For years, my friend Stacie, encouraged (practically begged) me to listen to the Dave Matthews Band. She was a huge fan and had been for many years. I heard the occasional DMB song on the radio, but didn’t pay it much attention, neither liking it nor disliking it. But Stacie is very persistent and for some reason, she knew that this music would resonate with me. How she knew that, I do not know…but she did.
Eventually I gave in and downloaded “The Best of What’s Around” off of iTunes. And I did like what I heard. But this was not good enough for Stacie. She now felt that I needed to “experience” DMB. To her, the magic of this band was in their live performances. I have later discovered that DMB is to their fans, what the Grateful Dead was to their fans. And actually many of those old Grateful Dead fans are DMB followers. So Stacie gave me several copies of live DMB concerts on CD. They were OK, but you couldn’t follow the lyrics and there was a lot of jamming, of which I have never been a big fan. Regardless, I was becoming a fan and expanded my DMB CD collection and began to get a feel for the style of the band and the message and sincerity of Dave Matthew’s lyrics. Next in Stacie’s master plan was a live show. And she did that with a bang. My first DMB concert was at Alpine Valley and I was smack dab in the middle of the experience. We were in general seating, right in front of the stage. It was a mass of people, all standing, dancing, and singing at the top of their lungs. We were just off center stage and about 5 rows back. Simply put, it was phenomenal! In addition to good music and lyrics, this band performs and the joy of performing their music is evident. And this is most apparent in the band leader himself. He plays, sings, and dances with wild abandon. If you’d like to see some fun examples of this, just put ‘Dave Matthews dancing’ in YouTube search.
Stacie has completed her mission of turning me into a DMB fan. My husband now regrets the day I met Stacie because he really gets tired of hearing the music. As you can guess, he is NOT a DMB fan. I know he wonders how his usually very serious and focused wife (at this time, I was still running a fairly good size medical practice) became such a fan of this band, who’s fans resemble Dead Heads. His conservative wife who rarely did more than sway a little bit now and again during live band performances was now dancing freely (albeit poorly…think Elaine on Seinfeld) every chance she got. And truthfully, I was wondering the same thing…what was it about this band that resonated with me?
The truth of it hit me as I have been considering “The Art of Being a Dog”. It struck me that Dave Matthews is very dog-like. Perhaps that is why I was so drawn to the band’s music and performances. The lyrics ring of living in the moment, living without regret, and pursuing personal happiness. One of my favorite songs, “Lie in Our Graves” speaks to the joys of simple pleasures such as splashing in the water and then ends with the thoughts of “I can’t believe that we would lie in our graves wondering if we had spent our days well. I can’t believe that we would lie in our graves thinking of things we might have been”. It is a song of no regrets.
And to watch the band perform, it is very reminiscent of dogs at play. No one up there is worrying about their appearance. They are lost in the moment and the joy of what they are doing is evident on their faces. It is the same type of expression I see when I watch a group of dogs. They are lost in the moment and the joy on their faces is evident.
So maybe my sudden love of DMB is not so strange. Perhaps it is the soundtrack of my evolution. For those of you that have watched my dog videos on Facebook, you have probably heard DMB playing in the background. What you do not see in the videos is the woman behind the camera who is slowly melting away years of worrying, regrets, and anticipation. You do not see her getting lost in the moment and busting out a wacky dance move every now and again. But it is happening and it is joyful! Thank you Stacie.