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
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
"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
"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
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
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."