itself in that article, so be sure to check back.
As for the amphitheater, it was basically a grassy field with a slight slope. While I didn’t think the acoustics were great, I really liked the venue itself. They had excellent food and drink choices, and the prices were much lower than what we are used to at other “Live Nation” venues. They had port-a-potties (or honey buckets as they are called out there) instead of bathrooms, but they were fairly clean and there was never a line.
Tip #1: Parking close to the venue is a little difficult. We attended a meet up at a restaurant that was about a 15-minute walk to the venue. Our server said we could leave our car in their lot and walk over to the show. We ended up with free parking and didn’t have to fight the venue traffic that way.
Tip #2: Because the amphitheater is just a giant lawn, be sure to find some landmarks if you leave your spot to use the bathroom or go for a beer run. We found a great spot next to the roped off walkway, which made it easy to find our group when we got back.
Tip #3: The show was sold out, so I expected the lawn to be packed. While I could see the front half was crowded, we stayed in the back half and had plenty of space to move and dance during the show.
As for the show itself, I was a bit disappointed. I found the set list to be fine, but nothing exciting. At every other show I’ve seen this summer, there is typically at least one or two songs that really stand out for me. That wasn’t the case at this show. I know a lot of people were excited to hear DMB cover “Time of the Season”, but for me, that’s just not my favorite cover.
DMB still sounded great, but I didn’t feel that they had the energy I’ve seen in the other shows. Dave’s voice sounded strong, unlike the previous weekend when he was clearly struggling during the Colorado shows.
After the show, my hope was that DMB was taking it a little easy in preparation for the big three-night run at the Gorge. Fingers crossed!
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): That Girl Is You, One Sweet World, #41, Again and Again, Louisiana Bayou, Satellite, Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin), Time of the Season (The Zombies cover), Warehouse, Tripping Billies, Come On Come On, Don’t Drink the Water, Lover Lay Down, What Would You Say, She, Why I Am, Everyday, Ants Marching Encore: The Space Between, Pantal Naga Pampa, Rapunzel
DMB SHOW #9 – AUGUST 31ST – THE GORGE AMPHITHEATER – GEORGE, WASHINGTON
The Gorge! If you are a DMB fan, you know exactly what those two words mean. Labor Day Weekend at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington turns into a pilgrimage for DMB fans from all around the world. I’ve been lucky enough to make the trek three times now, and I’m already planning for another visit in 2020.
The Gorge deserves a separate article of its own, which you can find on my website. I’ll just be talking about the shows themselves in this article.
Spoiler alert: N1 of the Gorge was my favorite set list of the three nights. I mean, when the show starts out with “Pig”, you know it’s going to be good! We were in the pit N1 and managed to get a spot on the right (Jeff/Rashawn) side about 5 or 6 rows back from the stage. I’m not one of those people that need to be “on the rail” or in the pit every night, but when you do get a chance to be that close – especially on N1 of Gorge weekend – it makes the show that much better!
I thought the set list on N1 was very well balanced. We got some standards like “Satellite” and “Samurai Cop”, but we also got some songs that you don’t hear as often like “Spaceman” and “Raven”. DMB also played one of my favorite covers that they do – “Sledgehammer”.
But my favorite part of the show was the last five songs before the encore, starting with “Minarets”. That song has become one of my favorites, and I just love hearing it live. After a crazy good version of “Minarets”, they brought things down with “Old Dirt Hill”, and then back up again with “Shake Me Like a Monkey”.
While I wasn’t thrilled with “Come Tomorrow” and “You Might Die Trying” as the encore (I like both songs, but not in an encore spot), overall N1 was a great way to kick off the weekend. The band was on fire and having a great time, and the crowd around us in the pit were enjoying every minute of it.
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): Pig, Louisiana Bayou, What Would You Say, Spaceman, Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin), Satellite, Raven, Crush, Again and Again, Sledgehammer (Peter Gabriel cover), Seek Up, Can’t Stop, Here On Out, Lying In the Hands of God, Minarets, Old Dirt Hill (Bring That Beat Back), Shake Me Like a Monkey, Pantal Naga Pampa, Rapunzel Encore: Come Tomorrow, You Might Die Trying
DMB SHOW #10 – SEPTEMBER 1ST – THE GORGE AMPHITHEATER – GEORGE, WASHINGTON
For N2, we had reserved seats in the 200’s. The seats obviously give you a totally different view, but it is also a different vibe. People tend to be a little less intense than the people in the pit. We were lucky in that we had a good group around us. No talkers. People weren’t constantly getting up and down to go to the bathroom or on beer runs.
