By Deborah Wilker
When it comes to money-in-the-bank on tour, they don’t get much more reliable than The Dave Matthews Band. Save for a few months off during the band’s 20th anniversary year in 2011, DMB has toured every summer of its 23 years.
One of the steadiest sellers in all of live music these past two decades, DMB topped Billboard’s Hot Tours chart last summer with a $40 million take for just a few months work. Part jam-band, part pop-collective, DMB continues as one of music’s rare post-MTV-era success stories, its direct-to-fan marketing approach straight from The Grateful Dead’s pioneering playbook.
South Florida has long been a DMB stronghold, with the band playing The Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach all but three summers since the amphitheater’s inception in 1995. In 2002 DMB began a run of annual doubles here – two nights back-to-back – accounting for roughly 40,000 tickets every summer.
The story is much the same this year, with shows July 18 and 19 (lawn seats are still available). What’s different is that the band’s current touring show is set up in two distinct acts – an acoustic opener followed by an all-out electric blast.
So far this season, the band has been playing plenty of old favorites – ingrained album tracks and hits such as What Would You Say, Dancing Nancies, Tripping Billies, Stolen Away on 55th and 3rd, Crash Into Me, Satellite, Don’t Drink The Water, Drive In Drive Out and on and on.
Matthews, now 47, and more than a decade removed from his peak as a campus jam sensation, is still a spry musician, prone to his own unique dance steps, improvised moments and set lists that change from night to night. At just $50 for the lawn, DMB is still one of the best buys in rock ’n’ roll.
PHOTO Jason Koerner Photography