A lot of this eye rolling has been occurring because of another man. Well, technically, a band of them. For the last year I’ve regained my obsession with Dave Matthews Band and their music. The funny thing is this obsession was rekindled after a bad concert.
Yes, Dave Matthews Band is known for their amazing live performances, but my complaint was not with them. This guilt is all on the shoulders of the audience around me. During the show I almost wondered if my annoyance was because I am older and this is not a thing anymore (and really concert going can take a lot of energy). Nah. This ain’t on my shoulders. Honestly, the people around us were dicks.
There, I’ll say it again: “Dicks.”
Someone was selling beaded necklaces, another family was coming and going throughout the show (I think there were some drugs going on there), and a family sitting next to us brought their own bongos. Yes, you read that right- bongos. And of all of the members of Dave Matthews Band, Carter Beauford doesn’t need any drumming help. The man is freaking amazing.
Yet, ever since that concert I have not been able to stop listening to Dave Matthews Band. I listen to the music while I am getting ready in the morning, having breakfast, when I am driving the kids to school, and going for walks. Dave is there always, and it feel very natural. Like a friend, just hanging out, catching up on memories.
I have two new favorite Dave songs.
If you had asked me years ago I would have pointed immediately to “Recently” or “One Sweet World” (Yeah, I’m old school DMB). But now I can’t stop listening to “Stay or Leave” and “Stolen Away on 55th & 3rd.”
One small correction, the version of “Stolen Away…” I am talking about is their live performances of the song they have done during the 2014 tour, like when they performed in South Carolina which was streamed for free on Yahoo. (You see how much I have fallen down the DMB rabbit hole?) It doesn’t have that almost electric drum sound throughout it like on the CD and instead flows around the saxophone line which repeats and repeats again, sounding almost like the whimper at the end of a cry.
Ever since I have known my wife she has always boasted that “Stolen Away…” was about her. She had walked past Dave Matthews when she was in New York near that area and claims that there was a moment. Their eyes passing by each other. Of course, it doesn’t explain how Dave would have known my wife was a dancer.
It’s a good story, but a complete invention. Kind of like how her dad used to tell her that he grew up with Ringo Starr and she should refer to him as Uncle Ringo. She says that the moment she figured out that wasn’t true was devastating.
She lost not only a pretend Uncle that day, but a Beatle.
Why is “Stay or Leave” and “Stolen Away…” both my current favorite songs?
Both songs are about lost love, with strong hints of regrets behind the lyrics. “Stolen Away…” is the more positive of the two, but it doesn’t change the fact that both are about a relationship gone.
The fact is I don’t have relationships like that in my past. The first person I truly was very serious with was my wife, before that I was at the whim of my heart and dating was something I just did from time to time, and not very well. So I’ve been psychoanalyzing myself, trying to see if there is a reason behind this, and I think I have figured it out.
When I was in my thirties, I would spend most of my time missing my twenties and what could have been. Now I am in my forties, and I seem to be doing that same about my twenties and my thirties. It’s not a downward spiral but a spiral building.
That is not to say I regret anything in my life, but I live in a mind of possibility and I can’t help but wonder what could have happened. Or like Dave says in “Dancing Nancies”:
Could I have been a parking lot attendant?
Could I have been a millionaire in Bel Air?
Could I have been lost somewhere in Paris?
Could I have been your little brother?
Could I have been anyone other than me?
Could I have been anyone other than me?
Could I have been anyone?
Today, I have a bumper sticker for Dave on my car. I have the t-shirt, and I buy my wife Dreaming Tree wine all the time (which she does not complain about).
I first discovered Dave when I was in high school. I bought a copy of his Under the Table and Dreaming during a musical shopping spree. I believe I also bought Toad The Wet Sprocket’s Fear and Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend on the same day. Looking back, that was a good purchase day. I went on to buy all of his CDs, including many of his live CDs.
Dave and I parted ways for a time after the Lillywhite Sessions (the recording session that was stolen and released to the public). I couldn’t put my finger on why exactly, but the energy wasn’t there for me anymore. There was such a majesty of genius behind the Lillywhite Sessions that it was almost hard at first to listen to the more pop Everyday and finally Busted Stuff (the band’s attempt to release a more professional version of Lillywhite).
A few years ago Dave released the album Away from the World and it felt in many ways like a return to form for me. Plus, Dave was singing about things I could relate to. He has an entire song about teaching his son to swim. I’ve been there! Our boys are the same age! It was like our life journeys clicked back into sync.
Last year, I became obsessed with seeing Dave again. I joined the Warehouse via his site and bid on tickets for the show. Our seats were not great and the venue sucks (Sorry, DTE Energy Music Theatre, but you do suck). It was an odd experience. All this noise around me of people talking and laughing so loudly, and there hundreds of feet in front of me is Dave and his band trying to entertain. I so wanted to be closer, experience what they were doing on the stage, visit with “friends” I had known for most of my life, but I couldn’t.
Sadly, my wife and I left the show early. Something I never have done before… and something I never would have considered during my multiple other times seeing him in concert.
Since that show I’ve been collecting Dave Matthews Band concerts. They have many available only via his site. They are almost a treasure trove to the past, and really the band seems to shine more live than they do in the studio. I don’t know how that is true, it just is.
When I was growing up my dad only listened to a handful of albums over and over again. My brother and I can go both attest to this. You know it was the weekend in the Southard household when my dad was playing Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly or Neil Young’s Harvest, for example. Those albums are time capsules for me. I put them on and I am transported back to my childhood almost immediately.
So maybe, I like to argue, I am doing something similar for my kids. We listen to Dave on the weekends and perhaps that will mean something to them in the future. At least, I like to think so. Yet, I’m starting to see the breaking sides on this, and not everyone is siding with me.
My son recently complained in the car, “This guy again…” But on my side my daughter asked to hear one of his songs and then did a little dance when I was driving home from day care.
My wife gets me.
I think that is one of the reasons the eye rolling is still internal. And after I do play my Dave on the weekend, she knows I will put on some of her comfort music. For her, it is anything by Rufus Wainwright and Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run….
Oh, and she has seen Rufus more in concert than I have seen Dave. But I’m not going to say anything…
My latest novel Permanent Spring Showers was just published by 5 Prince Books. You can find out more about my novel as well as my other books (including A Jane Austen Daydream and My Problem With Doors) and grab a copy via my author page on Amazon.com here.
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