My first Dave Matthews memory is from high school, when seemingly every teenager in my little suburban town went to a Dave Matthews show, then showed up to school the next day wearing the concert t-shirt and talking about the show incessantly. I wasn’t sad that I had missed it, but I was annoyed that no one would talk about anything else.
My second and third and probably fourth Dave Matthews memories are the exact same thing, repeated periodically until I graduated. I think one of those times it had rained the night before, and everyone talked about the rain as if it had been a spiritual experience and Dave himself was the second coming.
Those are my only Dave Matthews Band memories. If you haven’t guessed, I don’t particularly listen to DMB. I know that “Crash” song that’s THE quintessential Dave Matthews song, and I also know that song that I assume is the secondary quintessential Dave Matthews song that goes, um…. “take these chanceeeeeeees, something something something.” (A quick Google tells me this song is called “Ants Marching,” and also that there is no way I would have ever guessed what those next lyrics are because wowww does it not sound like he’s saying what Google says he’s saying).
I don’t dislike DMB, per se, it’s just that I never really paid them much attention. As a teenager I was too busy listening to Guster and Barenaked Ladies and while I probably could have gotten into DMB if I really wanted to, I never cared enough to try. Maybe if someone in high school had ever spoken to me about them on a personal level instead of just trying to make me feel bad for missing DAVE IN THE RAIN, it might have been different.
It’s like when I was 18, hanging out in my freshman dorm common room, talking about how I wasn’t necessarily opposed to reading Harry Potter but that I had never sought it out.
“If someone handed me a book and said ‘read it,’ I would,” I said.
My hallmate Tim ran to his room, emerged with Sorcerer’s Stone, shoved it at me and said, “Read it.”
If you know anything about me at all, you know just how much I love, LOVE, Harry Potter. So maybe all I need is for someone to do the equivalent of handing me the first book and telling me to read it. Maybe DMB is my musical Harry Potter, just waiting for me to discover it and become weirdly (but healthily!) obsessed.
Dave Matthews Band is obviously still around, although they’ve never been at the forefront of my life in any more prevalent way than they were for those few years of high school. Occasionally they’ll come up in conversation and I mention that I don’t listen to them and the other person inevitably says the one thing that I guess they teach you in Being A Dave Matthews Fan 101:
“You haaaaave to see them live.”
To this I always give my standard response, which is:
“Sure, but I’m not about to pay to see a band that I don’t necessarily like.”
And then they nod in understanding and the conversation ends.
One time many years ago I had this conversation with a guy I was sort of dating and he actually said that he would take me to see them! Amazing. Conveniently, one week later, Dave Matthews Band announced a tour. The next time I saw my man friend we had the following conversation:
Me: Hey, did you see that Dave Matthews is going on tour?
Him: Oh, cool.
I guess that is my final DMB memory. For now.
That conversation was a long time ago, and it’s been even longer since I’ve heard any Dave Matthews music, even those 2 superfamous songs. I’ve evolved a lot as a music fan in those years, particularly in my appreciation of a really great live music experience. I’m much more open to going to concerts where I don’t know much about the artist, and furthermore, I’m semi-actively trying to catch live shows of artists that I’ve been told are really incredible live. The most prevalent example of this I can think of is when I went to a Phish show 2 summers ago despite not knowing any Phish songs. I paid a lot of money and I went by myself. I loved it.
What this means is, I think, that 20 years after I wanted nothing to do with even the mention of a Dave Matthews concert, I think I’m ready to go to a Dave Matthews concert.
DMB is conveniently going on tour this spring and summer, and while I would love to have a man friend offer to buy me a ticket (and..actually follow through this time), I’m prepared to actually pay.
Do you, person reading this, want to be my Dave Matthews buddy? The only qualification is that you have to be okay with the fact that I do not know any songs because even the songs I know, I apparently have no idea what the lyrics are. So if you’re the world’s biggest Dave Matthews fan and the only person you want to be at a show with is the world’s second biggest Dave Matthews fan, this is not the opportunity for you. But I promise to have a positive attitude because hi, I love live music, and if it rains I will bring a poncho but I hope it doesn’t rain because I don’t care what those kids in my high school said, rain may not ruin a show but it certainly never makes it better.
But I think it’s time to see what all the hype is about.