Tuesday, September 26, 2023

In photos: Dave Matthews Band plays 2 nights at Riverfront Park

Dave Matthews played two nights in downtown Wilmington this week, both sold-out shows. (MoonFrog Media/Tom Dorgan)

WILMINGTON — It was a reunion more than two decades in the making: Dave Matthews Band returning to the Port City to entertain fans.

He performed two nights at downtown’s Live Oak Bank Pavilion, both sold-out shows. Fans spilled out into the Cape Fear River, hearing the music from their boats near the Riverwalk, also aligned with at least 200 people surrounding the outskirts of the amphitheater.

Four songs in on night one, Matthews apologized to the crowd for taking so long to return. But the locals weren’t the only ones cheering on his Wilmington arrival; fans near and far were in attendance.

Photographer Tom Dorgan of MoonFrog Media said a friend flew in from New York after having followed the band since 1996.

“His take on the Tuesday show was it’s good enough for the band to release as part of their Live Trax Archival series,” Doragn said.

Another die-hard fan whose been to upward of 100 shows traveled from L.A. David Emrich said night one was more like DMB’s “commercial night.” It contained many well-known songs through the band’s 10-disc catalogue, including “Satellite,” “Typical Situation” and “What Would You Say” from the 1994 debut “Under the Table and Dreaming,” and “Crash Into Me” and “Lie in Our Graves” from “Crash.”

The second night had its fill of classics, too, such as “Dancing Nancies,” “Jimi Thing,” “Crush,” and “Ants Marching.” Yet, Matthews peppered in songs like “Halloween” from “Before These Crowded Streets” and “Grace is Gone” from “Busted Stuff.”

Video courtesy of Port City Daily

He also played from 2023’s “Walk Around the Moon,” such as “Monsters” and “The Ocean and the Butterfly.” It is the first studio album from DMB since 2018.

The acoustic guitarist’s energy was in high gear, even downright giddy and a little miscshievous — dancing, smiling, singing, and praising his band members, Carter Beauford, Stefan Lessard, Tim Reynolds, Rashawn Ross, Jeff Coffin and Buddy Strong, during solos.

Their blend of funk, jazz, rock and folk permeated the riverfront through 40-plus songs over two nights. The second evening included a few covers, too, such as Beatles “I Want You (You’re So Heavy)” and “Brick House” by the Commodores.

Below are the setlists and photos only from night one, as taken by Dorgan.

Tuesday night setlist:

Stay or Leave    
Funny The Way It Is   
Seek Up 
Madman’s Eyes   
When the World Ends    
Typical Situation 
Break Free 
It Could Happen  
Lie In Our Graves      
Crash Into Me      
Don’t Drink the Water      
Virginia In The Rain      
What Would You Say      
You And Me      
Water Into Wine   

Looking for a Vein     
Grey Street

Wednesday night setlist:

Walk Around the Moon
Louisiana Bayou
Grace Is Gone
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (The Beatles cover)
After Everything
Pantala Naga Pampa
The Ocean and the Butterfly
Dancing Nancies
All You Wanted Was Tomorrow
Kill the Preacher
Why I Am
Jimi Thing
Brick House (Commodores cover)

Something to Tell My Baby
Ants Marching

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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