Dave Mathews Band have been playing at the Gorge, one of the most beautiful places on each for over a decade and play three nights in a row for over three hours. This year they decided to invite plenty of their friends to make it the first ever Caravan which toured throughout the states, reserved for particularly spectacular venues.
I was a virgin to the Gorge and thought this would be a good time to trade in my card for a chance to see DMB along with Golgol Bordello, The Roots, Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zero’s, The low Anthem, Dispatch and many more positive, life is beautiful and a hell of a good time kind of bands.
DMB remain one of the most interesting bands to me to this day. Made up of some of the best musicians on the planet, they’re granted at times hindered but the way they decide to expose that to the world is phenomenal.
Due to their peculiar talent mash up, they have a great diversity of fans mostly made of (to be completely judgy) Hippies, business men and frat boys. This made for a divine group to party with for three days to their authenticity for activities which varied from Tippy Cup to Sun salutations. Dave and the crew put on four sensational shows, three with the band and one with just the man himself partnered with Tim Reynolds (a personal fav). Each song became it’s own entity, a whole universe touching each audience member in a different way. They also invited many talented folks onstage including Warren Haynes who contributed to an epic (in every sense of that word) version of Neil Young’s Cortez the Killer. Although some moments were slightly irritating I knew that was just the music snob in me that I am attempting to beat down without becoming spineless.
As for the rest of the performers I was heavily impressed. While my counterpart and I ran down the amphitheatre with reckless abandon to hear Golgol Bordello, who were buried in a sea of flailing arms, we knew right then it was going to be a great weekend. They emanated the energy of Gypsy punk paradise while remaining poised and poetic.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s stood out. Touring for two and a half years with more or less one album must have it’s moments of blandness for any other band, but not these folks. Every second was filled with authenticity without any drop of pretentiousness. It was romantic, electric and lithe. The entire crowd were jaw-dropped impressed and elevated to a land of inspiration and sweetness.
We very happily accidently stumbled upon the Rhode Island based Low Anthem. Truly an exquisite experience; sitting on the grass with the other thirty people who happen to be so lucky so grace upon the festival’s smallest stage. The beautifully talented, diverse and original band played a generous set filled with cut-throat emotion and brilliance. Everybody in the four piece band played everything including the saw and the banjo with a bow. The energetic resonation from a band is crucial at a music festival as it can inspire you to take psychedelics, nap, write a song yourself or maybe tell that person how much you truly love them. Whatever it is, it will contribute to your experience which you will likely remember for the rest of your life. The Low Anthem inspired me to make my own music which ended up being one of the most successful sessions I have ever experienced. Do yourself a favor and check them out; you’ll cry stars.
Other knockouts were the Cave Singers who actually practice in Caves (great acoustics I imagine), the smooth and sultry Roots who perform with sincerity and boldness and the lovely John Butler Trio.
The setting could not go better with the band experience; The Gorge is truly an unbelievable setting. So DMB sharing it with the lovely others was a great call and besides all the bureaucracy that comes with most festivals I am entirely grateful to have been a member of the official first Caravan tour ever.