"Good to see y'all. Nice to meet y'all," announced Dave Matthews as his band kicked-off their their annual summer tour on Friday at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pavilion in Burgettstown, PA. Matthews has always been an unlikely rock star, and his casual greeting to a crowd of mostly hardcore devotees was an appropriate down home tic. The band got the vibe going early, hitting the opening chords of "Don't Drink the Water" from behind a backdrop depicting a glowing sunset, which pulled away just in time to reveal the band as they hit the song's climax.
The quintet, flanked by touring guitarist Tim Reynolds and horn player Rashawn Ross, jammed through twenty songs that included hit singles like "Crash Into Me" along with deep cuts like "Smooth Rider." But perhaps the highlight of the night was DMB's lively cover of Sly & the Family Stone's song "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)." Dave danced around on stage without his guitar, connecting with both the band and the audience, encouraging everyone to sing with him, "I want to thank you for letting me be myself again." The crowd willingly acquiesced; they let Dave be himself, and in return they got to throw their hands up and feel like themselves too.