One of my favourite albums is “Live at Luther College” with Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. It’s a 1999 recording of a live concert of songs by the Dave Matthews Band, but played with only two acoustic guitars.
I didn’t think Dave and Tim played any more concerts together. So last fall, when I heard that they would be playing 2 shows at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland on January 16 and 17, 2015, I thought this would be a great opportunity to visit friends and family in San Francisco, and get away from the Ottawa winter for a few days. I then proceeded to book a flight and hotel in San Francisco during the weekend of the concert.
Getting tickets to the concert however was a whole other issue. The two shows were “sold out”, which meant that you couldn’t get tickets on Ticketmaster, but could buy tickets on StubHub or eBay for more than 3 to 4 times the cover price.
After some frustrating research, I ended up getting a ticket to the Saturday show on eBay for $180 USD, almost twice the cover price. Not bad, although not great either.
The concert was held at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Oakland. While a cab ride to the theatre from downtown San Francisco would have been about $50, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could easily get to the theatre using the BART, as it was only 5 stations away from Powell station near Union Square in San Francisco. And although I had heard that Oakland has some sketchy parts, the theatre was located in what felt like a very safe part of the city.
Upon arriving at the Paramount Theatre, there were signs at the entrance for the concert (so I knew I was in the right place!):
There were also signs that the evening’s performance would be recorded, and that as audience members, we were consenting to our images appearing in the video and waiving all claims: (I’m sure their lawyers told them to say this!)
The Paramount Theatre is an old art deco theatre that was built in the 1930s. It seats about 3000 people.
The theatre is gorgeous, with intricate carvings and ornaments in the ceilings:
Heck, even the bathrooms are nice!
The show started shortly after 7:30pm, and Dave and Tim played for about 2.5 hours. It felt very intimate and personal as Dave would have a conversation with the audience between each song. He spoke about such diverse topics as getting old, exercise, the ridiculousness of elliptical machines, the use of God in his songs, and ummm, even pooh (twice!).
I also noticed that Dave does all the talking and that Tim doesn’t talk at all during their shows. Given that Tim is pretty short, the two reminded me a bit of Penn and Teller!
I took lots of pictures of the show with my iPhone, but given the low light, none of the pictures really came out:
I initially chose the Saturday show instead of the Friday show, as I thought they would use the Friday show to “rehearse”, and play the songs better on Saturday. However, it turns out that they played completely different sets for each of the nights.
This is their set list from the Friday show: (picture from the Dave Matthews Band Instagram account)
And this is their set list from the Saturday show:
Seeing both set lists, I’m not sure which show I would have preferred to attend. I think the ideal scenario would be to have gone to both shows!
There were lots of memorable parts of the show. My favourite part of the show was probably during the playing of “The Stone”. When playing this song live, Dave often breaks out into Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” in the middle of the song. While playing the song that night, it sounded like he wasn’t going to do it, so the entire crowd started singing it.
Another highlight of the show is the fact that they played 2 encores – I was actually walking out the door when they started on the second encore!
It’s too bad that Dave and Tim don’t tour regularly anymore, as I would definitely go see them again. Until then, I can watch their recorded concerts, like the one below. This is a clip of “Two Step” from a show they did at Radio City Hall in 2007, and it gives you a great idea of what their show is like:
And of course, I’m looking forward to the live recording of the show I attended whenever it’s out.
Thanks for reading!