During the second half of the nineties, Dave Matthews and his Band released a trio of great albums that brought the jam band aesthetic to a new audience. ‘Under The Table & Dreaming’ and its superior successor ‘Crash’ appeared to blend the complex melodic charms of ‘Mars Hotel’ era Grateful Dead with the more commercial strains of mid 70s Steve Miller, but latch onto a contemporary audience. With ‘Before These Crowded Streets’, the band hit their studio peak when introducing jazzier elements.
Beyond that, their output has been hit and miss. It wasn’t really until the release of 2009’s ‘Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King’ that Dave’s studio output seemed to step away from the commercial sounds set in place by 2001’s smash hit (and horribly pop driven) ‘Everyday’, but that album was proof enough that the old band wasn’t dead.
The live setting has always been where the DMB have really shone, though, and their 1999 double set, ‘Listener Supported’ belongs in any decent record collection. Here’s another superb show – this time from much later – which shows how much power Dave and his band can whip up when not constrained to the studio. Allowing for a short weather delay, this epic set runs to approximately three hours, and takes in a great mix of accessible material, extrended jams. jazzy interludes and, seemingly, going wherever the band feels the need. You’ll find a really jazz inflected version of the brilliant ‘Too Much’, a pleasingly punchy ‘Last Stop’, ‘Ants Marching’ dropping into a tightly wound slab of jazz funk, a perfect Steve Miller cover…and far more besides.
Grab a cuppa, turn down the lights, and immerse yourself in a massive DMB set that pretty much covers all the bases. If this doesn’t make you want to go back and re-explore a couple of those more overlooked albums, nothing will!