Beauford stood out on drums. He showed insane control and precision in his playing never missing a beat even during odd time changes and transitions. As well as his unmatched dexterity and open hand drumming style, he showed great versatility in his style from jazz to rock, pop, rhythm and blues, and country. One of the highlights of the concert was his ridiculous drum solo in “Two Step.” The creativity he pulls out of a four count is unmatched. Beauford is the glue that allows the Dave Matthews Band to meld the different genres that create their multi-styled sound.
Tinsley and Coffin add flavor to the group. Boyd Tinsley is one of the most talented pop violinists in the world. Tinsley has a way of phrasing lyrical lines and provoking emotional complexity in his sound. Then in more upbeat driven songs Tinsley adds an edge to his sound and drives passages that build up and build up until you think they will never climax. The energy is amazing in his playing and he has a great jazz violin tone which at points sounds influenced by Jean-Luc Ponty. Tinsley's solo in "#41" is a bit different each time and last's night was the best I have ever heard it perforned. Tinsley is the epitome of a cool violinist.
Jeff Coffin is one of the best living jazz saxophonists. He joined Dave Matthews in 2008 after the passing of original sax player LeRoi Moore. Coffin is capable of playing crazy riffs that most people can’t and can wail on the sax like nobody’s business. It’s all about the spirit and breath of the music he plays, and this is evident in his improvisation. Coffin also played ‘double sax’ which is where he played two saxophones at a time. This allows him to play alternate parts and harmonies with one mouth. That takes a whole lot of wind control and strong facial muscles.
Then there’s the leader of the group, Dave Matthews. I have found myself indifferent on his vocals. Although he doesn’t sing out of tune like Taylor Swift, isn’t completely nasally like Scott Stapp, and the tone of his voice isn’t horrible, it does bother me to some extent that I can’t understand half of what he is saying. His vocals are not ones to be hummed to which may bother some people. I’ve never been one to pay a lot of attention to vocals so his style of singing doesn’t affect my fondness for the band as a whole. The instrumental composition of their songs makes up for the incoherent lyrics. Although Matthews’ vocals are mediocre, he is a very talented writer.
One very cool and unexpected surprise was the special appearance of Roy Wooten a.k.a Futureman on drums. Having two former Flecktones (Wooten and Coffin) on stage together was a nostalgic treat to top off an energy packed concert. The show ended with a collection of songs for the encore that the audience and myself loved: "Christmas Song," "Country Blues Improv," "Halloween," and "Tripping Billies."
Photos: courtesy of Max Sharp