Listener Supported

Dave Matthews Band

BMG, 1999

REVIEW BY: Kenny S. McGuane


Nobody’s really on the fence about the Dave Matthews Band.

You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. If you love them, then you really really love them. You’re obsessive, disturbingly, and scarily obsessive about them. If you hate them, then you really really hate them. Like, wish that “bad things would happen to the band, their family members, and their fans” kind of hate them. Fair enough, Dave Matthews’ yodeling does kind of become irritating after a while.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Dave Matthews Band is an American music phenomenon. In the early ‘90s, long before the 2001 DMB Glen Ballard-produced sell-out masterpiece Everyday, the band was packing stadiums across the country with virtually no help whatsoever from mainstream radio or MTV. Their fans are some of the most loyal and dedicated fans around, on par with Deadheads and Morrissey romantics…you know the type: if Dave Matthews were to take a big, steamy crap inside of a box and call it a “Dave Matthews Band album,” his fans would run out just as soon as they could and buy multiple copies, a few for listening, and a few to store away for safekeeping. Actually, this has already been happening for the last several years. The best Dave Matthews Band album, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Before These Crowded Streets, is ten years behind them, while the last three DMB albums have done a fine job of blackening their good name.

You wouldn’t know it, though, because DMB’s popularity hasn’t dwindled at all despite the unpleasantness of their last few records.

Dave Matthews Band albums don’t really matter as much as the live shows anyhow. This is perhaps RCA’s justification for putting out what seems like a new live DMB album every three weeks, live albums rarely worth buying (or even hearing); they sound -- or smell -- a lot like steamy piles of crap in pretty plastic boxes. One exception is 1999’s definitive live Dave Matthews Band album, appropriately titled Listener Supported.

Available on both CD and DVD, Listener Supported showcases DMB in top-notch form as they wrapped up their Before These Crowded Streets tour. The timing was perfect: one of the album’s best features is the absence of any of the dreadful material off of Everyday, Busted Stuff, or Stand Up. The band burns through twenty of their greatest -- and earliest -- songs, including: “Pantala Naga Pampa,” “Rapunzel,” “Rhyme & Reason,” “The Stone,” “#41,” “Crash Into Me,” and also some of the fan-favorite covers, “Long Black Veil” and “All Along the Watchtower.” The sound is beautifully mixed and mastered, while each player remains on top of their game throughout the entire recorded show.

Of all the live DMB material available -- not including some incredibly important bootlegs -- there’s really only two live albums you need, Listener Supported and 1999’s Dave Matthews And Tim Reynolds Live At Luther College. Both are extraordinary representations of why the band matters to so many people. Let’s hope DMB gets back to their roots ASAP.

R.I.P LeRoi Moore (1961-2008)

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Kenny S. McGuane and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of BMG, and is used for informational purposes only.