Dave Matthews Band

Credit: via morrisonhotelgallery.com

I suspect that few predicted that Under the Table and Dreaming would take America by storm, but it did!

In fact, no one younger than 30 who was alive in the mid-90’s could have missed the Dave Matthews Band. They were ubiquitous!

Lighter than grunge but still guitar heavy. Not too twangy, lots of melody, a very distinct vocal, and a dash of late 60's/70’s throwback. (Had he been born a generation earlier, Dave Matthews could have hung out with Carol King, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix.)

What stands out to me is the very difficult balance of: impassioned but chill. Dave et al make it look easy, but it’s quite an accomplishment to attain the right mix.

Dave Matthews could have inspired the term “chillax!”

As for me, I saw him once in concert with an ex-beau during his hey-dey. I was sober (I promise), but it’s been too long that I can barely recall much.

I will say that the Dave Matthews Band falls in this camp for me: I’m not a huge fan of theirs, but the songs I like, I REALLY, REALLY like.

Today’s story is dedicated to one of my new friends out there in Mediumland, the fabulous Eleanor Sweeney!

I have culled my personal favorite songs to feature in her honor. Let’s jump into some GREAT live performances:

There was no way I was going to pull studio cuts of Dave Matthews! He is legendary for his jam sessions! Luckily (and importantly), there are lots of high quality live performances to choose from of his work.

I’m starting obvious, but I can live with that. “Ants Marching” triumphantly marched right up the charts. Dave himself has called this tune the band’s anthem and I heartily agree.

Even NOW this song encapsulates the band I remember from two decades ago!

A little groovier than the studio cut. The guitarwork is funkier, has more flourish, and is more emphatic. No false advertising here: Tim Reynolds does indeed “go off!”

Another favorite of mine, the fifth and final single released from their debut studio album.

I don’t have to complicate this: “Satellite” feels like a rock lullaby. Still beautiful over 20 years later!

The final version of “Satellite” retains the same melody, but this early demo entitled “After Her” has a spritely, unique charm to it.

An obscure, interesting find worthy of a listen.

I’m partial to “All Along the Watchtower” because it’s one of my very favorite Dylan tunes.

Since Eleanor is a FAN, I have approached my selection with that in mind. In other words: this is one of THE definitive live performances — coming in at almost 13 minutes!

Dylan himself was in attendance that night and intentionally didn’t play this song since he anticipated that the Dave Matthews Band would do the honor.

And so they did.

A spectacular rendition!

I love music. It’s that simple. So if I have the choice to go big or go home, I’m choosing big every time.

In other words, of course I chose the 14:38 version of my final pick. And I love every second of it. It’s reminiscent of a piece of classical music. It has its own movements within the nearly 15 minutes.

My favorite Dave Matthews song and performance. I don’t crave listening to Dave Matthews, but I do crave THIS song.

And this particular performance is the ONLY one I listen to — no other version of “Two Step” will do.

It’s just…more. More dramatic, more ominous, more fevered.

It’s barely controlled, barely contained.

It’s a fiery, romantic masterpiece.

One of my biggest joys when writing about music is that I try to dig as deep as I can (or as time allows). In exploring today’s story I found some new-to-me live versions that I am really excited about!

Thanks to Eleanor for inspiring this story in the first place! And for her ongoing support of my writing!

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like:

Thank you for reading this story

I know you are busy and have lots of ways you could be spending your time. You using your time to read my work means the world to me — my sincerest thanks!

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