"I cannot tell you how excited I am to be in the greatest city in the world to introduce one of the greatest bands of the world!" said actress Julia Roberts, clad in a Barack Obama T-shirt, as she introduced the Dave Matthews Band at New York's Madison Square Garden last night. The occassion was a benefit for the Stand Up for a Cure organization, which raises money for cancer and HIV/AIDS research, among other causes. Matthews and Co. didn't disappoint with a powerful two-and-a-half hour set, featuring crowd favorites ("Ants Marching" and "Two Step"), guest spots (singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson joined the group on "Spoon") and a pitch-perfect rendition of Peter Gabriel's "Sledghammer" with gospel-style backup vocals from drummer Carter Beauford and trumpet player Rashawn Ross. Longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds also delivered rip-roaring solos on jams like "Cornbread."
Of course, Matthews made sure to pay tribute to recently deceased saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who died last month from complications due to an ATV accident. And when he opened up to the crowd about his departed friend — "We've had to great honor of playing this room a few times in the past, but this is the first time without our good friend LeRoi Moore. We want to salute him. We miss you very much, LeRoi" — the crowd responded with a standing ovation and hair-raising chants of "LeRoi! LeRoi! LeRoi!"