Dave Matthews Band 5/19/2023 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands, TX
Review and Photos by Victoria Paige Flournoy
Fun fact- Houston has the pleasure of being one of if not the first show on the annual Dave Matthews Band Summer Tour and this year was no exception. I can’t say for sure if it was because it was the opening night of their American Summer tour or the release date of their new album, “Walk Around the Moon,” but the band had the nervous energy, smiles, and high fives of some guys who really love each other and what they do.
There was a mix of brand new, kinda new, and greatest hits throughout the set. They also threw in a brilliant cover of The Commodores’ “Brick House.”
New songs “It Could Happen” and “Looking for a Vein” were both well received by the crowd and adorably introduced as a “tiny little song” followed by a “and I really hope you like it” in Dave’s own unique and charming way. The kinda new, “Madman’s Eyes,” segued into an interesting version of fan favorite “Jimi Thing”. Later in the set was an intense version of “Don’t Drink the Water” that really worked the crowd into a singing and dancing frenzy with its rhythmic refrain.
Dave Matthews Band’s lineage as a “Jam Band” was on full display throughout the set as the band would either create or improvise musical transitions between songs that would sometimes become little unnamed pieces of music themselves. Nowhere was this more evident than during that rendition of “Jimi Thing” when the band entered into an all-timer of a classic blues jam, “Call and Response,” with Tim Reynolds on electric guitar, Stefan Lessard on bass, and Buddy Strong on keyboard. Then later Rashawn Ross joined in on trumpet and Jeff Coffin on saxophone.
It almost goes without saying that the inimitable, Carter Beauford, did his usual percussion masterclass filling all the beats and rhythms as only he can do. If anything, he was maybe a more subdued version of himself than we’ve seen in some years, not taking a real limelight drum solo but mostly getting his at the end of songs and here and there during the jams.
In these moments, you have to ask yourself how is it even fair for them to have that much fun and be getting paid for it. The first time Dave got on the microphone he said “It’s a lovely evening to be out here with you fine folks.” And so it was.