LIVE: Dave Matthews Band @ SPAC, 07/08/2022

Dave Matthews Band breezed into Saratoga Springs for night one of their two-night engagement at SPAC on Friday. The immensely talented musicians captivated fans for almost three hours with no set breaks, instead playing hit after hit with high intensity and the ease of professional musicianship.

The band took the stage quite casually around 7:45. Although fans made it clear they were happy to greet them, Dave quietly smiled and humbly offered his words of gratitude, as he would throughout the night. They opened with fan-favorite “#41,” launching the crowd into a singalong and some wild dancing.

Photo by Jim Gilbert

After a bit of a break that was needed to allow the drum set tech to tighten the instrument, the band played “Seven” followed by “#27.” The musicians appeared relaxed and unbothered by the brief break.

People watching at a DMB concert is almost as much fun as dancing to the music. With fans as eclectic as the music styles, DMB attracts folks who otherwise do not seem to coexist well together. But coexist they did, shaking hands, gyrating together, and even sharing stories with one another, the scene felt more like a giant party than a rock concert. Some bring their children, others bring their parents, but all fans bring their spirit of joy to share.

Jim and I have noticed this in previous years as well. DMB fans seem to have grown up together, many attending hundreds of his shows together. On Friday, I met a couple from Indiana who traveled to Saratoga just for this particular show. 

Photo by Jim Gilbert

The band’s sound is hard to pigeonhole into one genre. There are definitely vibes of jam, as the songs are longer and allow members to play out a bit. The set list also has overtones of Americana chord progressions, and definitely leans heavily into jazz quite a bit. But you can’t mistake the rock vibe either. 

Matthews and his bandmates – guitarist Tim Reynolds (a legend in his own right), drummer Carter Beauford (who must have stores of energy unlike the average human as he’s a grinning machine), bassist Stefan Lessard (one of the founding musicians in the band), trumpeter Rashawn Ross (who steals the show repeatedly with his screaming blasts), pianist Buddy Strong (whose vocals shone), and sax/woodwind player Jeff Coffin (sax playing builds the energy repeatedly)- have no match in the industry. Each alone has tremendous talent, but the synergy of them together casts a spell-like no other.

And then there’s Dave, the man himself. He has a sweet tenor voice, understated Dad jokes, and then those funny faces. He reminds me of the crush I had in college, and the man I married in some ways. Just totally normal and like a guy you’d see at the grocery store. Only with musicianship and talent that seems too natural to be real.

They have enough original music to rarely repeat a set list, which makes one wonder why they covered Zepplin’s “Fool in the Rain.” It was a great cover, though, and no one was complaining.

Photo by Jim Gilbert

They also hit favorites like “Dancing Nancies” and “You & Me.” The crowd sang along to what many call the Dave Matthews Song, “So Damn Lucky,” to the point where it felt like the crowd might overwhelm the sound of the performers.

The musicians seemed genuinely happy, shaking hands with one another after particularly good performances. They smiled and joked together, and at no point seemed stressed by the herculean effort they were using to produce the incredible night of music.

In fact, they never needed a break, and didn’t take one. They powerfully pounded through song after song, building a wall of sound that could be felt throughout your body. The sound created goosebumps repeatedly for me throughout the night, electrifying the air and people around me with magic.

Photo by Jim Gilbert

The final song, “Two Step,” showed no promise of a rest for the musicians. I worried about Carter Beauford, hoping he had eaten enough to expend that level of energy, but he was smiling as they burst through the heavy jam song. Dave turned to band members, enjoying them and dancing with them, and seemingly conducting them as well. When he turned to the audience, they too responded and added to the music with rhythmic singing and bouncing.

Dave’s encore felt a bit quieter with “Some Devil” and “The Maker,” but revved back up for “Shake Me Like a Monkey.”

The band will play an entirely unique set again tonight at SPAC. Even if you aren’t yet a fan, this concert will likely make you one. Everyone fits in at a DMB concert, so grab a blanket and enjoy the stars above as they shake the earth below you with some incredible music.


  • #41
  • Seven
  • #27
  • Grey Street
  • Funny the Way It Is
  • Don’t Drink the Water
  • Typical Situation
  • The Only Thing
  • Dancing Nancies
  • Fool in the Rain(Led Zeppelin cover)
  • So Right
  • Madman’s Eyes
  • You & Me (with Hope For Tomorrow intro)
  • Say Goodbye
  • Everyday
  • So Damn Lucky (Dave Matthews song)
  • Drive In, Drive Out
  • Two Step (with Time Bomb intro)


  • Some Devil (Dave Matthews song)
  • The Maker (Daniel Lanois cover)
  • Shake Me Like a Monkey

Photo Gallery by Jim Gilbert

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