Dave Matthews, Tim Reynolds Launch Acoustic Tour

Setting was idyllic for opening of outing, but audience was unruly.

RICHMOND, Va. -- An admittedly nervous Dave Matthews and longtime

collaborator Tim Reynolds launched their three-month acoustic tour

Tuesday night in front of a crowd that was enthusiastic almost to the

point of rudeness.

"I'm sh---ing bricks up here," Matthews, the eclectic South African

guitarist, said before the duo began the show at the Landmark Theatre.

If so, his nervousness hardly showed during the nonstop three-hour

performance heavy in songs from the Dave Matthews Band's last two studio

albums, that also featured a solo instrumental set from virtuoso

guitarist Reynolds.

But Matthews, who lives about an hour from here and first played weekly

gigs in Richmond's Shockoe Bottom district in the early '90s, did

continually have to ask the 4,000 screaming fans in this opera house to

"please keep it down."

"It was an incredible show, from some incredible musicians," said

Melissa Roundtree, 24, of Washington D.C., who added, "We'd go anywhere

to see Dave. Whenever, wherever and whatever."

Unfortunately, said Brad Nessler, a 32-year-old accountant from

Richmond, "The crowd is the worst I've ever seen. Half of them are

drunk-ass, college kids who've never been in such an idyllic setting, I

imagine. A complete lack of respect. It's a shame too ... because the

music is quite beautiful."

Matthews and Reynolds took the stage just after 8 p.m. With Matthews on

a stool and Reynolds standing to his right, the duo launched into a

resounding version of

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"Don't Drink the Water" (RealAudio excerpt) from

Before These Crowded Streets (1998). Reynolds' accompaniment of

bombastic, warbling strings fit perfectly against the silky rhythms of

Matthews' strummed guitar.

Reynolds, who met Matthews in Charlottesville, Va., and now lives in New

Mexico, has long been the Dave Matthews Band's "secret" sixth member.

He's played guitar on all their albums and occasionally toured with

them.

"The first time I met Tim," Matthews said between songs, "I was working

at a bar in Charlottesville and I heard this incredible symphony coming from

onstage. I looked up to see this short, little guy playing this big

guitar and making all of these incredible noises."

Reynolds' playing unintentionally makes Matthews' look amateurish, but

together the combination is one of the finest, most organically pure

musical combos playing today.

Rattling off a string of recent hits, the duo put new twists on such

songs as "Rapunzel," "The Stone" (to which they added a verse from Elvis

Presley's "Fools Rush In") and "#41," before tearing into a version of

"Two Step," in which Reynolds distorted his guitar, making it wail and

whine like a calf headed to the slaughterhouse.

After a rousing "Jimi Thing," "Dancing Nancies" and the rarely played

"Warehouse," Matthews left the stage to Reynolds, who launched an

instrumental attack on the senses -- while, it seemed, sending half the

crowd to the restrooms.

Reynolds amazed those who stayed in their seats with a startling array

of melodies and guitar sounds. He used some electronic effects, but the

sounds he created without them -- by tweaking his guitar strings,

banging the guitar's body or scraping the frets -- were just as

interesting

Matthews, returning onstage to screams, whistles and frat-boy hoots and

hollers, again asked fans to restrain themselves, saying, "Shhhh ...

Listen. Isn't silence great?" He then offered a little warning to his

adoring public: "I had a birthday recently ... and a bunch of kids showed

up on my lawn. So's I had to yell at them to get out before I grabbed

my shotgun."

Matthews and Reynolds then perked up and finished the set with "Crash

Into Me," "Lie in Our Graves" and "Tripping Billies." After a short

break, they returned for a four-song encore that included a tearful

rendition of "Satellite" and ended with a Jimi Hendrix-like version of

Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."