Dave Matthews Band concluded a three-night stand at The Gorge in Washington state on Sunday with a guest-filled affair featuring many surprises in the setlist. Mavis Staples, Robert Randolph & The Family Band and Tony Hall were among those that sat-in with DMB who due to positive COVID-19 tests were without drummer Carter Beauford and bassist Stefan Lessard for the third night in a row.
On Friday, DMB announced the group would perform “in an alternate format” for this year’s installment of their annual Labor Day Weekend run at the scenic venue. The “alternate format” turned out to have Dave Matthews start each show solo before teaming with Tim Reynolds for a series of duets. Then, DMB bandmembers performed in various configurations with special guests joining in for the remainder of the main set. Dumpstaphunk bassist Tony Hall helped out and DMB keyboardist Buddy Strong showed he’s a great drummer by hopping behind the kit for a series of songs each night.
Sunday’s show began with Matthews dusting off John Denver’s “Take Me To Tomorrow” for its tour debut. Dave’s solo segment also included “The Song That Jane Likes,” “Here On Out,” “You Never Know” and Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away.” The latter and “Here On Out” were both tour debuts. Tim then emerged to back Dave on “Minarets” and the year’s first “Old Dirt Hill (Bring That Beat Back).” Matthews and Reynolds played “When The World Ends” and then shocked fans by busting out “Christmas Song” for a rare non-holiday season performance. Last night’s “Christmas Song” was the first since December 15, 2018 and first Dave & Tim version since December 11, 2010 as per DMB Almanac.
Dave and Tim followed “Christmas Song” by pairing “So Much To Say” and “Too Much.” Then, Rashawn Ross, Jeff Coffin and Buddy Strong joined Matthews and Reynolds for “The Ocean & The Butterfly” and “Funny The Way It Is.” Next, Strong headed to the drum kit, while his tech — keyboardist Elijah Pigg — and bassist Tony Hall emerged for the 2021 debut of Come Tomorrow single “That Girl Is You.” The same lineup proceeded on with “Pig” and the tour debut of “#27.”
On Saturday, Dave Matthews Band debuted Beatles and Sly & The Family Stone covers. The group and their friends would repeat the feat last night. DMB’s first ever rendition of the Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog” featured Hall on bass, Strong on drums and Pigg on keys. The same troupe performed “Can’t Stop” and then the legendary Mavis Staples came out to duet with Dave Matthews on The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Dave Matthews Band recently debuted “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on the same day Charlie Watts died in honor of the drummer. Mavis Staples was on hand last night as the opening act with Robert Randolph & The Family Band also performing a support set.
Last night’s Sly & The Family Stone cover debut was “If You Want Me To Stay” featuring lead vocals from Tony Hall. Dave Matthews Band then brought out Robert Randolph & The Family Band for a high-energy take on Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” The previous DMB “Superstition” took place at The Gorge on September 2, 2018.
Matthews was joined by Rashawn Ross and Tim Reynolds to start last night’s encore with “Sister.” Dave and Tim then ended the night with “Jimi Thing.” The tour is expected to continue on Wednesday at Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, Oregon. No word yet on whether Carter Beauford and Stefan Lessard will be available.
Watch fan-shot video from last night captured by Mitch Wight below:
Setlist (via DMB Almanac)
S: Take Me to Tomorrow*, The Song That Jane Likes*, Here On Out*, You Never Know*, Funny How Time Slips Away*, Minarets**, Old Dirt Hill (Bring That Beat Back)**, When The World Ends**, Christmas Song**, So Much To Say**, Too Much**, The Ocean And The Butterfly^, Funny the Way It Is^, That Girl Is You^^, Pig^^, #27^^, Hey Bulldog^^, Can’t Stop^^, Brown Sugar^^ / Bitch [tease]^^ > (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction&, If You Want Me to Stay^^, Superstition&&
Encore: Sister#, Jimi Thing^^
- * – Dave Solo
- ** – Dave & Tim
- ^ – Dave, Tim, Buddy, Jeff & Rashawn
- ^^ – Dave, Tim, Buddy, Jeff, Rashawn, Elijah Pigg & Tony Hall
- & – Dave, Tim, Buddy, Jeff, Rashawn, Tony Hall & Mavis Staples
- && – Dave, Tim, Buddy, Jeff, Rashawn, Tony Hall, Robert Randolph, Lenesha Randolph, Marcus Randolph, Ray Ray Randolph & Steve Ray Ladson
- # – Dave, Rashawn & Tim