Dave Matthews Band Rains Groove on Onondaga Lake

Dave Matthews Band performed in Syracuse, NY at the St Joseph’s Amphitheater on Wednesday, August 18. This marks the band’s third show at the Amp. Dave Matthews Band performed at the old Sky Chief Stadium in 2009 and Dave Matthews performed solo for the Dalai Lama at the Carrier Dome in 2012.

dave matthews band
photo by Josh Davis

The rain-soaked masses came out for all occasions to the shores of Onondaga Lake to celebrate live music. It comes as fast as it passes through, so why fear the rain? The band responded with a 23-song set list mixed with old and new material from their catalog.

dave matthews band
photo by Josh Davis

“Come and relax now leave your troubles down no need to bear the weight of your worries here let them all fall away.” For the first time in thirteen years, they opened the show with “Pantala Naga Pampa” -> “Rapunzel” that also appropriately starts the Before These Crowded Streets record. Thirteen years from this August 19 also marks the day Leroi Moore gave up his ghost as founding member on saxophone for the band.

The heavy rains commanded the band’s attention on stage. The crowd, as well, who started a “JTR” chant that helped changed the set list to oblige the rain dance request. The lyrics resonated off the stage through the sky, Rain, rain, Rain down on me Again And again, Rain down on me... Some thunder did come off the bandstand from Carter Beauford’s floor Tom drums during the JTR jam.

dave matthews band
photo by Josh Davis

Do You Remember all of the Summer Tours this band has consistently put on with last year being its only break? Tim Reynolds was eager to play his electric guitar this tour. He shines during “Crush” and “You Might Die Trying.” His notes are both fueling off the horn section for full crescendo endings.

Dave Matthews debuts a song played for just the second time named “The Only Thing.” The jam includes Buddy and Tim jiving back and forth on funk. The new lyrics hit home in the crowd. I just want some kind of love I know cause I feel it, It’s a lonely world you’re living in. I just want love. more love. Lord knows I need it. It’s the only thing

dave matthews band
photo by Josh Davis

For those in the crowd battling a love they can’t break free from the band drops a raucous “Can’t Stop” The song started on Summer tour of 2006 and has grown to their most recent studio album. Dave’s words on this track clearly show the yearning that hopefully fades So hungry, you make me, I surrender… I’m hurting like a junkie for you. The outro chorus screams Free the Beast inside of me.

“You and Me,” a song written in Lake George, NY was played for the 375th time. The band also busted out “Captain” for the first time since Madison Square Garden In 2018.The “Jimi Thing” mash up jam featured covers by Huey Lewis and the News’ “I Want a New Drug” and Prince’s “Sexy Motherfucker.” Keyboardist Buddy Strong really stepped out vocally with Rashawn Ross on this while howling on that B3 Hammond organ. Its a damn shame to lose your way running wild. The band then went heavy with “Louisiana Bayou” and “Grey Street” to end the performance.

dave matthews band
photo by Josh Davis

During the encore, two riders were approaching and the wind began to howl. The band played off the rainy night’s elements again for their finale. Stefan Lessard’s chilling bass intro to DMB’s take on Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” was beyond appropriate to end the night. This version also features a tribute to Led Zeppelin during the finale as Dave belts out the infamous final verse to “Stairway to Heaven” before ending ”Watchtower.” No reason to get excited…

Dave Matthews performed solo at a Stephen Talkhouse in the Hampton’s on Thursday evening. The band visits New York for shows in Saratoga Springs and Jones Beach in September. In November they return to the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.

Dave Matthews Band – St Joseph’s Amphitheater, Syracuse NY – August 18, 2021

Setlist: Pantala Naga Pampa->Rapunzel, Funny the Way It Is, JTR, So Much to Say->Too Much, Squirm, Do You Remember, Crush, The Only Thing, You Might Die Trying, You and Me, Can’t Stop, Dancing Nancies, Warehouse, Captain, Jimi Thing I Want a New Drug (Huey Lewis & The News cover) Sexy M.F. (Prince cover) Louisiana Bayou, Grey Street

Encore: All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover with Led Zeppelin Verse)

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