My live music adventure continued on two of the past three weekends with concerts starring superstars from two different genres.
Sunday night I saw country music duo Brooks & Dunn on their final appearance in this area. They are calling it quits as a duo and are nearing the end of their farewell tour. I actually got to spend fifteen or twenty minutes with them before the show and I honestly do believe their press releases. The split is amicable and well thought out. They feel they have run their course as a duo and leave their twenty-year career at the top of their game, with a body of work that includes iconic hit songs from 1992 all the way into 2010. I can’t say this for certain, but my best guess is that we’ll see solo work from each of them someday and don’t be surprised if they continue their collaboration in the future.
The concert was awesome, maybe the best of the six or seven of theirs that I’ve seen. They were relaxed and clearly having fun. They performed a solid two hours of hit after hit, showing off their singing, songwriting and sense of humor through every minute. The audience loved it all.
Brooks & Dunn run the whole gamut of country music, from ballads to rocking country to dancing country to spiritual songs. Their songs are about real life, in some cases their own lives, and tell songs about life, love, drinking, sorrow and joy. Their musicianship is outstanding but the stories and how they are told sum up their real strength.
Two weekends ago I saw a concert that was awesome on several completely different levels… the Dave Matthews Band. It was my second time seeing them but the first time accompanied by the dear friend who first convinced me to pay attention to Dave’s music. Seeing this concert through her eyes gives it a different perspective.
For me, the musicianship of DMB is what impresses me the most. They are f-ing awesome! I don’t know if I have a better way to express it. I have seen hundreds of live music performances in my life and I have never seen a group of musicians who can perform so solidly. Their music takes complex, intricate journeys across genre boundaries; it is wrapped in rock but shows off jazz, folk, South African, classical and a touch of country. They are the ultimate “jam band” because they can take off in many directions during an extended song yet end up back at the core of the song without missing a note or a beat.
I am only now beginning to connect with the lyrical side of Dave Matthews. Unlike country songs, where the message is ‘in your face’ simple, Dave’s songs leave you guessing or they chart a linguistic path that only his own mind and that of his most fanatic fans can ascertain. I’m OK with that; figuring out what the hell he is talking about gives me reason to listen some more. The songs that I do understand are very powerful (I even have a favorite now) and cover topics from social observation to love to sex. And some of his songs even paint pictures of possible futures for the subjects of the songs; painting dreams happens to be one of my favorite pastimes.
One more observation I made about the Dave Matthews Band to my friend after that show: these guys must be from another planet with superhuman powers. They played for nearly two hours on a stage at center field of a baseball stadium on one of the hottest days this summer but saved their most difficult song/jam for the end of the show. Twenty minutes of the most incredible jamming you can imagine!
There are several more concerts on my agenda for this year but I don’t how any will top these two.