For quite some time now, I’ve been finding myself skipping past the Dave Matthews Band if the group came across my iPod. I have never considered myself a diehard fan, but I do enjoy them and  when I think of the perfect summer concert, DMB certainly comes to mind.  Dancing in the warm, night-time, summer weather with a bunch of strangers sounded like the perfect way to spend a fast approaching end of the season.

So I decided to attend the Dave Matthews Band performance on August 27th at USANA Amphitheatre in Utah…. However, it was not a warm summer evening- in fact, there was a light rain and a wind that kept the evening chilly. DMB’s jam style has the ability to keep one warm though as it gets you dancing. Watching him do his  “jig” creates an infectious need to bust a move. DMB opened with “Don’t Drink the Water” which was a beautiful way to watch the sun go down before the rain started.

I am sad to say that I can’t provide much more of a review of the this show other than the fact that the  first few songs had incredible energy and felt right in the rainy weather; because about an hour into the show, I received word that The Head and The Heart were playing a surprise show at the Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City. In retrospect, I wish I would have stayed just a little longer before leaving as DMB played “Halloween,” a song rarely played live. I would have loved to hear Dave scream “Why this lonely” over and over again during “Halloween” and I am disappointed I missed it.

Head and the heart- leadThe Head and The Heart actually opened for DMB earlier this evening at the USANA Amphitheatre. I absolutely love The Head and the Heart and not just because I want to date half of the band. I’ve probably seen them more than any other act. I’ve watched them perform in a tiny record store for a few people and I’ve experienced them with hundreds of people at The Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island.  Watching them open for DMB was disappointing for several reasons: first, it was an incredibly short set and secondly, I really wanted them to debut some new material.   So when I received word that they were playing at Urban, I quickly bought my tickets and made my way up to the front of the stage.

The audience and the band would likely say that it was one of the most enjoyable sets they have ever experienced. I have really conflicted feelings about the show. The positive: the audience was incredibly enthused and the band played more new material than they had at the last three shows I had seen them at. However, I think it is time for a band to stop touring the same material when the entire audience knows every single lyric and sings louder than the band does.

I am all for audience sing-a-longs and the foot-stomping energy of The Head and the Heart certainly lends itself well to belting it out with your fellow audience members. But, when the set ends up feeling like a giant karaoke session, I think something is wrong.  “Rivers and Roads”  is one of my absolute favorite songs of theirs. It evokes powerful emotions in me, I cry every time that they play the song. Every time prior to last night that is. “Rivers and Roads” is a song that is meant to be sung by the band alone, not in unison with the audience. Hearing Charity Rose Thielen belting it out in the middle of the song and then ending it with all other musicians silent and her just repeating the chorus has always been my favorite part of their performances.  During the performance this time around, I didn’t shed one tear during this song. It is very hard to have a strong emotional connection to the song and the band when you’ve got people surrounding you singing like they are in an Irish bar.

head and the heartThe best part of the show happened during “Lost in My Mind”. The opening act and Salt Lake City local band, The Devil Whale came up and performed with The Head and the Heart. The Devil Whale has played an instrumental role in the success of The Head and the Heart here in Utah. It was really fun to see the members up there with their friends and seeing a band as big as The Head and The Heart support a local group was nice.

Despite my frustrations with the concert, overall it was a good show. The Head and the Heart have a certain charm that is irresistible a prime example was when Charity’s harmonica holder broke and she had a some one in the crowd hold up her harmonica for her. This band enjoys playing together and has incredible energy.  Despite my feelings about the show that night, I really do love this band  and I am usually extremely moved by their live performances. I am still very excited for the new album to come out in October, and hopefully they will return to Salt Lake City immediately after the albums released  so I can be the only one singing along.