Friday, January 29, 2010

Dave Matthews Band - Across The Pond

So after almost one month of waiting, I finally got my DMB Europe 2009 boxset. It consists of the Brixton (26 Jun '09) DVD and 3 CDs from the Italian show (5 Jul '09), housed in an impressive coffee table photo book, containing great photos from all the shows from the summer European tour.

How lucky I am to actually own an official DVD of a concert I attended just seven months ago. But seriously, the Brixton show has got to be the best looking DVD release by DMB yet. There's this real cinematic feel to it, something which I've not seen in their previous live releases. Also this time, the editing isn't sloppy and cheesy. Plenty of camera angles, and they did a great job making full use of every one of them. The sound mix is not too bad, though I could've used more of Stefan Lessard's bass guitar in there. But other than that, the drums and horn sections were strikingly loud and clear.

And the setlist.......lotta Big Whiskey songs were played; a fresh take on You & Me, and even better, an extended version of Lying In The Hands Of God. And to me, Seven and Why I Am have already become DMB classics. But of course, the best parts were when DMB played their old favorites, most of which came from Crash, and none from Under The Table And Dreaming (which was ok, because they did Ants Marching at Hyde Park two days later). Crash Into Me, always awesome, and one of the greatest love songs ever. So Much To Say into Anyone Seen The Bridge into Too Much intro and finally into Lie In Our Graves!!!! Seeing Boyd Tinsley do his solo was a trip.

And then the really big one came with #41. This song has gone through many different structure changes over the years, but I have to say this one is my favorite so far. I wished Leroi were still alive. After the usual violin solo came Rashawn Ross' trumpet and Jeff Coffin's saxophone playing in sync. Then, Coffin would stand near Carter's drums and start his solo, which would soon turn into an instrumental duet between him and Carter. That was face-melting indeed. The cameras were so close to both of them that it really felt like being on stage with them at that moment. Then Tim Reynolds would come in next with his electric guitar (great addition to the band too). After watching #41 on DVD, I didn't realize how long the song was; almost 1/2 hour!! Tripping Billies, another Crash favorite closed a perfect show.

If there's one issue I have with this release, it's the cutting out of the Stairway To Heaven solo in the middle of All Along The Watchtower. Dave also did an impromptu cover of Michael Jackson's I'll Be There which was taken out. Other than, I think this set is a great introduction to DMB as a live band. The Grammy awards are just around the corner and I'm really hoping they win Album Of The Year, simply because they deserve to.