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Dave Matthews Band Caravan Mon Jul 11 2011

DMB Caravan Sunday: In Which We Finish Country, Strong

night wheel resized.jpg

Photo by Rory O'Connor

Emmylou Harris is a goddamn national treasure.

On the final day of the Dave Matthews Band Caravan, the 64-year-old country legend played her afternoon set on the smallest of three stages, acceding to the vagaries of popular taste, but she stood out as by far the most historically significant artist of the weekend.

tx_at_dmbcaravan.jpg"One of my personal heroes," Dave Matthews said in a brief introduction before she took the stage Sunday, and it was hard to disagree after Harris and her superb backing band, the Red Dirt Boys, rolled through an inspired selection of bluegrass and gospel favorites with a few songs from her new album.

They might have been the oldest band at the festival, but we saw only the benefits of those 40 years of experience: Emmylou's easy command of the stage and rapport with the crowd, and the impeccable work by her bandmates on guitar, bass, drums, mandolin, violin, piano and accordion.

While some bands this weekend struggled to hold the audience's attention whenever the tempo slowed, Emmylou's clear, soaring voice was more than enough to keep fans from wandering off to the craft beer tent between Rickie Simpkins' virtuoso fiddle runs.

After the opening shuffle of "Six White Cadillacs," the set was loaded with haunting ballads, from Gillian Welch's "Orphan Girl" to the Carter Family's "Hello Stranger" and the gospel standard "Green Pastures." The best of a strong bunch was "My Name is Emmett Till," an appropriately stark and powerful ballad about the Chicago teenager murdered in Mississippi in 1955.

Simpkins' mandolin riff on the bouncing closer "Get Up John" was still echoing in my brain as I headed over to the main stage to check out David Gray. I was ripe for a rude awakening.

Where Emmylou and the boys had played one of the weekend's most invigorating sets, Gray offered possibly the limpest. I'm sure he's a nice fellow and all, but it's remarkable how far above his station he has risen with a collection of sound-alike songs suited better for a dentist's office or the more emotional moments of a CW melodrama.

The Englishman's set proceeded amiably at a reasonable volume. Maybe some of it would have worked in a more intimate setting, like a less poetic Damien Rice. But when even the coffeehouse smash "Babylon" failed to show any signs of life, it was time to hunker down and wait for the headliner.

Dave Matthews Band played 61 songs in three nights, all of them different, and Sunday's finale was as strong as the first two. They opened with a concentrated burst of old favorites ("One Sweet World," "Bartender," "Say Goodbye," "The Best of What's Around") that had fans roaring and showcased Jeff Coffin on baritone sax, pennywhistle, flute and alto sax.

Other high points included a reworked "Shotgun" and spirited versions of "Warehouse," "All Along the Watchtower" and "Ants Marching." The band also welcomed fellow Virginian Joe Lawlor for a new cover of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion," giving them a double-electric punch that rocked hard enough but fell short of Friday's surprisingly capable "Good Times Bad Times" and Saturday's "Burning Down the House." [UPDATE: And I forgot Morphine's "Buena."]

But hey, we can't all be Steven Tyler.

 

Andy / July 12, 2011 12:45 PM

Not sure which David Gray set you watched. But the one I watch only had a lacking of volume. Everyone was singing along with him and clapping. Seemed to me everyone was enjoying his set. All in all I thought it was a great weekend of music. No one disappointed.

Jim Reedy / July 13, 2011 3:05 PM

Certainly plenty of people seemed to enjoy David Gray's set. I just wasn't among them.

rocketgirl / July 15, 2011 4:34 AM

Have ya’ll heard of the artist Pete RG?! If not you’re definitely missing out on a great folk/Americana singer! His music reminds me of a mix between Andrew Bird and David Gray. You can get a FREE download of his song “Baby Steps” http://babystepspeterg.viinyl.com/ Let me know what you think!

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Classical Wed Aug 06 2014

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - August 2014

By Transmission

Before the main classical season kicks into gear in the next month or two, take advantage of these local artists and ensembles playing throughout the city.

Read this feature »

Blogroll

  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
BackStage
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
ChicagoMusic.org
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
CHIRP
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
Daytrotter
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Do312
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
Gridface
The Hood Internet
Innerview
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pitchfork
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Songs:Illinois
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock

  Venues:

Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
B.L.U.E.S
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Constellation
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
FitzGerald's
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Martyrs'
Mayne Stage
Metro
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Rosa's
Schubas
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Smartbar
Subterranean
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Township
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Atavistic
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Hozac
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records


Events

Sat Aug 30 2014
J. Davis Trio @ Metro

Sat Aug 30 2014
The Cooke Book @ Lincoln Hall

Sat Aug 30 2014
Kermit Ruffins @ FitzGerald's

Sat Aug 30 2014
North Coast Music Festival

Sat Aug 30 2014
Chicago Jazz Festival

Sat Aug 30 2014
African Festival of the Arts

Sun Aug 31 2014
What's Happening? Block Party @ Longman & Eagle

Sun Aug 31 2014
North Coast Music Festival

Sun Aug 31 2014
Chicago Jazz Festival

Sun Aug 31 2014
African Festival of the Arts

Mon Sep 1 2014
African Festival of the Arts

Wed Sep 3 2014
Creepoid, My Dad, & Shahman @ Township

Thu Sep 4 2014
Owen Pallett & Foxes in Fiction @ Metro

Fri Sep 5 2014
The Hideout Block Party & Onion AV Fest

Featured Series














 

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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Editor: Anne Holub, anne@gapersblock.com
Transmission staff inbox: transmission@gapersblock.com

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