Over the years there have been several instances where a band or artist just didn’t grab my attention until I had the chance to see them live, so I’ve learned to reserve my musical judgment until after the concert.
In the late ’90’s Dave Matthews was just starting to become a pretty big thing; his takeover of every dorm room in the Western world was imminent. Some friends had loaned me his CD’s and I just couldn’t get behind it, but I jumped at the chance to see Dave Matthews just a short walk from my house on May 3rd, 1998.
The Ottawa Congress Centre was no prize-winner. Though conveniently located it was certainly lacking in charm. Shows were held in a large oblong conference room with red carpets and accordion-style walls that could customize the room capacity. The bar service was akin to a cash bar at a wedding.
The stage was set up not at the end of the room but on the side, so everybody in the medium-sized crowd was pretty close to the stage. I remember the sound being thick and relentless, and though I gave it a pretty good effort I just could not get into the music, even live. Especially live?
Nothing wrong with it, but not much right about it either. There’s nothing offensively unpleasant about DMB except that it’s patently uninteresting to me. Sorry Dave Matthews, this will likely stand as the only money you’ll be getting from this music consumer*.
Concert seen; judgement made.
*While I did see DMB at the Ottawa Bluesfest two decades later (and quite enjoyed it, really), I was attending the fest with a free pass. So to date my prediction remains valid.