Happy New Year! It’s 2018 and that means a lot of things. Some people are starting their New Year’s resolutions. Other people may be starting a new job or career. But if you are a Dave Matthews Band fan, 2018 means that the long 2017 tour hiatus is over, and it’s almost time for summer tour dates to be announced!
For those of you that may not be into Dave Matthews Band, here’s a quick history. Dave Matthews Band was formed in Charlottesville, VA in 1991. Since that time, the band has toured relentlessly. For Dave Matthews Band fans like me, for as many years as we can remember, summer has meant a DMB tour, culminating in a 3-night stand over Labor Day Weekend at The Gorge.
In 2016, the band celebrated its 25th anniversary. However, with that celebration came the unbelievable news that the band would be “taking a break”, and would not tour in 2017. WHAT?????? DMB fans were shocked, depressed and worried about what this meant for the future of the band.
Of course, Dave isn’t one to stay home, so there were plenty of opportunities to see him in concert – either solo or with Tim Reynolds. Other members of the band were also out and about. Both Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross collaborated with other musicians and played several shows. Boyd Tinsley hit the road with the band he created – Crystal Garden. But, other than a charity show in Charlottesville this past fall, the band did not play together.
But, we’ve made it to 2018, and short of officially announcing a tour, the signs all point to a summer tour happening again.
And, while I’m excited for the tour, I also know that the “DMB drama” will start up again as well. So now that we’ve all had a nice break, I think as a DMB fan community, our New Year’s resolution this year should be to “Keep Calm and Just DMB”. So, I’d like to share some tips for everyone as we approach the concert season.
THE 7 STAGES OF DMB
They say there are 7 stages of grief – shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance. In my observation of the DMB fan base, there are also 7 stages of being a DMB fan.
STAGE 1 – ANXIOUSNESS
This first stage occurs around this time of year before tour dates are announced. When will they announce them? What shows should I go to? I need to request PTO at work, so what should I do?
STAGE 2 – EXCITEMENT
The tour dates are finally announced and everyone is excited. They start talking about what shows they want to go to. Who is going to the Gorge? Should I go to SPAC this year?
STAGE 3 – NERVOUSNESS
Then comes that horrible Warehouse (the DMB fan club) ticket request period, and the subsequent notifications. Which shows should I request? Will I get everything I requested? What if I get stuck on the lawn? Every day you open your Warehouse account just waiting to hear if you got the requests you want, or if you were denied.
STAGE 4 – STRESS
Once Warehouse notifies everyone of ticket requests, we start to see the stress come out. “I have been a Warehouse member for 10 years, and I got denied for everything I want. Why bother!” “I would be better off getting tickets in the public sale”. “All I wanted was to go to the Gorge, and I got denied”.
STAGE 5 – JOY
As the summer wears on and the shows get closer, even if you got denied Warehouse tickets, people manage to find tickets somehow and everyone gets to the shows they want to go to. Then the joy begins! The tailgates. The shows. The music. It’s like a big reunion every time you go to a show, when you get to see so many friends from around the country and the world.
STAGE 6 – ANGER
The joy is short-lived for some, though, as the critics come out as soon as the show is over. The “set list haters”, as I like to call them, will start criticizing every set list. Depending on the format of the shows this year – 2 sets (one acoustic and one electric), opener, no-opener, etc. – the critics will hate the format of the show. You will also have those that criticize the band – Dave’s voice was bad, Boyd didn’t smile, Stefan looked like he needed a haircut, etc. And God help us all if the Lovely Ladies come back out for the tour!
STAGE 7 – DEPRESSION
Once the shows are over, the “Davepression” sets back in as you realize you have to wait another long winter before the next summer tour.
MY 10 TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE SUMMER TOUR
If there is one thing I know in this life, the world does not revolve around DMB (although it seems like it does for some people). While I missed our summer road trips to see shows in 2017, I still managed to have a great summer last year without the band on tour.
In fact, I took advantage of the fact that I had more free time and more “concert budget” without DMB on tour, and went to 53 different shows last year (only three of which had anything to do with Dave Matthews). You can check out my “year in review” of all the shows I saw in 2017 here:
But now that it looks like we will be back in the swing of things with a typical DMB summer, here are my 10 tips for making the “best of what’s around”!
TIP #1 – DON’T STRESS ABOUT TICKETS
I need to follow my own advice on this one, because I always stress over tickets. When you put your ticket requests into Warehouse, and then get that notification back that says “denied”, it’s hard not to stress about it.
However, there are lots of other ways to get into the show. Of course, if you don’t get tickets through the Warehouse, you can try your luck at the public sale on Ticketmaster. If you still aren’t successful there, you can ALWAYS find people selling tickets – you just need to be patient and know how to network.
There are lots of places out there to keep an eye on if you need tickets. You can always find tickets on third party resellers like Stub Hub, but you will likely pay a premium. Keep your eye on www.cashortrade.org. There are also a number of FB groups out there, including The Official DMB Ticket Group, where people look to buy and sell tickets at face value.
Another option is to volunteer for Reverb for a show. In exchange for volunteering a few hours of your time before the show, you get free entry. Volunteer spots are limited, so check their website to find out how to sign up.
TIP #2 – DON’T ANALYZE THE BAND MEMBERS
There are already several posts on DMB Facebook pages mentioning how Boyd Tinsley is only featured in 2 small pictures in the DMB 2018 calendar. What does it mean????? Is Boyd on his way out of the band??? Why does he smile during Crystal Garden shows, but not during DMB shows??? Is he jealous of the other band members???
