Concert Review: Dave Matthews Band at Coral Sky Amphitheater

At first, I thought this review of Dave Matthews Band’s Friday night show at the Coral Sky Amphitheater would be about the elements. Ominous clouds hung in the distance and lightning flashed prior to showtime, and I was convinced that the first DMB show I attended would be cancelled for inclement weather. Luckily, this wasn’t the case, and the show went on with minimal interruption aside from some rainfall in the latter half of the set.

The DMB weekend West Palm residency is legendary in South Florida, and has been a staple of the local music scene since 2002. The band’s two shows are an excuse for one of the biggest parties of the summer in Palm Beach, and plenty of people showed up: Every section but the lawn was completely sold out on Friday, and the whole show is sold out for tonight (Saturday).

Want to know what a big deal this band is to people in South Florida? There was a marriage proposal behind me just a few songs into the show, all the way at the back of the lawn section (and she said yes! Congrats to Nick & Nikki). Fans love the band because of their unique set lists, which seldom recycle songs over the course of two shows at the same venue, and because of the ardor of Matthews and his band, which was on full display throughout the show.

Though a whopping seven songs out of the full 20-song set were culled from the group’s most recent record, Come Tomorrow,the crowd didn’t seem to mind. To the untrained ear (such as my own), most of the songs performed at a DMB concert are going to sound similar, but a few of the tracks did distinguish themselves clearly to me through the haze of the band’s improvisations. The group counterbalanced all the new material by breaking out old favorites like “Bartender” early on, “Ants Marching” to close the main set, and fan-favorite unreleased track “Cornbread,” which for my money was the standout song of the night.

I walked into Friday night’s Dave Matthews Band show with no expectations, and I walked out with a newfound respect for his music. Every musician onstage distinguished himself as a master of his instrument, from drummer Carter Beauford to guitar hero Tim Reynolds and saxophonist Jeff Coffin. Each musician had ample opportunities to show off their dexterity during solos, and dazzled accordingly. And bandleader Dave Matthews only continues to augment his reputation as a formidable singer, guitarist, and songwriter as his career marches on.

I’d include a link to buy tickets for tonight’s show, but as mentioned, it’s completely sold out. Maybe I’ll see you there next year.

Set list:

1) Do Your Remember

2) Big Eyed Fish

3) Bartender

4) So Right

5) Again and Again

6) Seven

7) Lying in the Hands of God

8) Shake Me Like a Monkey

9) Come on Come on

10) Can’t Stop

11) You Might Die Trying

12) Digging a Ditch

13) Hunger for the Great Light

14) Here on Out

15) Cornbread

16) Typical Situation

17) She

18) Ants Marching

ENCORE

19) Come Tomorrow

20) Stay (Wasting Time)