Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Dave Matthews Music Festival I Won't Be Attending

I have some great memories of Dave Matthews Band. My friend Mark and I went to see them in Cincinnati and I got a great contact buzz (you had to try really hard to not be in a constant cloud there). In high school, the drum line and I would spend hours discussing the technical genius of DMB's drummer Carter Beauford. A few hours were spent with my old roommate Shae discussing the "risky" move DMB took on Everyday when they took on the daunting and cutting edge sounds of electric guitars. I think I can easily say that DMB was a pretty big thing in my young life.

So when Dave Matthews announced a new touring music festival with a stop here in Chicago, I was pretty excited! Three days of folksy singer/songwriters strumming and crooning, and it's not Lilith Fair? I'm in! I can't wait to hop on the red line to the loop and skip over to Millennium Park for the festivities!

Wait… what do you mean?

Except it's not in Millennium Park. No, Dave and crew thought it would be more fun to host their festival in the super safe and accessible 87th and lakefront part of town. Which is just a short hour and a half trip from my house. And requires riding the Metra. And requires a kevlar jacket with +2 self defense skills and immunity to fear effects.

But it's Dave! And Ray LaMontagne! And David Grey! And O.A.R.! And Ben Folds! And an ungodly amount of weed and booze!

Short Aside

A few years ago, I attended a Live concert at the Riviera in Uptown Chicago. Live is one of my absolute favorite bands and I never had the opportunity to see them at their height of popularity in the 90's. So when I heard they were on tour I jumped at the chance to go.

It's an odd feeling when you see the rock stars of your youth appearing more like dinosaurs in a museum complete with tweed-jacketed observers and completely uninterested children. On one hand, I enjoyed the music and loved seeing them perform on stage. On the other, it was all I could do to not start crying uncontrollably at the notion that not only were my favorite rockers becoming irrelevant, I was becoming one of those pathetic old dudes that still listen to Led Zeppelin albums and harp on about "real music."

Back to the point at hand

I would love to see Ray LaMontagne live and I'll probably make my way to one of shows sometime soon. But it'd be him headlining. Not followed up by Kid Cudi (for realsies?) or Ben Folds, also known as the guy that used to be a really cool musician but has since traded that in for a judge's spot on a reality singing competition featuring Nick Lachey's dimples and the sage advise of a certain performer who gladly wore the moniker of Head Pussycat up until recently.

And I love Dave Matthews Band. But more importantly, I love the memories I have associated with Dave Matthews Band. And while I'm sure they are still excellent performers, I think 3 whole nights of What Would You Say being sung-along to by women who are constantly checking in with the baby sitter and men who are already contemplating the benefits of Viagra might just ruin it all for me. I don't want the good memories to be mixed with the bitter ones.

So thanks, but no thanks DMB. Have fun down there on the South Side, and try not to unload your tour bus waste onto a boat full of people on your way out of town.

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