Bands are like families. Sometimes you get along, and sometimes you don’t. But, if any of the guys didn’t want to be part of the band anymore, they wouldn’t be. All of them are very talented musicians. Not only have they made a lot of money from DMB over the years, but they can all support themselves going forward with their solo work. If they didn’t want to be in the band, they would quit.
Instead of theorizing about things you can’t possibly know the answer to, just enjoy the band. Not many bands last 25 years, so let’s appreciate that they are still together and stop trying to figure out who is jealous of who.
TIP #3 – IF THERE ARE OPENERS, GO TO SEE THEM
One of the great things about a DMB concert is the tailgating before the show. We all love to hang with our friends in the parking lot, and walk into the show at the last minute.
I’m not sure what the format will be this summer, but if they go back to having an opener, go in to the show a little earlier and check the opener out. In general, the bands that open for DMB are really great (ok – The Punch Brothers was an exception). We’ve discovered a lot of great bands that way including The Lumineers, Lake Street Dive, Trombone Shorty, and others.
TIP #4 – STOP WITH THE SET LIST HATING
If there is one thing that annoys me the most about certain fans, it’s the set list hating. I honestly feel like the set list haters just want to show off their vast knowledge of DMB songs, to prove to the rest of us that they know more than we do. They also seem to know more than Dave himself, since Dave is the one that puts together the set list before every show.
Set list haters are annoying for so many reasons. First, I saw 53 concerts last year. I can count on one hand how many of those bands play a different set list every night (and one of those bands was Dave & Tim). So, appreciate the fact that the set lists change from show to show. They don’t for most artists.
Second, the band does have to rehearse the songs they are going to play, so it’s impossible to play these rarities on a whim. Even though DMB doesn’t do a huge choreographed show like U2 or Coldplay, they can’t just pull out a song they haven’t prepared because you are yelling it out to them or are holding up a sign asking for it.
But, speaking of signs, I have personally witnessed situations where someone follows the band all tour and asks for the same song every show (i.e. – Dodo), and Dave eventually plays it. So, for those of you that say Dave doesn’t listen to anyone when he puts the set lists together and just plays whatever he wants to – WRONG!
TIP #5 – DON’T BE “THAT GUY (OR GIRL)” AT THE SHOW
It always amazes me how people spend a ton of money to go to a concert – tickets, parking, beer, etc. – and then either a) pass out because they drank too much before the show, b) talk during the entire show, or c) spend more time out of their seat than in it.
I’d like to think that most of those people aren’t “true fans” of the band, but sometimes they are.
Here are some things I don’t need you to do at a show if you are sitting by me. I don’t need you to announce each song to me – I know all the songs too. Please don’t yell out “I love you Dave” during a quiet ballad or when Dave is doing his famous “Davespeak”. If you are going to periscope or video, please don’t hold your phone above your head during the entire show.
TIP #6 – GO SEE OTHER SHOWS
I know, I know… go see other shows besides DMB???? Why would I do that? Because there is lots of great music out there. Broaden your horizons a little. There are so many great small bands that you can see in small venues, and the tickets are cheap.
TIP #7 – BE KIND ALWAYS AND DO SOME GOOD
One of the things that I think we all appreciate about Dave and the rest of the band, is that they are constantly trying to make this world a better place. Whether it’s a charity show they are participating in, a cause that they are bringing attention to, or when they are donating their own time or money.
At the Camden shows several years ago, we started a tailgate party before the N2 show with a group of friends. As the group of friends got bigger, a couple of the guys decided that we could do some good and have fun at the same time. From there, the Tailgate Caravan was created. Since its official formation a few years ago, the Tailgate Caravan has raised thousands of dollars for local charities with their tailgate parties. It’s now something that people in the Philadelphia area look forward to every year.
Check out video from the 2017 Tailgate Caravan party before the Dave & Tim show in Philadelphia this year.
If you have your own tailgate party at your home show, consider doing something good too. It doesn’t have to be as extravagant as what the Tailgate Caravan does (believe me – I live it every year and it is a production!). It can be as simple as putting out a collection jar and having everyone donate money to a local charity.
TIP #8 – BE IN THE MOMENT
I see so many people at shows – DMB and otherwise – spending the whole show on their phones. Because I am normally covering the show for my blog, I do have to take some pictures and video, as well as keep notes to help me write my review the next day. But, I really try and minimize that as much as possible.
It’s great to have memories, but if you are spending the whole time posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram, you aren’t really enjoying the show. We went to see A Perfect Circle last fall, and they did not allow cellphones to be out at all during the show. I have to say that it made the show much more enjoyable.
TIP #9 – GO SEE A SHOW AT ANOTHER VENUE
Over the years, we always try to add a new venue to our personal DMB summer tour. We’ve now done Bristol, Virginia Beach, Charlotte, Jones Beach, Holmdel and the Gorge (our home venue is Camden). In each new place, we’ve met new friends and had new experiences.
We also like to turn our shows into vacations if we can. Hitting the road to see DMB has led to some great trips!
TIP #10 – JUST ENJOY IT!
I don’t know how many more years DMB will tour. It might be 20. It might be 2. Or, this might be it. What I do know, is that eventually this ride will end. So, enjoy every minute of it.
As Dave sings in “Two Step”, “life is short but sweet for certain”. There are lots of artists out there that we will never have the opportunity to see again – Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Prince, and Tom Petty to name a few. In fact, as DMB fans, we know we can never see the “original” band again after the passing of LeRoi Moore.
We know that we have at least one more summer of DMB, so enjoy every second of it!
I can’t wait to see all of my DMB family out on tour this summer! When you see me, come give me a hug and get a wristband (I have really cool ones that glow in the dark), and let’s dance and sing like we never have before!
Have questions about DMB? What are you looking forward to most about the 2018 tour? Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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