Dave Matthews Band at 3Arena, Dublin on November 13th 2015

The return of Dave Matthews Band to Ireland was always bound to be a special occasion as revellers escaped the chilly November air to be entranced by a night of good old rock ‘n’ roll from Dave and his band. There was to be no support act, that’s not how Dave Matthews Band works. Instead, fans are treated to a huge three hour set filled with random solos from a wielder of every instrument, dangerous amounts of dodgy dad dancing and an engaging show by a band who really love what they do.

If you take a look at Dave Matthews Band’s discography, you’ll realise that the band have far more live albums than studio ones and this is a testament to the incredible live show that they deliver. As musicians, they’re all incredible – the drumming of Carter Beauford and his gigantic drum kit, the guitar solos of the insane Tim Reynolds and the versatility of Stefan Lessard’s bass playing are things that set the band apart on a live stage. This is a band that are great at what they do, and thrive in a live setting.

Big Eyed Fish, Death on the High Seas and #41 are early standouts of the set, with the latter being particularly impressive, helped in a big way by the saxophone solo. The way the band feed off each other’s energy is incredible, and when one decides to break into a solo, the other members step aside and just let it happen. Dave Matthews himself is like that cool uncle that you don’t see enough of, and at multiple points during the night he professes his love for Dublin and talks about how drunk he’s been getting which is met with much approval from the audience.

The main set was closed with Grey Street, a song that is lyrically depressing but musically upbeat. As the opening chords are played it is met with roars of approval as the audience sing along at the top of their voices. Grey Street is incredibly emotive live, and as the story of a girl who sees the world in grey due to depression is told, it feels as if the room has suddenly gotten a bit colder.  After the crowd had sang themselves into submission and the rest of the band had departed, Carter Beauford stepped down from the drum kit and began tossing at least a dozen drumsticks into the audience. Beauford himself then exited, before returning with the band a few minutes later.

Two Step, which usually clocks in at just under six and a half minutes went on for almost a twenty minute encore which included a breakdown of “shake that ass” sang by both Dave and the audience. Beauford was raring to kick into his drum solo and when he did, those of the audience who had been chatting away and planning their exit stopped and watched in amazement as the 59 year old blistered through his solo.

Music should always be about the love of performing, and the love that this band have for performing is immeasurable. There isn’t enough words to encapsulate a Dave Matthews Band gig and properly describe how engaging and impressive it is. Three hours seems like a long time, but it isn’t long enough when the band you’re watching fills every second with intensity and incredible talent.