Since they stepped outside of Charlottesville, Va., to release Under The Table and Dreaming, a winter tour has always been expected from the Dave Matthews Band.
In 2001, however, that changed. There was no winter tour, and one didn’t seem likely this year either.
In early September, DMB finished its tour at The Gorge in Washington and it seemed unclear when the band would tour again. Violinist Boyd Tinsley wanted to finish his solo album, scheduled for release in January. Bass player Stefan Lessard’s plans were to snowboard in the Winter X Games, and Dave wanted to spend more time with his family while writing more songs.
As for drummer Carter Beauford and Saxophone player LeRoi Moore, they just wanted to take it easy.
But as the Dave Matthews Band starts its winter tour at the St. Pete Times Forum Tuesday, it could be the beginning of the quintet’s return to its earlier days in the music industry.
Fall tours for DMB usually mean stepping away from promotion and playing a mixture of songs from throughout their career, including cover songs and unreleased tunes.
Either “Warehouse” or “#41” could be a way for the band to start the tour, both being songs from their first major album.
Another song expected to be on the set list includes “Don’t Drink the Water,” which tells the story of the Native Americans losing their land.
The lyrics capture Dave’s perspective on American history, which he has said “has poison in it” when he sings: “What’s this you say, your father’s spirit still lives in this place?/Well, I will silence you.”
Cover songs such as Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” and Johnny Cash’s “Long Black Veil” can also be expected, both of which are traditional tunes for most of the band’s fall set lists.
It would be a disappointment, however, if “Halloween” is not played. The song tends to be a strain on Dave’s voice and is about Dave’s frustration after his girlfriend refused his marriage proposal three times. In the song he describes her presence: “Lonely two chicken eyes staring up at me,” and in the end he screams for her to accept, repeating the lines “Don’t walk away.”
The winter leg of the band’s 2002 tour only has nine shows on the schedule, but it seems DMB is ready to return to its roots next year.
Red Light, the band’s management group, announced last month that a solo tour is being arranged for Dave in March and April. And the tour will be held at college campuses because, as Red Light noted, they are looking for smaller venues with 5,000 seats or less.
Although the band has sold out shows at Madison Square Garden and Giants Stadium, the crew built their reputation with smaller shows at colleges like West Virginia University and George Washington University. And for the summer, DMB wants to take the tour back to larger venues by arranging a stadium tour.
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