So, if N1 was my favorite of the weekend, N2 was my least favorite. DMB opened with “That Girl Is You”. As hard as I try, I just can’t get into that song. It’s better live than it is on the album (Dave’s voice sounds really screechy to me on the album), but it’s not my favorite and not the way I want to kick off a show.
In general, I found this to be a much more mellow set. DMB covered “Time of the Season”, which again is not my favorite cover. They also played mellower songs like “Lover Lay Down” and “Idea of You”.
The set picked up on the 12th song with “Don’t Drink the Water”, which is always amazing live. Special guest Hamilton de Holanda came out to join DMB for “Grace Is Gone” and blew everyone away with his talent. And then we got “The Last Stop” with Hamilton. Now we have a show! While N2 was not my favorite night, hearing “The Last Stop” was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. The version they played was unbelievable.
DMB wrapped up the main set with “Stay”, which has become one of my favorites on this tour with the addition of Buddy Strong’s keys and vocals. The “You and Me” and “Grey Street” encore was a bit of a letdown, but any song at the Gorge is better than not being there!
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): That Girl Is You, #41, Seven, Stay or Leave, Warehouse, Do You Remember, Lover Lay Down, Time of the Season (The Zombies cover), Come On Come On, Dancing Nancies, Idea of You, Don’t Drink the Water, Grace Is Gone (with Hamilton de Holanda), The Last Stop (with Hamilton de Holanda), Digging a Ditch, Everyday, Why I Am, Stay (Wasting Time) Encore: You & Me, Grey Street
DMB SHOW #11 – SEPTEMBER 2ND – THE GORGE AMPHITHEATER – GEORGE, WASHINGTON
For N3, we were back in the pit. We wanted a different view than N1, so we targeted being on the left (Buddy) side. When we first arrived during the opening act, it wasn’t too crowded, so we were able to secure a spot that was closer to the center of the stage. I really loved the view we ended up with. Because we were closer to center, we had a better view of all the guys than we did on N1. Plus, we had a group of friends around us which always makes the night better.
N3 was full of ups and downs for me. It started out slow with “One Sweet World”, but one of the highlights of the entire weekend happened during the third song – “That Girl Is You”. I know that I just wrote above that I don’t care for that song. Well, turns out I love it when the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (who was one of the openers all weekend) joins DMB on stage. It was like a giant Mardi Gras party. I have never seen the guys have so much fun. Plus, Jeff Coffin got the chance to take front and center stage, which rarely happens.
Another highlight was the cover of “Superstition”. I’m so glad we ended up in front of Buddy Strong on N3, because he was the star of the show on this song! He split singing duties with Dave, and frankly out sang him. Add his funky keyboards, and it was a classic version of this song.
DMB also brought Hamilton de Holanda out again to join them on a fantastic version of “Lie In Our Graves”.
The encore featured “Butterfly”, which is rarely played, along with “All Along the Watchtower” and “Cornbread”. A number of fans were disappointed in the encore, as the original set list also showed “Two Step”. Personally, I am not a fan of “Watchtower”, as I think it was overplayed a few years ago. But the versions of both “Watchtower” and “Cornbread” were fantastic. We had a great time in the pit and the guys were clearly enjoying themselves. That’s all the matters!
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): One Sweet World, #27, So Much To Say, That Girl Is You (with Preservation Hall Jazz Band), So Right, Jimi Thing (into Sexy M.F.), Again and Again, Superstition (Stevie Wonder cover), Proudest Monkey, Tripping Billies, Captain, She, Typical Situation, The Song That Jane Likes, Lie In Our Graves (with Hamilton de Holanda), Funny the Way It Is, Hello Again, Ants Marching Encore: Butterfly, All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover), Cornbread
So, that wraps up my DMB 2018 Summer Tour! I saw 11 shows in five different states. It was a great run and it’s always fun to see all my DMB friends. For those of you that know me, my world is full of concerts by lots of different artists, so I don’t go through the same sort of concert withdrawl that many DMB fans do. But, there is nothing like a DMB show and nothing like hanging out with all of our DMB friends. I will definitely miss that until they hit the road again.
Rumor has it that there may be a winter tour on the east coast. If so, you know where to find me!
Are you a DMB fan? How many shows did you hit this summer? How do you feel about the addition of Buddy Strong? Let us know what you think by commenting below or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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