Volume 92, Issue 1

Friday, May 15, 1998

empty pockets


Matthews' fusing voice

Geoff Blake

By Neil Malhotra
Gazette Staff

On the heels of their fourth album, the Dave Matthews Band made a triumphant return to Southern Ontario last week, bringing their pop-folk-jazz fusion to Arrow Hall in Mississauga. Seven thousand teeny-boppers, frat boys and hippies gathered to see one of the premier musical talents of today do their thing.

The band opened with a long-time favorite, "Tripping Billies." The song allowed violinist Boyd Tinsley to display his best and set the tone for the evening. Tinsley sawed and plucked his way through classics like "Jimi Thing" and "Two Step," while taking over lead vocals on the unreleased "True Reflections."

The feature of the night was the unveiling of eight tracks of the band's new album, Before These Crowded Streets. The new songs were carried by the powerful rhythm section of Stefan Lessard on bass and drummer Carter Beauford, as they provided the groundwork for new classics like the politically charged "Don't Drink the Water" and the jammed-out "Crush."

The band reproduced these songs fairly well, considering they did not have the aid of Alanis Morrisette, Bela Fleck or Tim Reynolds, who all contributed to the new album.

The evening did not go on without a hitch. Frontman Dave Matthews lost his voice as the evening progressed (caused by an excessive interview schedule) and he had problems fulfilling his vocal range on such standards as "Satellite." However, Matthews' tired voice did not hold him back from pulling out a couple of surprises.

He used an electric guitar on "Crash" which he has avoided doing through the band's seven years. In addition, Matthews' set list did not feature several of the band's radio hits such as "Too Much" and "What Would You Say."

Dave Matthews Band is one of the few bands to have gained its reputation through live performance and this show proved they have earned the acclaim. Even at a sub-standard performing level, they still managed to put on a phenomenal show.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998