Review: Dave Matthews Band potent in Irvine
With Dave Matthews Band set to release its eighth studio album (the dazzling Away from the World) on Sept. 11, the group appeared more than pumped throughout its three-hour concert Saturday night at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Joined by several guests (notably guitar great Stanley Jordan) and reportedly offering up the live debut of not one but two songs off that soon-to-drop disc, Matthews and his terrific players would have blown the roof off the place if there was one.
When I last caught DMB here in Irvine, September 2009, the troupe was touring behind another then-new album, the Grammy-nominated Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, its first new work since the untimely death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore the year before. As impressive as that set was, its 155-minute length was easily outdistanced by Saturday’s performance, clocking in 20 minutes longer, in front of a packed house that covered every corner of the lawn.
Opening with the funk-tinged “Seven,” Matthews and his band never let up. That song showcased a three-horn attack alongside Tim Reynolds’ incredible fretwork, though throughout the night every member of the ensemble had multiple chances to shine. Yet, whereas many jam bands blessed with such skilled musicians merely use extended songs to showcase their talents, with DMB the song is never eclipsed.