Posted by: mrpeatie | July 10, 2008

Tales From the Joe

The July 4 Dave Matthews Band concert at Joe Riley Stadium marked the first time DMB had performed in South Carolina since May 2, 2001. That concert took place at the Bi Lo center in Greenville, SC. It was a short, uninspiring show that was part of their tour to promote their newest album at the time, Everyday. DMB made up for their long absence by putting on a sensational July 4 concert at Joe Riley Stadium, delighting fans with a varied set list that included a welcome mix of songs from all their albums, mesmerizing jams, and they even threw in radio friendly hits like Crash and Ants Marching for the many casual fans in attendance.

The Band
The Dave Matthews Band has been touring each summer for over a decade now. The closest they come to SC has always been mid-week shows in the amphitheaters near Charlotte and Raleigh. So it was rather surprising for fans to see the band schedule a July 4, Friday evening show at such a unique venue like Joe Riley Stadium.

The Joe
The Joe has hosted a few concerts in the past, most notably the 96 Wave festival a few years back that featured Jack Johnson. I was a bit skeptical how the Joe would hold up for the legions of DMB fans that would be flocking there on July 4, but almost everything about the set up worked. Parking appeared to be handled well. I didn’t see or hear too many issues with traffic to or from the show. The line getting in could have moved a bit quicker and backed up several blocs while each patron was quickly searched — tedious but necessary I guess. Inside the field was set up wonderfully with  restrooms all along the baselines and concession stands in the middle. The lines to bathrooms did appear to be long but I avoided that by not drinking. Fans were able to get as close to the stage as they could tolerate or comfortably enjoy the show farther back. Physically getting out of the stadium could have been handled better. It was pretty chaotic but it turned out be an enjoyable adventure for our group.

The Crowd
The crowd at any concert or sporting event plays a pivotal role. A lame, listless crowd won’t inspire a band or a home team and conversely, a rowdy, energetic fan base can easily lift a team or band to greatness. I must say I was really impressed with the energy of the crowd. Early on in the show I was very close to the stage about 20 yards just right of center. It was packed, but everyone was so into the show, singing at the top of their lungs and cheering with excitement at every gesture or comment Dave made. It was amazing. Later on my party had to move back a good ways and I still marveled at the energy level. I could hear chants in-between songs emanating from far back in the stands and there was always someone finding their own groove dancing to the music.

The Set List
No set list at any DMB show will please everyone. Hardcore fans will be upset if the band plays even one song that was played from the show before and casual fans will be pissed if they don’t hear their Crash or Dreamgirl. We got a fantastic set list that went a long way to pleasing many. The set list included a Seek Up opener, the tour debut of Best of What’s Around, a mid-set Ants Marching, the song debut of Sail Away, a fantastic cover of Peter Gabrielle’s Sledgehammer and a Tripping Billies closer that flippin’ rocked. In between all that were some amazing jams on Crush, You Might Die Trying, #41, So Damn Lucky, and Bayou. I can’t wait to listen to these again. I could have done without Sister. It’s a sweet song and all given Dave’s past, but mid-set isn’t the place for it, especially following Ants.

The only bummer was that we missed out on Jimi Thing. It was in the original set list the band creates prior to coming onstage. My guess is that they were limited with time (they had to be done by 11 p.m.) and couldn’t fit that and Billies in the encore. We instead got the Neil Young cover Hey Hey, My My. Not the best trade off, but understandable given the circumstances and also Seek Up wasn’t on the original set list either. That was thrown in as the opener at the last minute.

If you are interested in downloading the show via a bittorrent, it can be found here as .flac files. You will need to download bittorent client software. Instructions on how to do that are here. If you want to get the songs to iTunes, you’ll need to convert them to .wav and/or mp3, instructions for which are here. I accomlished all of this without incident. Took just over an hour to do everything.

The Incident
I went to the show with some good friends which included Snug T. He and I were the only hardcore DMB fans of the group, but the others were up for getting the full experience. We got their early to beat traffic and were fortunate enough to hear the entire sound check of 4 songs which included a fantastic version the mysterious Sugar Will which wasn’t played during the concert.

Upon entrance to the stadium we found our way close to the stage and secured a spot about 20 yards back just right of center. Dave came out around 7pm to introduce the opening band (Old Crow Medicine Show) and everyone erupted in cheers. As show time approached so did every drunk person with a beer. It got insanely crowded and ridiculously hot in a hurry. The first 5 songs were surreal. I had a perfect buzz going and everyone around seemed to be enjoying every second of the show. It was around this time that one of our party members passed out. The heat, the beer, the lack of water all contributed and she had no chance. She was a trooper though and stuck around for the entire concert. It was a bit of a buzz kill for sure. Our group had to move back a good ways where things opened up. The vibe wasn’t nearly the same in the back but I could have spent the entire show in the bathroom and still enjoyed the music.

Don’t take my word for it though, here’s what some others had to say:

I was there, in the front, and it was the dopest show I’ve seen since 2000. The energy level was higher than anything I’d ever seen.

The crowd singing the ENTIRE Star Spangled Banner during the encore was indeed the highlight of the night. Maybe the best moment of the last few years.

i was fortunate enough to be the first one on the field, front row a few feet right of center. the energy of that place was incredible and it was sooo awesome to see them feeding off of it, from beginning to end.

there were some hot ass girls up front I think dave made multiple refrences to how beautiful the crowd was. and man was he right.

I was maby 5 rows back and a little Rt of center stage. It was hot as hell though. Crowd was real into it and the band fed of the energy in a major way. Dave acted the fool several times…Haliarious!

Overall this was a fantastic experience. I truly hope the band considers making Charleston a regular stop on future tours.



  1. Very nice!!

  2. […] at the North Charleston Coliseum. This was the bands first concert in the area since they played at Joe Riley Stadium on July 4, […]

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