Dave Matthews Band at Cynthia Woods Pavilion, 5/17/2013
"It's the humidity that makes the funk more glorious," mused a certain Mr. Dave Matthews in his amused, half-mumbled manner as he opened Friday night's show in The Woodlands, the first stop on the band's annual summer tour.
Oh, and what glorious funk it was. That statement set the tone for the night's sweltering concert, during which the Dave Matthews Band spent two hours improvising and extended each song into a jam-band version of its former self.
That's pretty much Dave Matthews Band concert protocol, though. Dave Matthews concerts generally aren't built for the casual fan, and rarely will you hear more than a smattering of radio hits played during their sets. With 20 years of material to draw from, and a penchant for jam-banding the shit out of each song, it takes a devout member of the church of DMB to recognize most of the songs on their ever-evolving set list.
That little fact didn't seem to put off the thousands of fans in attendance at The Woodlands show, though. As the band opened with "Grey Street" off their 2002 album Busted Stuff, the audience that filled the pavilion came to life right along with the musicians, despite the relative obscurity of the song.
There was little casual banter from Dave as he launched the audience into a wide coverage of the DMB catalog; we went from "Broken Things" to "Dreamgirl" and "Seven" with only a few short musings from him as the band transitioned from song to song.
As a front man, Dave is probably one of the most awkward, yet also extremely likable, guys to take the stage. And true to form, he seemed uncomfortable with the silence between songs on Friday night; the only time he appeared completely at ease onstage was when the music started back up and he fell back into place behind that aggressive folk-funk groove.
Between songs, he busted out lines that must have been spoken in a language only the most devout DMB fans could comprehend. At one point, Dave looked out at the crowd and, with that infamous half-smile, says,"You smell gooood, everyone from Houston that could make it this evening."
I couldn't tell if he was alluding to the skunky clouds that hovered above the pit, or if he was giving our city props for some rockin' hygiene, but despite my confusion, he was so obviously amused with the limelight that he was completely endearing.