It was a sticky South Florida summer night when Dave Matthews and his band hit Cruzan Amphitheatre for the first of two evenings of world sounds, straight jamming, and displays of great instrumental prowess.
The entire crowd was dripping with sweat, so it's no surprise that by the end of the show, poor Dave was soaked. We didn't envy his spot under those glaring lights. Matthews cracked jokes with the crowd, smirking as he said, "This humidity is messing with my hairstyle." And man, it certainly was.
When thinking of Cruzan, our minds go directly to Warped Tour and those days when we were young enough to go to shows without feeling like someone's older sister. When we discovered our seats were located in the coveted pit, a friend started talking about mosh pits. We assured him there would be no moshing at a DMB show.
The audience was a mix of families, lovers, stoners, and die-hard fans who travel around the country with the band to attend every show possible. Some guy in the crowd was bragging about how this was his 14th show this year. We don't even know if that's possible, but so he claimed as he held onto his oversized can of beer.
The sweet stench of pot was plentiful as the show started, and good ol' Dave got things going with "So Damn Lucky." The night included a two-part set; first was acoustic, and next was electric. The band played a mix of songs from Away From the World, Under the Table and Dreaming, and Big Whiskey and GrooGux King, and several covers. Matthews has such a huge catalog of songs to choose from, so it's a little like, why bother playing covers? But it's a thing, so we swayed along.
He pleased the crowd with some of his most beloved songs, including "Crash Into Me," "What Would You Say," "Sweet," and "Rhyme & Reason." All of these were played during the first half of the show, the acoustic set. It was intimate and relaxed, while the latter half of the night was more energetic, including laser effects and trippy visual backdrops but, most important, big guitar.
By the end of the evening, Matthews was practically limping offstage. He'd mentioned early on in the show that his back was killing him but said he was still thrilled to be there. No pussy, Dave manned up and played both sets like a boss. This included his showing off some dance moves that were, needless to say, a little silly.