Dave Matthews Band closed day two of Outside Lands in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park with a masterful two-and-half-hour set featuring a cameo by the Black Eyed Peas, cuts from pathos-laden new album Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King and cover closers like a brilliant rendition of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” featuring pedal steel guitar legend and DMB guest Robert Randolph.
The band opened with “Why I Am” as the iconic SF fog bank rolled in, blotting out the setting sun at 7:30 p.m. Tens of thousands of sun-toasted guests donned their sweaters and DMB gave a big shout-out to one of the local San Francisco acts in the near-100 band, three-day lineup. “I saw a band that I liked yesterday called the Dodos,” Matthews said, wearing a black-button down shirt and jeans. “I like the Dodos.”
Drummer Carter Beauford, seated behind a 20-plus-piece kit, warmed up on “Don’t Drink the Water” while Matthews and the audience danced a mean jig. “I’m a little bit excited, I got a little shouty, and now I’m a little raspy,” Matthews announced. “You look beautiful this evening, San Francisco. What’s that scent you’re wearing, eau de weed?”
“Spaceman” from GrooGrux King allowed for exploration of some of DMB’s cavernous, trademark solos by violinist Boyd Tinsley, guitarist Tim Reynolds and Bela Feck saxophonist Jeff Coffin, who at one point played two horns at the same time.
Couples young and old nuzzled inside blankets during “You & Me,” and the frenzy of “Ants Marching” and “Two Step” was only matched when Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie and Will.i.am jumped in some for quick MCing and B-girling. But ultimately, the late-set groove came from some incendiary classic rock covers.
DMB’s “Stairway To Heaven” finally cracked Matthews’ voice on “to be a rock and not to roll” before Reynolds immaculately reconstructed the final solo. The inclusion of Robert Randolph on pedal steel guitar sent “All Along The Watchtower” to an otherworldly plane. Matthews covered a tune by San Francisco staples Sly & the Family Stone to close out the night — “Thank You (Falettime Be Mice Elf Agin)” — before the throngs swarmed back into the city at 10 p.m.
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