Dave Matthews Band announced its plans for a 2017 touring hiatus after a massive 25th anniversary tour this past summer. The 25-year-old band has made a name for itself through incredible live performances, earning a spot on Billboard’s Top 25 Live Artists list among legends such as Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones.
Hailing from Charlottesville, Virginia, the group produces incredibly unique and genre-versatile music, drawing upon funk, jazz, blues, folk, rock-and-roll and even South African influences to create a distinctive, immersive musical style. Singer-songwriter Dave Matthews fronts the group, giving the band its own unique personality.
Helping create a fun and loose atmosphere are the six incredible musicians that accompany Matthews, including fan favorites drummer Carter Beauford, guitarist Tim Reynolds, violinist Boyd Tinsley and bassist Stefan Lessard.
Together with the brass section of trumpeter Rashawn Ross and the multi-talented Jeff Coffin, the group creates impressively complex rhythms and grooves. Since the group formed in 1991, it has released eight studio albums, received seven major awards, including a Grammy, and sold over 31 million records worldwide, becoming one of the highest-selling music acts of all time.
As a long-time fan of Dave Matthews Band, I have been lucky to see the group live four times at Alpine Valley in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Loved by fans but maligned by critics for long, instrumental jam sessions, the band’s music is an acquired taste. There is no denying the skill on the stage, though. The chemistry among the group members is the best I have ever seen live; their ability to improvise, keep track of each instrument sonically during long jams and still stop on a dime is amazing.
You can find some of the group’s best recorded songs on Spotify, although listening to recordings pales in comparison to being at a live show. “Crush,” live from Busch Stadium, “Ants Marching,” live from Central Park, and “Pig,” live from Red Rocks are among my favorite versions of their songs on Spotify for that reason.
The news of the band’s planned hiatus is disappointing, but Matthews has said nothing about a long-term break. For those needing to scratch their itch for Dave Matthews Band until its return – and for those unfamiliar with the band – I would recommend listening to any of the group’s live records, some of the best being The Central Park Concert (2003), Live in New York City (2010) and Live at Mile High Music Festival (2008). For now, as Matthews says in the song “Tripping Billies,” eat, drink and be merry.