Updated: Jun 16
Start making a list of the all-time great Dave Matthews Band shows and, at some point, 10/2/2007 enters the conversation.
It’s impossible to say just how high it should place in such a subjective list, but it’s one of the most essential gigs of the Stand Up era, which puts it in the conversation as one of the most essential shows from the 2000s.
The fact DMB later released an album named “Live at the Hollywood Bowl” that is *not* this show was a missed opportunity.
By any metric you want to use, 10/2/2007 is stellar. Cool guests? Check. Rare songs? Check. Great performances? Check. Special venue? Check.
Here are just five reasons why this show — and Djamieb’s remaster, but more on that later — is a must-listen:
1. An absolutely smoking #41 with John Mayer, who turns in a solo that reveals how much he knows and loves the band. "I am who I am because of Dave Matthews Band," Mayer tells the crowd.
2. Two of Bob Marley's sons appear for their first (and to date only) guest appearance on a rare-for-DMB cover of their father’s Exodus.
3. One of Dave’s best Two Step improv intros:
Somehow, I head up to the clouds
Hoping God is watching us
Then a force will bring some
The wind rose up, took my feet off
Wondering why above the clouds
Among the stars
Where is heaven lost?
Or behind the moon
Is there really room for old God to stare down?
Dance, you all
Seems to me the idea that he would be paying attention to us
Kinda diminishes the whole idea of God in the first place
Whoa, what if we were just a small
Mosquito dream lying among them all?
Pretend a blade of grass is just as tall
The greatest, so why must you work for it?!
4. A weird Warehouse that sputters to change gears when Dave leapfrogs in the lyrics (skipping over the "Remember when we went walking?" part of that section), but is saved when Roi and Rashawn swoop in with an interpolation of the late jazz great Hugh Masakela’s masterpiece, Grazing in the Grass. Listen for Carter starting the interpolation with a lengthy blast of cowbell hits.
5. Last but certainly not least: LeRoi’s final #34.
In the years since LeRoi’s death, the tune has resurfaced occasionally, usually as a tribute to the late saxophonist.
Dave adds a few lines of lyrics in dedication to his wife’s 34th birthday. It’s no coincidence that, in the setlist, #34 immediately follows Crush, Dave's best song about his wife. You have to go back to March 1993 — to Peter Griesar’s farewell gig, the “Big League Chew” show — for the last previous #34 to include vocals.
Regardless of the circumstances that brought #34 out on 10/2/2007, however, it has become strongly associated with LeRoi.
And it was his song this night, too. His velvet tone enters softly and he paints with gentle strokes until the breakdown, when the song becomes more dramatic. Roi escalates to match the mood. For his final bow with the song, it's a good one.
I was lucky enough to be there. There was beauty and poignancy to that moment during #34, fitting the song’s reflective melancholy. I remember grinning to see the band beneath the Hollywood Bowl’s iconic bandshell before turning my head skyward to look at the stars above Los Angeles that night.
10/2/2007 does what the best DMB moments do: Blend intrigue and unpredictability. A big reason the band has earned such a large and devoted following over the years are its changing setlists. On this night, it wasn’t just what song was coming next that was a question, but how they were going to do it, too. By the time John Mayer emerged from backstage for #41, you knew all bets were off, but you also knew you were witnessing a legendary show in DMB history.
And thanks to Djamieb’s remaster, it’s a legendary show in DMB history that has never sounded better. This remaster brings clarity to the original taper pull, which was already a great one by Jon Koch (who had a lot of great ones).
Djamieb brightens the mix and brings a punch to the recording that its never had before, making that John Mayer solo really shine, giving a richness to the show.
Short of an installment in the Live Trax series, it’s hard to imagine the community getting a better-sounding version of this all-time great DMB show than the one you can download right here.
There's still highlights I'm leaving out of this recap: A five-song Danny Barnes sit-in, Shotgun, a one-of-a-kind American Baby Intro into Grey Street segue and more. That's how cool this show is.
But don't listen to me — listen for yourself.
LINK TO THE REMASTER: