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Dave Matthews Lets His Spirit Loose for Rothbury Set

July 6, 2008 2:00 AM ET

Dave Matthews' between-song banter devolved almost as quickly as the mental capacity of those campers experimenting with mind-altering substances in Rothbury's Sherwood Forest. At the onset of the nearly three-hour performance he talked about the weather in mundane terms ("What a beautiful day"), but less than 30 minutes later he was riffing about laying in a hammock and trying to "touch the moon with [his] tongue." Surprisingly, as his stage presence grew more unhinged, the group's musical explorations tightened. A galloping "Tripping Billies" mixed mirth ("Eat, drink and be merry...") and morbidity ("...for tomorrow we die."); "So Damn Lucky" built to a dizzying, horn-fueled climax; a true-to-its-source take on Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" proved a smart selection, as violinist Boyd Tinsley sawed at his instrument as if he was trying to start a fire.

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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